| Cult of Mac

Apple finally lets ‘reader’ apps like Netflix and Spotify link to their own sites

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Apple lets reader apps link to their own sites
It's a start.
Image: Apple

Apple on Wednesday confirmed a significant change to its App Store policy that finally allows “reader” apps like Netflix and Spotify to link to their own websites for things like creating and managing accounts.

Until now, including an external link for this kind of purpose was prohibited, and would have resulted in App Store expulsion. That meant a poor user experience for a whole bunch of popular services on iPhone and iPad.

That’s finally changing, but of course, Apple plans to make it as complicated as possible for developers to enjoy it.

Ikea’s new outdoor lamp is first Bluetooth speaker with Spotify Tap

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The new Ikea Vappeby is an LED lantern and a Bluetooth speaker with Spotify Tap.
The new Ikea Vappeby is an LED lantern and a Bluetooth speaker with Spotify Tap.
Photo: Ikea

Cue the lights, strike up the music and let the garden party begin. Ikea’s got a new outdoor lantern coming. What’s interesting is that it doubles as the first Bluetooth speaker on the market with Spotify Tap built in.

The one-touch Spotify functionality isn’t the only music streaming service you can use with the lamp, called the Ikea Vappeby. But it’s handy.

Google lets Android devs test third-party payment options (unlike Apple)

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Google tests third-party payments on Android
Spotify will be first to offer its own billing method.
Image: Google

Google on Thursday confirmed that it will give “a small number of participating developers” the ability to implement third-party payment methods in their Android apps as part of a pilot program called User Choice Billing.

Spotify, first to take advantage of the change, will offer Google Play’s billing system as well as its own. The move puts even more pressure on Apple, which has been fighting hard to block third-party payment systems on iOS.

Guess which brand consumers find most relevant to their lives

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Prophet's annual brand relevancy result is starting to sound like a broken record.
Prophet's annual brand relevancy result is starting to sound like a broken record.
Photo: Prophet

Spoiler alert: For the seventh year in a row, Apple topped consumers’ lists as the most relevant brand to their everyday lives. Seems like the Cupertino tech giant can’t lose in this particular race.

You have to wonder who placed 293rd. That’s how many companies the annual survey evaluated, in 27 categories.

Apple Music taunts Spotify with massive Neil Young promotion

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Apple Music backs Neil Young
Apple Music is "the home of Neil Young."
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple Music has launched a huge Neil Young promotion just days after Spotify began pulling all of the singer’s content from its platform.

Listeners will today find a “We Love Neil” section under the “Browse” tab that features albums, interviews, and playlists. Cupertino has also send out tweets and push notifications that call Apple Music “The home of Neil Young.”

Apple Music is the world’s second-biggest music streaming service

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Apple Music
But Spotify is still way out in front.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

With a 15% share of the market, Apple Music is now the second-biggest music streaming service in the world, according to the latest data. It remains significantly bigger than rivals like YouTube Music and Deezer.

However, Apple Music will have to fight to stay ahead of Amazon Music, while catching up with Spotify will be an incredibly difficult task.

Here’s what today’s top Mac apps might have looked like on Mac OS 9

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Zoom on Mac OS 9
A taste of the past.
Image: Michael Feeney

Ever wondered what today’s most popular Mac apps might have looked like on earlier Macintosh machines? These incredible design concepts imagine the likes of Google Chrome, Spotify and Zoom running on the 22-year-old Mac OS 9.

Graphic designer Michael Feeney created the collection as part of his terrific (mac)OStalgia project. Check it out in the four-minute video below.

Spotify brings Apple Music-like synchronized lyrics to all users

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Spotify lyrics roll out to all
Just like Apple Music's
Photo: Musixmatch

Spotify’s new synchronized song lyrics — much like those we’ve enjoyed inside Apple Music for a while now — are now rolling out globally. The feature is available to both free and paid users across almost all devices.

Lyrics were one of the most requested features among Spotify users, the company said. They first entered testing among a smaller number of customers early this year, and now everyone can enjoy them.

Apple hints at Apple Music for ‘gaming consoles’ after PS5 leak

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Apple Music for gaming consoles
Is a rollout imminent?
Photo: Apple/Sony

Apple’s website has been updating to include a reference to Apple Music for “gaming consoles.” It comes less than a week after the service was first spotted (but unavailable to download) on PlayStation 5.

The reference all but confirms Cupertino is indeed working to bring Apple Music to the latest game systems from Microsoft and Sony, alongside Apple TV, which is already available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X.

iOS 15 problems continue as iPhone 13 owners report CarPlay crashes

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Ford-CarPlay
Will it ever end?
Photo: Ford

The long list of problems that have surfaced in iOS 15 continues to grow as iPhone 13 owners report new issues with CarPlay.

Some say they are unable to play tracks in Apple Music or third-party apps like Spotify without the system crashing completely. There are some fixes you can try, like disabling the equalizer if it’s active, that may solve the problem.