We’re just two weeks into 2016, but already Apple is making some big moves. Here’s a look back at the week that was.
The biggest story of the week: Apple embraces the Night Shift
In a surprising move, Cupertino unveiled new versions for iOS and tvOS this week. Both iOS 9.3 beta and tvOS 9.2 beta include features we can’t believe weren’t already offered on the iPhone/iPad and Apple TV, respectively.
The iOS 9.3 beta includes Night Shift, which uses your iOS device’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location. When it is, the device screen will automatically shift to remove blue light, which studies have shown makes it difficult for us to fall asleep.
The beta also brings multi-user support to iPad — at least in the classroom. In iOS 9.3, educators can also take advantage of the new Classroom app so they can launch everyone’s apps at the same time and then guide what the students are looking at on their iPads. Using AirPlay, teachers can also project a student’s work from a tablet onto the classroom television equipped with an Apple TV.
Also in iOS 9.3 beta: Touch ID support in the native Notes app, better News app customization, improvements to the Health app, and more.
Meanwhile, tvOS 9.2 beta brings back a feature that Apple removed between the third- and fourth-generation Apple TV: Bluetooth keyboard support. The latest update also adds folder support, a native Podcast app, and other upgrades.
The public should receive iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 this spring.
Also making news: No more Apple Music freebies
In an email to listeners, Apple said that ad-supported radio stations in Apple Music will be discontinued on Thursday, Jan. 28. As a result, the iTunes Radio service will only be available to Apple Music subscribers. A subscription starts at $9.99 per month.
You’ll still be able to listen to Beats 1 Radio for free.
- The ‘Apple Watch 2′ might not be unveiled in March
- T-Mobile finally admits it actually does throttle all video traffic with Binge On
- New Look case leaves 9-year-old girl with iPhone-shaped scar
- You can now find out which cars have CarPlay with Apple’s official list
- Apple is making a big change to its iAd advertising sales platform
Big app news: Spotify and Genius join forces
Spotify, the popular music-streaming service, has joined forces with startup Genius to add an interesting new feature to its iPhone application.
According to TechCrunch, that feature is a behind the scenes-style look at the background of a range of popular songs streamed inside of Spotify. Information, the report notes, will soon pop up inside of select songs inside the iPhone application, allowing listeners to read some background on their favorite track while listening to the piece. It is said that the feature will launch on Spotify for iPhone first, before rolling out to other platforms.
Other app news
- Free the Smurfs from evil in the adventure Smurfs Epic Run
- Etermax announces more Trivia Crack features and new games
- The first rule of Punch Club is don’t talk about Punch Club
- Explore the heavens with Space Telescope for Apple TV
- HBO welcomes you to ‘Sesame Street’
Accessory news: A new Amazon Echo is coming
Amazon’s line of connected speakers is set to grow. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Internet retailer is planning to launch a smaller, less expensive version of the Echo “in the coming weeks.”
Originally unveiled in late 2014, the Echo currently retails for $179.99 and has proven to be extremely popular with consumers. A smaller, less expensive version could easily help draw more users into Amazon’s ecosystem.
While users can control the speaker via a companion iPhone app, the top feature is easily the built-in voice control. Users can stream music from a number of different services, receive answers to questions, place items on their shopping list, and even control smart home devices with a voice command – much like Apple’s Siri.
More accessory news
- Review: Apple Watch replica Milanese Loop band from JETech
- Microsoft wants Apple Watch users to trade in their device for a Band 2
- Review: Nomad’s Wallet for iPhone packs a powerful punch with a built-in battery
What will happen during the week ahead? Visit AppAdvice each day to find out.