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A day with Beats 1: Eclectic, star-studded, but slightly meh

beats-1-radio-apple-music

Beats 1 Radio is live on Apple Music, but is it worth your time?

Open your iOS 8.4 Music app and start listening. Beats 1 radio went live today at 9 a.m. Pacific time or 12 p.m. Eastern time, one hour after the launch of Apple Music itself. But is it any good? I’m your fellow music lover here to answer that question in as much depth as possible based on some first impressions.

First, a little background: Apple’s own radio station billed as “programs from people who love music” will stay live 24/7, broadcasting in over 100 countries. The station promises interviews with A-list celebrities and even radio shows hosted by the celebrities themselves every so often. They’ll create their own playlists and mixes and broadcast some of their favorite tunes. Jaden Smith will have his own show, so prepare to have an existential crisis.

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10 rules for classy apps – a developer manifesto

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Believe it or not, there are still some apps that do no evil.

If you ever dig into the privacy policies of app developers, be prepared for a shock. This is where they confess their sins: invading your privacy, selling your data, and pestering you with popups and unwanted ads.

As the App Store becomes increasingly crowded and competitive, many developers struggle to make a profit. Some turn their attention to alternative sources of revenue and the quality of their apps suffer as a result.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are the 10 rules for developers to keep things “classy.”

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For developers, WWDC means more work but not necessarily more profit

As the dust settles on another WWDC, indie devs assess the impact

There are winners and losers at the epicenter of change.

The Worldwide Developers Conference brings new opportunities and new threats for indie developers. If you’re lucky, Apple introduces an API that could enhance your app. If you’re unlucky, Apple launches a new feature that renders your app obsolete.

One thing is certain: Whatever Apple announces at the annual conference will mean a lot more work for indie developers just to stay in the game. And since developers can’t charge for updates on the App Store, most of that work will go unrewarded.

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Kahney’s Korner: Why I can’t wait for Beats 1 radio

Kahney's Korner Beats 1

Find out why Leander hopes Beats 1 is as cool as BBC Radio 1 in this week’s Kahney’s Corner.

Why is Leander super-excited about Apple’s new Beats 1 radio service?

It’s simple, really: For him, listening to BBC Radio 1 was possibly the greatest thing about growing up in England in the ’70s. More importantly, it’s still how he discovers loads of new music today — and Apple’s 24/7 live internet radio station promises that same kind of magic.

Get the lowdown in the latest Kahney’s Korner video.

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The fitness apps that gave me six-pack abs

iMuscle's anatomical models look a bit leaner than I had in mind.

iMuscle’s anatomical models look a bit leaner than I had in mind.

I saw my six pack for the first time at the age of 40. Prior to that, my abs had been hidden behind a thick layer of fat that I’d built up over years of living a sedentary geek lifestyle. The only exercise I got was racing to be first in line at the Apple Store for a product launch.

Then one day, a doctor told me I had cancer and my whole world changed. There’s nothing like a brush with death to make you take your health more seriously. Suddenly, I wanted to get fit, but true to my geek heritage, I would do it using my iPhone. Abs? There must be an app for that.

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Apple’s bold plan to convert casual music fans into streaming subscribers

It appears Apple is hoping to move you from a music collector to a file streamer.

Apple is hoping to move you from a music collector to a file-streamer.

Imagine clicking iTunes’ “Buy” button to purchase the latest record from Drake or Pharrell Williams, only to get a popup from Apple suggesting you’re behind the times.

That’s what might happen as Apple uses its massive consumer base to push streaming music on the masses, even going so far as prompting iTunes users to switch from buying songs to subscribing to a cloud service.

That sort of mid-purchase upsell is just one possible element of Cupertino’s strategy to shake up the music industry again, and the Apple streaming music plan just might be crazy enough to work.

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From dad bod to six pack: Essential gear for bulking up

Some of the best fitness gadgets don’t fit on your wrist.

Some of the best fitness gadgets don’t fit on your wrist.

After a brush with cancer prompted me to take my health more seriously, I began using run trackers to start my journey from dad bod to six pack.

At first, running was the only exercise I did. It helped me lose my love handles, but I ended up looking too skinny. I decided it was time to put on some muscle. While Apple Watch and other wearables are great for running, they’re not much help when it comes to bulking up. As I soon discovered, some of the best fitness gadgets don’t fit on your wrist.

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Kahney’s Korner: Addicted to ASMR

Leander's got a new addiction: ASMR videos.

Leander’s got a new addiction that might be even stronger than the Apple Watch.

You know something’s up at Cult of Mac headquarters when you see Leander sitting with his fingers steepled, exuding an air of complete calm.

It’s like a zen garden around here ever since I told him about ASMR videos, the strangely addictive YouTube phenomenon that turns quiet sounds into something like an aural orgasm.

Now he can’t get enough of the weirdly creepy clips — and I feel a little like a guy who inadvertently turned his friend on to crack.

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Why Jony Ive’s promotion means more design, not less

Jony Ive and Steve Jobs talk during the first public FaceTime demo, which took place at WWDC 2010 in San Francisco.

Jony Ive and Steve Jobs talk during the first public FaceTime demo, which took place at WWDC 2010 in San Francisco.

Apple is such a strange and secretive company, the news that Jony Ive has been promoted is instead widely interpreted that he’s on his way out.

The Telegraph revealed Monday that Ive has been promoted to Chief Design Officer and freed from the day-to-day running of Apple’s Industrial Design studio.

This was greeted with speculation that Ive is actually stepping back. He’s taking it easy, many theorized, easing into semi-retirement. He’s already halfway out the door, and will soon move back to the United Kingdom, seems to be the consensus among pundits.

I think this is Kremlinology in the extreme. And a little perverse. Apple is often obtuse, and sometimes disingenuous or even dishonest, but I think this news should be taken at face value.

Apple has characterized the move as a promotion, and it is. Ive has been moved up into a rare position that gives him a ton of freedom. He now has the breathing room to be what he really wants to be: a pure designer.

In fact, the promotion allows him to take on an even stronger and more Steve Jobs-like role. We will see more design work from him, not less.

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How gadgets helped me go from dad bod to six pack

Fitness gadgets saved my life. Sort of.

Fitness gadgets saved my life. Sort of.

I used to live the classic geek lifestyle, forever hunched over a MacBook, munching on comfort food. Until one day cancer forced me to take my health more seriously.

Now I run marathons and lift weights for fun. But the geek is still strong in me. From GPS watches to bioelectrical impedance analyzers, I’ve used pretty much every kind of fitness gadget.

Here’s the story of how fitness gear helped me get in shape for the first time in my life and swap my middle-aged dad bod for a six pack.

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