Forget taking photos — the iPhone’s flash is way more useful than that

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iPhone plus camera
Flashlight, heart-rate-monitor, mosquito killer… The iPhone's LED lamp is a real multitool.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone’s Quad-LED True Tone flash is pretty good as camera flashes go, but you should never use it to take actual photos, unless you want shiny-faced, red-eyed people in your portraits. Instead, you should put it to work in more useful applications. And no, we don’t just mean using it as a flashlight next time you take a trip into the basement.

How to use Music Memos like a cut-down GarageBand

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music memos in action
Music Memos is like having two extra members in your band, only it doesn't run up the bar tab.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s Music Memos app is just about about the best way to record musical ideas before they evaporate into the ether. For years, musicians used the built-in Voice Memos app to record snippets, but Music Memos, as you’d expect, is much better suited to the task. It can listen to you and record only when you start playing, it can detect the chords you play, and it can even add drum and bass tracks to your recording automatically.

This last feature is what we’ll look at today. We’re going to record a simple guitar track, add drums and bass, and send the whole lot to GarageBand on iOS for further work. That sounds like a lot, but once you lay down your recorded track, all it takes is a few taps of the screen. And remember, I use a guitar, but you can use any instrument.

Rare Prince concert video might be Apple Music’s next exclusive

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Apple Music's 3-month trial is no longer free for all.
Photo: Apple

Apple Music may soon get exclusive streaming rights to an unreleased Prince concert that was performed as a surprise in Minneapolis just before the release of his iconic Purple Rain soundtrack.

If Apple does land the rights, the company may owe a big ‘thank you’ to its rival Spotify, which employs the executive negotiating the deal.

Apple slashes commissions for App Store referrals

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There are small savings for some.
Apple is cut affiliates' pay.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple Music is hooking up with Facebook Messenger

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Apple Music's 3-month trial is no longer free for all.
Photo: Apple

Facebook is aiming to make its Messenger app the go-to spot to talk about music with a new update that makes it easier to share songs with friends.

During the company’s F8 developers conference this morning, Facebook unveiled a new way for third-party apps to integrate with communications platform. And Apple Music is one of its first partners.

Apple makes iWork and iLife apps free for all

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You no longer need to buy a new Mac to get GarageBand for free.
You no longer need to buy a new Mac to get GarageBand for free.
Photo: Apple

iPhone 8 could be last to include headphone jack adapter

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AirPods
Apple should include free AirPods instead.
Photo: Ste Smith

Apple’s mission to kill the use of headphone jacks on the iPhone may be completed by 2018, according to a new report from Barclays.

In a note to investors today, the research bank says the three new iPhone models Apple introduces this year will all come with a Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter, but this could be the last time buyers get a free dongle.

Pandora’s Apple Music rival is now available to all

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Get your mitts on Pandora Premium today.
Get your mitts on Pandora Premium today.
Photo: Pandora

Pandora’s fight back against Apple Music officially begins today, with Pandora Premium, the on-demand streaming service, now available to all.

Priced at $9.99 a month, the subscription grants access to millions of tracks and albums that you can listen to ad-free, as often as you like. It also boasts a couple of neat features you won’t find elsewhere.

One of Kendrick Lamar’s new songs was created entirely on iPhone

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You don't need a professional studio to make dope beats.
You don't need a professional studio to make dope beats.
Photo: Apple

Kendrick Lamar unleashed his eagerly anticipated fourth studio album, DAMN, on the world today.

Lamar is known for his perfectionism, using some of the best producers and equipment in the game to get his sound just right. But when it came to one of the best tracks on his new album, one of Lamar’s producers crafted the entire thing using only his iPhone.

Apple Music launches intimate concert series on YouTube

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Apple Music's 3-month trial is no longer free for all.
Photo: Apple

One of Canada’s most famous music interviewers, George Stroumboulopoulos, is coming to Apple Music where he’ll host concerts featuring some of the biggest names in the industry.

Unlike the large-scale Apple Music Festival concerts hosted every year, Stroumboulopoulos (aka Strombo), will be hosting the acts at his tiny house in Toronto, giving fans an intimate concert experience unlike any other.