Apple is now rolling out access to its new, lower-cost Apple Music Voice plan, first introduced this fall at the company’s hardware event. The new service, designed largely for use with HomePod speakers or AirPods, limits consumers to accessing Apple Music using Siri commands. Due to its stripped-down nature, the voice-only service is offered at $4.99 per month, compared with $9.99 per month for a standard individual plan.
The new music subscription is a part of the broader iOS 15.2 update, which also brings other features like app privacy reports, Message safety warnings for children, a “Hide My Email” privacy feature and more.
Initially, some people may have been confused as to why anyone would want a music subscription designed only to be used by way of voice commands. But Apple was not the first company to go this route.
In 2019, Amazon introduced a more affordable way to stream its Amazon Music service with the launch of a free, ad-supported tier that streamed only over its Echo speakers. In other words, it was a version of Amazon Music that could only be accessed by way of Alexa commands.
Apple’s Siri-only service is similar, but isn’t restricted to Apple’s smart speakers alone. Instead, Apple says users will be able to request music using any of their Siri-enabled devices, including the HomePod, AirPods, iPhone or other devices, as well as CarPlay.
The new voice-only tier isn’t a pared-down version of Apple Music with a limited song selection. Like traditional subscriptions, subscribers will gain access to Apple Music’s catalog of 90 million songs, its tens of thousands of playlists and its hundreds of new mood and activity playlists, personalized mixes and genre stations. It also includes Apple Music Radio.
To access this content, users can request a song, album or artist via Siri, or, more likely, they can ask for a genre or type of playlist by using voice commands like “play something chill,” or “play the dinner party playlist” or even “play more like this.”
Voice Plan subscribers can also use the Apple Music app to some extent. But instead of being able to browse across the full library, as usual, a “Listen Now” screen will present music they had recently played and will help them to discover more recommendations that can be played with either a tap or a Siri command. A Radio tab will offer access to live and on-demand radio. And there is a Search feature, but you can only play the results by asking Siri. The app will also include a section that teaches users how to optimize Siri for Apple Music.
Users can give Siri specific feedback by saying things like “I like this song,” or “I don’t like this song,” and learn about the music being played by asking things like who sings a song, the song or album name, the release year and more.
Over time, users who engage with Apple Music with their voice will be training Siri to better understand their preferences. That means they’ll be able to ask Siri to “play some music I like” or “play my favorites mix” and Siri, in theory, will deliver music they enjoy listening to.
In addition to being competitive with Amazon’s Echo-only plan, the Apple Music Voice Plan could help Apple gain access to a trove of user data on Siri usage, which could help it to improve its product, which has lagged behind both Alexa and Google Assistant. More broadly, it’s also just an easy way for Apple to entice price-sensitive users to try out a paid music subscription service for the first time. Further down the road, the voice plan could lead these users into higher-priced tiers after they realize the convenience of having access to on-demand and ad-free music, instead of relying on a free, ad-supported option like Pandora.
The Apple Music Voice is available via the iOS 15.2 update in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the U.K. and the U.S.
Apple requires employees to have proof of a COVID booster as Omicron spreads, according to reports – Euronews
Apple will require retail and corporate employees to provide proof of a COVID-19 booster shot, The Verge reported on Saturday citing an internal email.
Starting January 24, unvaccinated employees or those who haven’t submitted proof of vaccination will need negative COVID-19 tests to enter Apple workplaces, the report said.
The Verge said it was not immediately clear if the testing requirement applies to both corporate and retail employees.
“Due to waning efficacy of the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines and the emergence of highly transmissible variants such as Omicron, a booster shot is now part of staying up to date with your COVID-19 vaccination to protect against severe disease,” the memo read, according to The Verge.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment.
Many companies in the US have been strengthening their COVID-19 rules, mandating vaccination and delaying back-to-office plans as the Omicron variant increases infections across the country.
This week, Facebook parent Meta Platforms mandated COVID-19 booster shots for all workers returning to offices. It also delayed U.S. office reopenings to March 28, from an earlier plan of January 31.
Alphabet Inc’s Google on Friday said it was temporarily mandating weekly COVID-19 tests for people entering its US offices.
A report by The Information said Amazon.com Inc has offered its US warehouse workers $40 (€35) to get a booster shot.
The mid-2012 MacBook Pro 13-inch will soon become obsolete – Vaughan Today
Apple will declare the mid-2012 13.3-inch MacBook Pro a “legacy” on January 31, according to an internal memo intercepted by Apple. Mac rumors. This is the last step before it becomes permanently outdated: it means that Apple will stop providing compatible parts to Apple Stores and Authorized Service Centers. It will always be possible to get a repair in the event of a breakdown, but within the limits of the available parts: this will therefore be increasingly difficult, up to the complete obsolescence that must be declared in a couple of years. You can refer to the list of old and outdated products on this page.
The mid 2012 13.3-inch MacBook Pro is the last model to feature an integrated CD/DVD drive. It was on sale until October 2016 to provide a more affordable alternative to models with Retina displays, which explains this late obsolescence. It is particularly reliable and offers interesting upgrade possibilities for people who want to replace the optical drive with a second volume. It is a standout model. Its time and about to give it up.
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Stable ColorOS 12 update goes live for OPPO A73, A74, F19 Pro+, and more – XDA Developers
OPPO has started seeding a stable ColorOS 12 update based on Android 12 to a bunch of its mid-range devices, including the OPPO A73, F19 Pro+, Reno 5Z, and Reno 6Z. OPPO previously said it would kick off the stable update rollout for these devices from January 17 and it’s making good on its promise.
As per recent announcements posts on OPPO Community, the stable ColorOS 12 update with Android 12 is currently rolling out to the OPPO A73, OPPO A74, OPPO Reno 5Z, Reno 6Z 5G, and Reno 5Z in various regions. The update is live for the OPPO A73 and Reno 5Z in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Similarly, the OPPO A74 and F19 Pro+ units in India have also started receiving it. Finally, the OPPO Reno 6Z update is currently rolling out in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the UAE.
If you own any of the above-mentioned devices, be on the lookout for an OTA notification in the coming days. Since the update is rolling out in a staged fashion, it might take several days before it makes its way to everyone. So far, the update has only gone live in select regions, but OPPO says it plans to expand the rollout to other markets soon.
After installing the ColorOS 12 update, users can look forward to many exciting features and changes, such as a new wallpaper-based theming system, Screen Translate, Canvas AOD, Android 12’s Privacy Dashboard and privacy indicators, and much more. You can learn more about ColorOS 12 in our in-depth review of the new skin.
If your phone isn’t on the list, don’t worry. OPPO plans to bring the latest version of its custom skin to many more phones. Owners of the OPPO Reno 5F, Reno 4 Pro, Reno 4F, F19 Pro, and F17 Pro will be able to try out an early version of ColorOS 12 next month. Meanwhile, the Reno 5 Lite, Reno 4, Pro, Reno 4Z, Reno 4 Lite, and more are scheduled to receive a ColorOS 12 beta sometime in March.
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