Beats has unveiled its long-awaited music streaming service, Beats Music. The service enters the crowded field of music streaming, dominated by heavyweights including Apple's iTunes Radio, Spotify and Pandora. For US$9.99 a month, Beats Music listeners will be able to stream an unlimited amount of albums and songs and also download them for ad-free offline listening. The service also relies heavily on music curation, with curated stations and playlists chosen by professionals at music industry publications and by some of the most popular DJs in the country. From the Beats Music press release:
We wanted to build a music service that combined the freedom of an on-demand subscription service -- unlimited, uninterrupted streaming and downloads of tens of millions of songs -- but layer on top features that would give you that feeling only music that moves you can give. The right song at the right time will give you a chill. Make you pull someone close. Nod your head. Sing in the mirror. Roll down the car window and crank the volume to the right.
Beats Music is a free download.
In other news this morning:
Apple investors will be happy to hear the iPad 2 dropped to only 5 percent of iPad holiday sales -- down from 27 percent, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. The drop means that of iPads purchased this holiday quarter, consumers chose to go for the more expensive and higher-margin iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad with Retina display.
The popular VLC video client for iOS has received a major update. Version 2.2 now allows users to stream videos right from their Dropbox account. The update also adds support for Google Drive downloads, and several other features, including new multitouch gestures. VLC is a free download.
Apple has received a patent for a new force trackpad with tactile feedback. Currently trackpads in the MacBook line work via a clickable switch interface, however the new patent shows Apple could do away with current trackpads and replace them with advanced ones that sense presses through force and can also provide tactile feedback through vibrations signaling to a user that an action has been completed.
Apple has expanded the reach of educational content. The company has announced that iBooks textbooks and iTunes U Course Manager are now available in more than 50 countries.