July 1, 2015

The challenge was to build a game whose source would fit inside a tweet:

I challenge you to make a game whose source fits in a single tweet

And here’s one of the responses:

main(b){char s[9];b=0;for(;b<12&&(int)(s+5)!=(int)s;){b%4||gets(s+5);b<4&&(s[b]=’a’+rand()%4);putchar(“-x”[s[b++%4+5]==s[b%4]]);}}

Build it, run it, you’ll end up with this game here. Crazy.

Arnold Kim, writing for MacRumors, discovered this little gem.

In iOS 8.4, if you go into Settings > General > Restrictions, then disable Apple Music Connect, the Connect icon in the Music app will be replaced by your old friend Playlists.

I did this and it works, but I went back and re-enabled Connect, since I’m still exploring it.

[H/T Matt Abras]

Beats 1 requests

Want to request a song on Beats 1? Here’s a list of country-based request line phone numbers.

Interesting that Apple is going old school on this. Since Apple already has solid data on what is popular, it seems to me this is about capturing audio snippets they can play on the air. Which is also old school. Think Casey Kasem and song request shout outs.

I tried texting to the US line and got this response:

Thanks for texting the Beats 1 request line. We want to hear your voice! Please call us to leave a request. Thanks!

Interestingly, the phone was not on iMessage (it was green instead of blue).

One of the Beats 1 hosts, Travis Mills, posted this tweet:

Heading to @Beats1 LA & will be taking requests today! Hit me with a voice message at beats1radio@icloud.com & listen to me on @AppleMusic.

I texted a request to beats1radio@icloud.com. It is blue (as you would expect from an iCloud addy) and goes through with no response. Could be specific to Travis Mills’ show, could be a general request dropbox. I’ve not found an official mention of this address, so not clear yet who is monitoring the address.

June 30, 2015

On the launch of Apple Music

Some scattered thoughts on the first day with Apple Music.

First things first, the thought that keeps coming back to me is this: We are all listening to the same station, to the same DJ, to the same music. We are all experiencing the Apple Music and Beats 1 launch together. In unison. This is a remarkable experience.

The first tick of Apple Music was Apple’s release of iOS 8.4. I got it pretty early in the process, so the download and install took just a few minutes, but my sense is that folks who came along even an hour after the release took as much as an hour to get through the process. To be expected. The Apple Music launch was a major event and everyone was forced to go through the upgrade in order to participate.

With iOS 8.4 installed I fired up my Music app, tapped the Beats 1 Listen Now button, immediately heard Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports. This is clearly music for the holding pen, for folks waiting for the show to begin. In fact, this experience felt very much like sitting in the room at WWDC, waiting for the keynote to start.

There was a bit of mic chatter, then Zane Lowe broke in to make the official launch:

Alright, man. We gotta kick this whole thing off at some point. We spent the last three months trying to build this radio station and now we can build no more. We must launch.

We’ve had all sorts of ideas about the first song, things that have made statements, things with fanfare, but ultimately, there’s been one song that people keep coming back to. We’ve tested sound to it, I’ve referred to it lyrically when I needed a boost, cause it’s been stressful at times, you know, and exciting and challenging. We’ve even cut demos to it to convince people to continue to support this radio station.

This band put this EP together a few months ago, with little or no fanfare outside of core fans. But they’re building. That’s exactly the kind of story, the kind of record, we need to kick this whole thing off with.

Cause man, it’s not about fanfare. That’s fireworks and a hangover the next day. It’s about quality and consistency.

We’re Beats 1. We’re worldwide. And from now on, we’re always on.

And with that, Beats 1 was on the air. First song: City, by Manchester’s Spring King.

And Twitter came alive.

A lot of people I followed, as well as folks who followed me, were listening to the launch, sharing this experience. People around the world. It was truly amazing.

I can’t help but think that Apple has unleashed something important here, a vital addition to the ecosystem. With your upgrade to iTunes 12.2, which came out Tuesday afternoon, you can now listen to Beats 1 and Apple Music on your Mac, on your iPhone, via your Apple Watch and, this fall, on an Android device, if that’s your thing.

One final thought. Is this the end game for Apple Music, or just the beginning? Will Apple use Beats 1 as a base, adding new stations focused on different genres, a la Sirius/XM?

Whatever their next move, this was an incredible start for Apple Music.

Apple Music comes to the Mac with iTunes update

Apple just posted iTunes 12.2, which brings its new Apple Music service to the Mac. Open iTunes and go to iTunes > Check for Updates.

It looks like Twitter has found the link to the live stream of Beats1 audio. Thanks to Benji R for the link. This will do until Apple posts their own link.

a few artists are still not ready to commit to Apple Music. The Beatles are a big—but expected—holdout. It took Apple years to bring The Beatles to the iTunes Store and when it finally did in 2010, the company did an entire ad campaign about it. If Apple Music included The Beatles’ catalog, we would have heard about it weeks ago.

Another notable holdout is Prince, who has an artist page on Apple Music—but it’s completely blank. It’s possible that Apple and Prince are still sorting out negotiations, but as of launch day, Apple Music subscribers won’t be able to work out to “When Doves Cry.”

It’s a real shame for me – I’m a huge Prince fan – and there are a lot of other popular artists not included, to the great detriment of their fans.

Rolling Stone:

Reznor is taking his own stab at a streaming service, with an eye toward connecting with fans, with Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio.

I want that feeling of walking into an independent record shop, if there are still any that exist, like Amoeba [Records], and being delighted by the choices and the way music is presented to you with love and care. It’s exciting. And you leave with stuff you wouldn’t have dreamed you wanted and you’re excited to listen and share it and experience it.”

I love Reznor’s intensity both in his Nine Inch Nails days and now as the guy who seems to be the driving force of Apple Music.

Apple releases iOS 8.4, introduces Apple Music to the public

From the update page…

This update introduces Apple Music–a revolutionary music service, 24/7 global radio, and a way for fans to connect with their favorite artists–all included in the redesigned Music app. iOS 8.4 also includes improvements for iBooks and bug fixes.

Go get it!

Talking to Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine about Apple Music

On Monday afternoon, I went to Apple’s campus to meet with Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, and Beats Founder, Jimmy Iovine, to talk about Apple Music.

Apple is heading into a streaming market filled with competitors. For the first time in many years, Apple is doing something in the music market where it is not the de facto leader. However, competitors didn’t determine what Apple would do with its new service.

“We certainly pay attention to what competitors are doing, but I’m never losing any sleep on competitors,” said Cue. “I don’t have any control over what they do—what I have control over is what we do. We’ve spent all of our time and energy thinking about what it is we want to build.”

There are a lot of different components to Apple Music. Some existing from iTunes, others integrated from Beats. These are the pieces that Apple needed to put together to make Apple Music stand out from everyone else.

“If you define the service by the fact there’s 30 million songs you can play, they’re all the same,” said Cue. “It doesn’t matter which one you get. It can never be just about that, there has to be more.”

So, it’s not the sheer number of songs, but the ways the service presents and uses those songs to give the user what they want—great music.

“One of the things we wanted with Apple Music was depth, said Cue. “We wanted you to be immersed in it when you started using it. Jimmy, Trent, myself, and others would go in a room—we argued a lot, we fought a lot, and we’re still doing it. We’re doing it on a few things we can change on this version.”

When I asked Cue how he would try to convince people that Apple Music was better than competing services, he said, “Ultimately, you can’t convince them, it’s just got to be better.”

Well said.

Curation in Apple Music

The whole concept of curation that made Beats playlists so popular is not only a part of Apple Music, it’s also a part of Apple Music Radio, as well.

Cue and Iovine explain that Apple Music Radio is hand programmed now. Curators choose the songs and how those songs relate to other songs. It’s not a playlist, but by doing the radio component of Apple Music like this, you can get songs from multiple genres coming together in a way that you wouldn’t have before.

Iovine said that when he hears an algorithm choose songs for a Bruce Springsteen channel, for example, he can pretty much guess what’s going to be played. Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, and Tom Petty are always popular choices.

As he pointed out, most algorithms leave you stuck in an era, and stuck in a particular sound. However, Apple Music, Iovine argues, provides a much richer and broader range of music. He went back to the Springsteen example.

“What freaked me out is that Apple Music played ‘Paint It Black,’ which I happen to know is one of Springsteen’s favorite Stones songs,” said Iovine.

Jimmy said that he is constantly calling the curators with suggestions on how to make the service better. Obviously, he’s very familiar with many of the components of Apple Music because they came from Beats.

However, not everything can be done by hand.

“We’re trying to bring the best of both worlds,” said Cue. “You can’t do everything humanly curated, and you can’t do everything with algorithms. We have what we believe is the best of both.”

As part of the Apple Music launch, the Beats service will cease operation, but not right away.

“The Beats accounts will migrate. We won’t do that automatically, but we’ll have a Beats app update that will walk you through it,” said Cue. “Beats will continue to work for a few months while the migration happens.”

The good news is that all of the content you’ve collected using Beats will migrate over to Apple Music. That’s great news for Beats subscribers, like me, because I have some great playlists that I’ll want to keep.

Beats 1 Radio

Jimmy shocked me a bit when he said, “Radio is massive.” I considered radio to be like magazines—steadily going downhill for the last decade or so. However, Iovine said that 270 million people in America still listen to radio, adding jokingly, “I didn’t think there were that many people that had a radio.”

Cue and Iovine explained that the problem with radio was not the fact that people didn’t like it, but rather that too much advertising and radio station research into what songs were popular was flawed. Songs that weren’t popular right away were pulled, based on research, so you listen to the radio and hear the same songs all the time.

As Cue pointed out, Technology limited the ads, but it also eliminated the DJ, something many people enjoyed.

“As part of this ecosystem, what if there was a station that didn’t have any of those rules and didn’t serve any of those masters,” said Iovine. “What if it just took anything that was exciting, whether it be on Connect or a new record out of Brooklyn or Liverpool.”

“Or whether it was rock or hip hop,” added Cue.

So one of those genres could literally follow the other on Beats 1 Radio.

“It works,” said Iovine. “And it works because the DJ is in the middle explaining how it works. DJs give you context.”

So what does Beats 1 Radio compete with? Nothing, according to Iovine.

“It doesn’t compete with anything that’s out there because there’s never been anything like this,” said Iovine.

Measuring the success of Apple Music

Ultimately, Apple Music will be judged to be successful, or not. Jimmy’s definition of success was focused on the art of music.

“If it moves culture and helps move music forward. I think it’s going to be good for music,” said Iovine. “I had money, now I have more money. It can’t be about the money. Moving popular culture is so much more important than money—that’s what at stake here. I made Beats because I love what they [Apple] do. Everything I’ve done since 2003 has come from Apple. Everything.”

For Eddy Cue, one of Apple’s top executives, the customer experience is one of the top considerations.

“I know how we’ll will judge it, and we know how others will judge it. Obviously, over time others will judge it by the numbers, but that’s not the way we’ve ever judged our products. The numbers are the end result. The way we judge it is are people loving and having an experience with it that’s better than anything they thought was possible. If that’s the case, the numbers always come out in the end.”

First Look: Apple Music

Music is an important part of my life. I care about every aspect of music, from creating to mixing, playing to listening, and seeing bands live. I feel music in my soul. Music has the ability to make me sad, angry, happy and every emotion in between.

I sat down yesterday with Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, and Beats Founder Jimmy Iovine to talk about Apple Music. I also started using the new service myself, so I wanted to give you my thoughts on what I found so far, good and bad.

Apple Music

I’ve said before that I want Apple Music to succeed because I’ve invested a lot of time and money in purchasing music from Apple since the launch of iTunes. To date, Apple has failed pretty miserably with updates to iTunes, most notably with Ping and iTunes Radio.

Those failures led me to be a subscriber of Spotify, Rdio, I Heart Radio, Beats and most recently a paid subscription to Pandora. I’ve been a subscriber to the rest of those services for about a year, so I have experience with all of them.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect much from Apple Music. I was not only pleasantly surprised when I started using it, I’m downright impressed.

Many of the problems I had before with iTunes Radio are completely gone. Selecting genres of music or even something like “70s Rock Hits” or “80s Metal” gives you exactly what you want—great music.

With the integration of Beats, you also get curated playlists and the ability to stream artists’ music, if you become a member of Apple Music. The selection went from not having much to choose from with iTunes Radio, to having so much great content from playlists and radio stations that I had to start saving them all so I could listen to them later.


That’s what I want from Apple Music.

I did my workout today to a new Apple playlist called “Workout Warriors,” which is part of the Hard Rock section of Apple Music. I was walking down the street playing air guitar to Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Guns ‘N Roses, and Motorhead. You know you’re enjoying the music when you start playing air guitar in public.

If you’re a Beats subscriber, you know all about the curated playlists. Genre experts from Beats put together lists of approximately 15-30 songs in a number of categories. For me and my musical tastes, they could be anything from “Metal Hits of the 80s” to “Intro to Guns ‘N Roses.”


Apple kept that part of Beats and incorporated it into the new service. As much as I love playlists, there is something special, exciting even, about not knowing what’s coming. I agree with Jimmy Iovine when he says, “the only song that’s as important as the one you’re listening to, is the one that comes next.” And Apple took care of that too.

With a mix of curation, or human intervention, and a revamped algorithm, Apple has brought their radio service to a level where it is exciting. The amount of work that went into making just the radio portion of Apple Music perform properly is astounding.

Of course, Apple Music Radio will still learn from your likes and dislikes—not even human intervention and algorithms can account for every taste in music. However, much more care went into the new stations, which are all handpicked songs, with an eye on the songs that come after the one you are listening to and how everything lines up.

One thing you won’t need to do anymore is tune a station to go from “Hits to Discovery.” Since all of the built-in stations feature handpicked songs, you can like them and see updated results in the “For You” section of Apple Music.

Using myself as an example: With iTunes Radio, I would listen to one or two songs, skip a few that I didn’t like, listen to one, skip a few more, and then I’d be out of skips and move on to one of the other services. To compare, with something like Pandora, I rarely skipped anything.

With Apple Music, which I’ve been listening to non-stop, out of 16 songs, I skipped one. That holds true for both playlists and radio—both are better. That’s a lot better than my previous experience with Apple’s service.

While other services offer the option to stream music at a higher quality, Apple said its service will automatically adjust the stream based on connection type and bandwidth.


I’m not really sure what to think about Connect, Apple’s service that allows us to follow bands and musicians. To me, it seems a lot like Ping, but we’ll have to see how it works.

Some artists are already updating their pages. There are a lot of places that we go to get artist updates these days, but it would be nice to have a central place to get everything.

The success of Connect lies with the musicians, not us. If they buy into the concept, people will follow them, and it will be successful.

Thankfully, the future of Apple Music doesn’t rely on Connect. Other services have the same type of “Follow” option for musicians, but I’m not sure if they are successful either. It’s something extra for users.

For You

“For You” is another Beats feature—and one that I really like—that made it into Apple Music. Based on the music you like, the app comes up with recommendations for playlists and albums that you will like.


From my use, this is really accurate. The best is, you don’t have to do anything special to make it work—just use the app. It’s like an added bonus.

I look at “For You” in those times when I’m not sure what I want to listen to—it’s always full of ideas.



I have the “New” section of Apple Music set to “Metal” or “Rock.” It would be nice if I could choose multiple genres, so I wouldn’t have to switch back and forth, but for now, that’s what I’ll do.

That little nitpick aside, the “New” section gives you a look at new albums, hot tracks, recent releases, top songs, music videos, summertime playlists, new artist spotlight, and a current spotlight on 80s Thrash Metal. As you can tell, there’s a lot to see and listen to in this section.


Again, if you don’t know what you’re in the mood for, this will give you plenty of ideas. From some oldies to what’s hot right now, you can find it here.

Music Videos

I was shocked to find out that videos were included as part of Apple Music. Perhaps they mentioned that and I missed it, but I was listening to Godsmack and saw a video in my search—I clicked play and it worked. It also gave me recommendations for other videos in that genre.

Needless to say, I took a break and watched some videos.

My Music

“My Music” is a lot like the old iTunes, but with an Apple Music flair. All of the music you have previously purchased, whether in the cloud or on your device, will be found here.

There are two sections: Library and Playlists. The Playlist section can be further broken down into “All Playlists,” “My Playlists” or “Apple Music Playlists.”


When you select a playlist, you can choose to add it to My Music, so it will be available to you without doing another search. That will put it in Apple Music Playlists section. You can also choose to make the playlist available offline, which means that it will download that music to your device. This is handy if you’ll be somewhere without Wi-Fi or cell service, like on a plane or in Canada1.

Beats 1 Radio

Beats 1 wasn’t live while I was testing Apple Music, so I’ll get back to that at a later date.

The bad

There’s not a lot to write about in the “bad” section, but a couple of nitpicks did grab my attention.

When playing a radio station, there is a little star on the left side of the screen. If you tap the star, you have three choices: Play more like this; Play less like this; and Add to iTunes Wishlist.

Easy to understand, but it only works about 50 percent of the time. I tap the star and tap one of the selections and it does nothing. And odd little bug in the system that I’m sure can be fixed.

The other thing I would like to do is to be able to like a song after it’s already played. Pandora has a feature like that and I find it handy. The last thing I want to do is worry about liking a song when I’m cruising down the highway. I can see the history of what I played, but I have to play each song again in order to like it. Seems like an overlooked feature to me.

Liking is important because it helps the whole service know what I want to hear, so I want to keep up on it the best I can.

Overall thoughts

I’m damned impressed. Apple Music is a quality service, with the right mix of human curation and algorithms to help users figure out exactly what they want to hear.

I can only imagine that the service will get better from here. The more I use it, like/dislike songs, the better it will know me.

I was interacting with Apple Music the entire time I was writing this and the radio station I started listening to improved quite a bit in those hours. I’m not skipping songs, instead I have a steady diet of Slash, Godsmack, Led Zeppelin, and Metallica. It’s hard to beat that.

While other streaming services didn’t worry much about Apple in the past, Apple Music will get their attention. In fact, it’s going to grab everyone’s attention.

  1. I joke Canada, I joke. 

June 29, 2015

Release Notes, which bills itself as “A Conference About Building Businesses,” is ending its early bird ticket sales tomorrow. If you want in on the sale pricing, go today and pick them up. I’ll be at the conference, so I hope to see you there.

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The Verge:

Sonos let its fans know weeks ago that the company’s multi-room, wireless speakers would not support Apple Music at launch. But there is some good news: we now know that Apple and Sonos are trying to make it a reality. A Sonos spokesperson has confirmed to The Verge that the two companies are working together to bring Apple Music support “before the end of the year.”

I’ve never used the Sonos system but those I know who have rave about it. Good to see they and Apple are going to work together. Also interesting to see Apple confirm this “rumor”.

Even if you have zero interest in sports, take a moment to appreciate the incredible athleticism in this goalkeeping effort from Friday’s match between Colombia and Argentina.

That’s David Ospina in goal for Colombia, stopping shots from Argentina’s Sergio Aguero and then Lionel Messi.

A few things to note here. First, keep your eye on the keeper as he sprawls full out to stop the first shot, then somehow gets to his feet to lunge and stop the second shot.

Next, keep your eye on Aguero. He makes the first shot, then watches in disbelief as Ospina somehow stops Messi’s header.

This is an incredible display of athleticism, perfectly showcased as a Vine.

A side note: When I first saw this, I posted this tweet, but misspelled Colombia as Columbia. Interestingly, the moment I hit send, I got this reply tweet:

@davemark I think you mean “Colombian”

So smart. And effective. I deleted my original tweet, then fixed my typo, retweeted.

Before you read the linked article, make sure you’ve already read Serenity Caldwell’s epic Apple Music FAQ post.

With that under your belt, take a look at Johnny Evans’ linked post for some additional info.

One note:

As well as Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga, Apple will offer celebrity spots from Josh Homme, Pharrell, Drake, Dr Dre, St Vincent, Disclosure, Elton John, and Jaden Smith. (That’s in the first wave; later, I predict a Taylor Swift show).

That’s a great cast. Oh, and Sir Elton’s Beats 1 show is going to be called Elton John’s Rocket Hour. That’ll be destination radio for me.

Dean Murphy does a comparison of iMore.com before and after iOS 9 content blocking was enabled.

With no content blocked, there are 38 3rd party scripts (scripts not hosted on the host domain) running when the homepage is opened, which takes a total of 11 seconds. Some of these scripts are hosted by companies I know, Google, Amazon, Twitter and lots from companies I don’t know. Most of which I assume are used to display adverts or track my activity, as the network activity was still active after a minute of leaving the page dormant. I decided to turn them all off all 3rd party scripts and see what would happen.

After turning off all 3rd party scripts, the homepage took 2 seconds to load, down from 11 seconds. Also, the network activity stopped as soon as the page loaded so it should be less strain on the battery.

Here’s iMore’s Rene Ritchie’s take:

To answer the obvious questions, yes. Everyone here and at our network, Mobile Nations, saw it. Everyone here and at our network were also well aware of it, and have been working for months already to improve it. That we haven’t made it further, faster is an indication of how hard it is when you’re talking about websites visited by tens of millions of people, and companies that employ more than a dozen writers. Of course, everyone here is going to continue working to find better, smarter ways of solving the problem, because that’s our jobs. I’m sure other large websites are doing likewise.

This is an interesting and non-trivial issue. If we completely block ads, the advertising revenue that pays folks who write for sites like iMore is impacted, if not eliminated. As nature abhors a vacuum, some other mechanism, immune to this type of ad-blocker, will no doubt rush to fill this void.

Joe Rossignol, writing for MacRumors:

Apple has updated the terms of its AppleCare+ Protection Plan for iPhone, iPad, iPod and Apple Watch to cover batteries that retain less than 80% of their original capacity within the extended warranty period, whereas it previously covered batteries that retained less than 50% of their original capacity. The change applies to AppleCare+ purchased for iPhone, iPad, iPod and all Apple Watch models on April 10, 2015 or later.

Good change.

Ian Rogers was the CEO of Beats Music and is now Senior Director, Apple Music. He also holds a series of patents, including this one. Credentials established. Smart, and in the center of the Apple Music universe.

Writing for his blog, FistFulaYen, Rogers talks about his past opportunities, expressing appreciation along the way, leading up to:

Seeing Apple Music on stage at WWDC this month (fast forward to 1:43:00 in the above video) it was hard not to feel like the last 20+ years was leading to this day.

He follows with this statement:

Tuesday morning we’ll be unveiling the next chapter. Please make a note to upgrade to iOS 8.4 at 8am PT Tuesday, June 30th and listen to the first Beats 1 broadcast at 9am PT.

Interestingly, if you reload the page this morning, you’ll see that the 8am PT time was deleted from the post. No matter, the real point is that it sounds like iOS 8.4 is a required upgrade in order to sign up for Apple Music.

Can. Not. Wait.

June 26, 2015

Intuit has confirmed to TechCrunch that it has laid off 399 people, or just under 5 percent of the company’s roughly 8,000 employees, in a re-alignment of the company. Patrick Barry has also stepped back from leading Demandforce, though he remains an employee of Intuit.

I hate seeing people lose their jobs.

So awesome, congrats Cole Rise.

There’s always a better camera than the one you have with you.

And that’s Obscura.

Looks great and it’s free.

If you’re into gaming at all, you’re going to want to take a look at this.

I’m looking forward to the launch of Beats 1 for a couple of reasons, but mostly because I have no idea what it’s supposed to be. I was at the keynote, I read the New York Times article, and I read Apple’s Web site. I still have no idea what it is.

There are a few slots on The Deck available in July and August. Need to get your product in front of millions of curious folks? Drop a line for a nice price for a new advertiser. The Deck only works with the highest quality sites, including The Loop, Daring Fireball, and many others.

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Cook’s specialty is the running of the business, and at that he excels. But he also knows when to let his team do its job, and doesn’t try to replicate the way Jobs ran the company.

The more I consider it, the more I’ve begun to think that even were Jobs still around, Cook might still be the better choice for CEO in this day and age. Can you imagine Jobs being as receptive as Cook was to calls for improved diversity at Apple? Or embracing social media? Or posing for selfies? Yeah, me neither.

Any discussion that Cook isn’t a good CEO in general or “good enough for Apple” is utterly ridiculous. Cook is arguably a better CEO for Apple, at least right now, than Jobs would have been.

Zac Hall, writing for 9to5mac:

Taylor Swift has answered one of the last remaining questions about Apple Music before it launches: her popular album 1989 will be available on Apple Music when it launches on Tuesday. The development follows Swift’s high profile letter to Apple over how artists would be paid during the streaming service’s 3-month free trial. Apple later reversed its decision announcing it would pay artists during the trial.

While the pop star says it isn’t an Apple Music exclusive (like Pharrell’s upcoming release), the album is notably not available on Spotify as Swift removed her catalog last year due to the service’s free tier.

Take a look at the sequence of tweets in the linked post. This all feels so very pat. It’d be cynical of me to think this was all cooked up in a back room, planned in advance, right?

Serenity Caldwell, writing for iMore, with everything you ever wanted to know about Apple Music.

Ron Offringa, writing for droid-life.com:

Every year we see the same promise: this is the year that Android-first development will become a reality. At the same time we see big companies like Instagram repeatedly introduce new apps that are iOS-only. Android has been able to tout more market share than iOS for quite some time, but that doesn’t seem to have translated into app developers releasing Android apps at the same time as their iOS counterparts, much less Android-first.

Lots of interesting elements in this piece. First, note that this comes from an Android blog, not an Apple blog.

One issue is willingness of users to pay for their apps. From one small developer:

“Everything we’ve read, every number we’ve seen shows that it’s really difficult to get people to pay for apps on Android. We didn’t think we could release a paid app on Android and create something sustainable enough to fund further development.”

And then there’s the issue of fragmentation:

“We were finding Android in general to be a slower platform to move on. There’s more time spent dealing with fragmentation bugs. There’s more time spent dealing with testing and debugging, and we would rather spend that time building new functionality.”

There’s a lot more to this. There are obviously counterexamples, developers who find Android an easier platform for their app. And we all know that the iOS app store is not paved with gold. There are quotes from John Gruber about Branch Q’s Vesper price hike and from Marco Arment about the free app model with in-app purchase to unlock premium features.

Terrific read.