9 practical uses for your obsolete Apple TV


Check out nine seriously cool ways to make the most out of your old Apple TV.
Photo: Apple

OK, play time is over. Last week’s article on five things to do with your obsolete Apple TV was meant to bring some light humor to your day, but we heard your comments loud and clear. Many of you looking for legitimate tips on what to do with an old Apple TV felt misled by the headline when you wound up scrolling through a sarcastic list. For that, we apologize. I apologize.

But we’re not all talk and no action at Cult of Mac. Without further ado, here is an actual list of nine things – four extras because we like you a lot – that you can do with your old or soon-to-be-obsolete Apple TV. For real this time. Seriously.

Spotify fires back at Apple Music with personalized playlists


Spotify is taking what it knows about your music tastes to curate a personalized weekly playlist.
Spotify is taking what it knows about your music tastes to curate a personalized weekly playlist.
Photo: Spotify

Spotify doesn’t want to go down without a fight.  The service is debuting Discover Weekly, a new playlist for every user that updates every Monday with unique recommendations for each person. One of Apple Music’s advantages over Spotify is its personalized playlists for users’ tastes, and now Spotify is matching it.

Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ wasn’t worth all that Spotify drama

Photographers assigned to Taylor Swift concerts will be greeted by a friendlier photo contract.
Taylor Swift's '1989' album is finally available for streaming, so I was all ears.
Photo: GabboT/Flickr CC

No one has shut up about this album since it came out in October 2014. Taylor Swift’s “1989” sold over a million copies in the first week alone and continues to sell well even today, largely due to the fact that it was previously nowhere to be found on streaming services. That is until Apple Music launched and Swift suddenly had a change of heart.

Still, since everyone I know buzzed about this album and the media certainly buzzed about it given the Spotify melodrama, I had to give it a listen. I didn’t want to buy it because I truly didn’t care that much, but I cared enough to listen if I was already paying for a streaming subscription. Now that I’m officially an Apple Music member, I got to stream “1989” in its entirety while I was cooking my lunch.

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

One of the best features of Apple Music in Beats 1.
Beats 1 Radio is live on Apple Music, but is it worth your time?
Photo: Apple

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.

A focus on discovery makes Apple Music a serious contender


More Beats radio stations might be coming soon.
Discover stuff large and small with Apple's new Music service.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

I’m a streaming music junky. I gave up collecting, owning, and maintaining music files on my own Mac years ago and I’ve never looked back. It’s the only sensible way to have access to millions of songs without having to worry about storing them.

I’ve used and tested Rdio, Spotify, Beats Music, and other on-demand streaming services over the past few years, so it made sense to check out Apple Music, the new on-demand service to come out of Cupertino.

It’s going to take some time to dig in deep, but so far, Apple Music is proving to be an amazingly comprehensive streaming music product that focuses on discovery, something that the competition struggles with. Within minutes of downloading iOS 8.4, I’m already listening to a playlist of artists I know as well as those I don’t – a perfect blend of old and new.

I’ve found a new streaming service to love in Apple Music, and I think you will, too.