Pandora reaches $90M settlement to continue playing pre-1972 music

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While revealing its Q3 earnings earlier today, Pandora announced that it will pay $90 million to labels in royalties as a settlement to play music released prior to 1972. Federal copyright laws didn’t start protecting sound recordings until 1972, meaning that copyrights of clips released prior to then are governed by state laws (via WSJ).

Pandora stopped paying royalties on pre-1972 music a few years back and was subsequently sued by the Recording Industry Association of America. Pandora says that pre-1972 music accounts for just 5 percent of the music its service plays. The settlement prevents the parties from suing until the end of 2016, after which Pandora will have to negotiate a licensing deal.

Among the music companies settling with Pandora are Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment, Access Industries’ Warner Music Group and ABKCO Music & Records. The settlement, which was negotiated over the

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iTunes U updated w/ iPad Pro support, grade book improvements, more

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Apple today, just a short while after updating iMovie, has pushed an update to its iTunes U app on iOS. The update bumps the app to version 3.1 and includes a handful of new features, enhancements, and under-the-hood fixes. 

For one, posts made in iTunes U can now include images. This will be incredibly useful for students and teachers to easily show the progress being made on a certain task or how to do something. The grade book has also been refreshed to display a student’s average grade within a course, a capability that probably should have been there from the beginning. The grade book can also now display minimum, maximum, and average grades in a class for an assignment.

Perhaps most notably, this update a design that better takes advantage of the larger display of the forthcoming iPad Pro. The iPad Pro will likely be incredibly

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Facebook starting to fix iPhone battery drain issues with latest app update, explains why its happening

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Facebook has taken to, shocker, Facebook to explain some of the issues causing significant iPhone battery drain when using its app. The app has received a lot of criticism in the community in recent weeks with users reporting incredibly high levels of background activity time for disproportionally low time with the app actually in use. This included when iPhone users had explicitly turned off Background App Refresh in Settings. Facebook says it has started to fix battery drains issues with the latest version of the app in the App Store, version 42.0.

Ari Grant says there are two main problems with the app as it stands. One of which is a CPU spin state where the app would be instructing the CPU to be constantly doing ‘something’, even if the activity was unnecessary. Hence, the app would be using battery unnecessarily as it was keeping the CPU working without achieving any task for the user.

The other

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AAA study ranks mental distraction of using iPhone voice commands on the road vs other platforms

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In its continued research into distracted driving, the American Automobile Association (AAA) today published the results of its latest study that aimed to show the level of mental distraction related to using voice commands on the road. The study included using the iPhone’s Siri voice commands for making calls and changing music while driving and compared those results with using voice activated systems from car manufacturers and other smartphone makers.

Researchers found that potentially unsafe levels of mental distraction can last for as long as 27 seconds after completing a distracting task in the worst-performing systems studied. At the 25 MPH speed limit in the study, drivers traveled the length of nearly three football fields during this time. When using the least distracting systems, drivers remained impaired for more than 15 seconds after completing a task…

The researchers discovered the residual effects of mental distraction while comparing new hands-free technologies

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Apple supporting anti-bullying campaign with new eye emoji in iOS 9.1

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Apple yesterday released iOS 9.1 to the public with a handful of improvements, but the one that the general public was most excited about was new emoji. While most of the emoji additions were self-explantory, one piqued the interest of many users: an eye inside of a speech bubble. Wired and Jeremy Burge both now note, however, that this emoji is Apple’s way to show its support for a new anti-bullying campaign launched today by the Ad Council.

Called the “I Am A Witness” campaign, the movement hopes to give teenagers the courage they need to speak up whenever they see or experience bullying. The Ad Council hopes that Apple adding the emoji to iOS 9.1 will help raise awareness for its campaign and bullying in general.

The design of the emoji is actually the combination of two already existing emojis, the eye emoji and the left speech

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iMovie for iOS expands 4K editing to iPad Air 2, fixes iCloud Drive + Photos extension issues

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Apple added 4K editing to iMovie for iOS last month, but only on iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPad Pro. In version 2.2.1, iMovie for iOS expands 4K editing to also support iPad Air 2 so you can shoot video on your new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus and edit it on the latest 9.7-inch tablet.

You’ll need a new 4K 21.5-inch iMac or 5K 27-inch iMac (or Mac with a 4K display) for pixel-for-pixel editing, but it’s good to see Apple supporting the still top-of-the-line 9.7-inch iPad with powerful editing features; iPad Pro doesn’t launch until November. Apple introduced 4K video shooting for the first time on its products with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

The update also includes bug fixes for issues with iCloud Drive, the Photos video editing extension, right-to-left languages, and more. Full release notes below:

What’s New

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Glu’s ‘Sniper X’ first-person shooter stars Jason Statham for its latest celebrity tie-in

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App publisher Glu today announced its latest game, which is also its latest celebrity partnership with actor Jason Statham starring as the game’s main playable character. The free game is a first-person shooter that some players will notice bears a similarity and seems to borrow from some of Glu’s past FPS games including the Contract Killer series.

“As Glu’s first male celebrity partner, Jason Statham’s over 55 million social followers add a new demographic to the company’s celebrity gaming platform,” said Niccolo de Masi, Glu Chairman and CEO. “Mr. Statham’s creative input throughout the game’s development has ensured a unique and authentic action-adventure experience his fans will enjoy worldwide.”

As part of Statham’s elite paramilitary team SPEAR, players work side-by-side to dismantle terrorists and rogue states that conventional forces can’t touch. Enemies of freedom can run, but they can’t hide from Sniper X!

The celebrity tie-in, featuring Statham’s name,

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Now that iOS 9.1 is out the door, Apple turns its attention to 9.2 internally

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With yesterday’s release of iOS 9.1, Apple has finally pushed out the last bit of iPhone and iPad software that it was publicly testing. With that out of the way, the company has internally shifted its focus to the next mobile OS release on its roadmap: iOS 9.2.

As seen in the chart below, 9to5Mac has recently seen a significant uptick in the number of readers running iOS 9.2, indicating that the software has moved into wider testing among more Apple employees.

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While iOS 9.1 introduced over 150 new emoji icons and Wi-Fi calling on Sprint devices, iOS 9.2 will likely be focused more on resolving issues discovered with the iPad Pro. That device will ship with iOS 9.1 pre-installed, so a quick software update after release to address outstanding bugs seems likely.

However, the exact changes in 9.2 are yet to

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Chrome for iPad adds Split View, Slide Over, & Picture in Picture multitasking on iOS 9

Chrome iPad 2-1Google has updated its Chrome web browser for iPad on iOS 9 to support each of the new operating system’s new multitasking features on the latest models. Chrome (version 46.0.2490.73 to be specific) now supports Split View for running the browser next to other updated apps, Slide Over for referencing it over any app, and Picture in Picture for minimizing videos playing within Chrome to view from other apps including Split View mode. The release notes also highlight “improved handling” for RTL, or right-to-left, languages.

Chrome’s support for iOS 9 multitasking features is especially beneficial for iPad users as Safari doesn’t allow you to view two browser tabs side-by-side, but running Safari and Chrome alongside each other enables dual browsing on the tablet. Split View is supported on iPad mini 4, iPad Air 2, and the upcoming iPad Pro due out next month.

Older iPads that don’t

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9to5Toys Lunch Break: 64GB iPad mini 4 $460, proXPN VPN Lifetime Subscription $39, Bluetooth earbuds $17, more

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Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

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iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi 64GB in Silver, Gold, or Space Gray: $460 shipped (Reg. $499)

iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi 16GB in Silver or Space Gray: $230 shipped (Reg. $269)

Get a 64GB Wi-Fi iPad Air 2 for less than Apple charges for 16GB: $490 shipped (Reg. $599)

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proXPN VPN: Premium Lifetime Subscription for $39 ($375 value)

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Bluetooth Sport Earbuds w/ Prime shipping: Aukey Around-Neck $17 (Reg. $30), more

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Amazon thinks leaving your house is over-rated, expands Prime free same-day delivery service

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Dell Black Friday Ad Leak: Gears of War Xbox One w/ Fallout 4 + controller $300, VIZIO 60-Inch 4K HDTV $800, more

Amazon and Toys R Us

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Analysts predicting 45M to 51.1M Q4 iPhone sales ahead of next week’s earnings report

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We’ll learn on Tuesday just how many iPhones in total Apple sold last quarter, but before then we’re continuing to gauge analysts’ best educated guesses ahead of time. Just as it did with Apple Watch — although with a comical range in that case — Fortune has published an interesting roundup of iPhone sales predictions from analysts for the last and current quarters, respectively.

What we do know is that Apple sold 13 million iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models over the new models’ launch weekend late last month, although only sales completed during the first half of that weekend are included in the upcoming quarter being reported. What are the analysts saying about the rest of the last quarter?

Fortune puts the average estimate from analysts at 48.72 million iPhone units sold, up from 39.72 million units actually sold last year during the same quarter which notably didn’t include China

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Sluggish Chinese economy hasn’t dented Apple’s confidence in the country, says Tim Cook

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Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is currently visiting China, has told the official Xinhua news agency that nothing has changed Apple’s view of the country.

I know some people are worried about the economy. We’ll continue to invest. China is a superb place to be. Nothing has changed that … 

Cook has been making a series of posts to his Weibo account, celebrating the fact that Apple’s own operations in China now run on 100% renewable energy and is working with its suppliers to help them do the same. The CEO also posted a photo of himself hiking along the Great Wall of China, describing it as “simply breathtaking,” together with photos of his visit to the Wangfujing Apple Store in Beijing.

Apple recently announced that its largest retail store in China would open on Saturday, in the city of Dalian. The store will be one of the largest Apple

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Instagram takes on Apple’s Live Photos with new 1-second video loop app, Boomerang

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Instagram is expanding its range of apps further today by introducing a new video-looping service to rival the likes of HTC Zoe and the iPhone’s baked-in Live Photos. Boomerang takes a quick burst of photos in-app, and then turns them in to a moving photo, or video, that loops forward and backward. Don’t call it a GIF though, it’s a Boomerang…

Boomerang joins Hyperlapse and Layout in Instagram’s portfolio of individual apps, and offers yet another way for you to share your life in short bursts with your friends and followers. As you’d expect, you can share your Boomerangs on Instagram and Facebook, in both portrait or landscape modes. The company announced its latest move on its official blog:

Capture a friend jumping off a diving board, defying physics as she flies back and forth through the air. Transform an ordinary selfie with your friends into a funny video. Get

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Opinion: Putting Apple’s electric car project into perspective

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At this point the fact that Apple is working on an electric vehicle is all but confirmed. Recent reports show that Apple is searching for a private road-testing site, hired hundreds of workers with automotive industry experience and the company allegedly discussed licensing some technology from BMW. Officials within Apple have yet to confirm the ambitious new product, but CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that the automobile industry is ripe for disruption and it is difficult to imagine them backing out at this point.

The electric car is reportedly codenamed ‘Project Titan’ and it is indeed a project of titanic proportions. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently made some comments warning the Cupertino company of the complexity of manufacturing cars. Those comments were surprisingly met by mockery from a lot of Apple fans. I think Apple can and will make an electric vehicle, but I’d like to put the project into perspective.

Read the

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Runkeeper can now track workouts on Apple Watch without your iPhone

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We haven’t seen an awful lot of Apple Watch fitness apps update for watchOS 2 just yet — which lets faster native apps take advantage of sensors like the heart rate tracker — but Runkeeper is out with its iOS 9 and watchOS 2 update today.

Because Runkeeper 6.2 lets Apple Watch users track heart rate with the wearable’s built-in sensor, the app now lets you track runs with it directly on the watch without having to bring your iPhone. You’ll still need the iPhone if you want to track location as Apple Watch doesn’t have built-in GPS, but with a pair of Bluetooth earbuds and Runkeeper 6.2 you can track runs and listen to music using just Apple Watch.

Previously run tracking without iPhone required using Apple’s Workouts app. The updated Runkeeper for iOS 9 and watchOS 2 includes a few other changes as well including an

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PSA: Here’s how to keep seeing iPhone 6s Lock Screen notifications + wallpaper despite super-fast Touch ID

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“Faster” is almost always “better” with new iPhones, but the iPhone 6s’s lightning-quick Touch ID fingerprint scanner has created a small new issue: if you touch the Home Button to look at your Lock Screen, you’ll see that it disappears within a split-second. At a minimum, this is visually jarring, but it also impacts historic iPhone functionality — users have been customizing their Lock Screens with photos (most recently, Live Photos) and checking the date/time there since the first iPhone launched in 2007, and it subsequently became an easy place to view notifications and activate the camera.

If you want to continue using the Lock Screen for any of these reasons, there are a couple of workarounds:

  1. Start using the Sleep/Wake Button on the iPhone’s right side for all screen activations and deactivations. This is the easiest way to do a quick turn on and off of the display for notifications.
  2. Go into the Settings

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Mini Review: Xtron, the compact USB battery pack that can power a 12-inch MacBook & iDevices

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There’s no shortage of external battery packs for iPhones, iPads and other USB-powered devices. With occasional exceptions, the majority have little to distinguish them. But thanks to the addition of a USB-C port, the Xtron can power the 12-inch MacBook as well as iPhones and iPads … 

The 13,400 mAh lithium-ion battery can add about seven hours’ life to the MacBook, recharge an iPad Air 2 twice (almost) or charge an iPhone 6s every night for a week. This isn’t as much as the Vinsic Power Bank we reviewed earlier this year, but the Xtron is significantly more portable.

I’m sometimes a little wary of crowdsourced projects, which sometimes take a lot longer than promised to make it into production, and occasionally fail to make it at all, but I think there’s little danger of that this time. The prototype the company sent me is fully finished, and I’d defy anyone to tell it apart from

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KGI forecasts 23% year-on-year iPhone growth for Apple’s Q4, falling in following two quarters

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An investment note by KGI predicts that Apple will next week report year-on-year iPhone sales up 23.6% to 48.5M, but says that that holiday quarter sales will be down on last year, and that the decline will continue into the first quarter of next year.

KGI says that China is the big factor, included as a launch country this year, and hence contributing to calendar Q3/fiscal Q4 sales, while last year’s China sales fell into the holiday quarter. It estimates that 22M of the iPhones sold last quarter were the new iPhone 6s/Plus. Apple sold 47M iPhones in the previous quarter.

Despite the launch of the iPad Pro next month, both iPad and Mac sales will fall across all three quarters, predicts the report … 

KGI estimates that Apple will report a 9.5% year-on-year fall in iPad sales, and a 1.5% fall in Macs. For these products, Apple

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PSA: Don’t do an in-app sign-up to the new YouTube Red service next week, it’ll cost you more

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If you’re tempted by YouTube’s new ad-free subscription video service, YouTube Red, don’t subscribe to it via the iOS app. ArsTechnica reports that YouTube is taking the same approach as Spotify initially did to Apple’s 30% cut on in-app purchases: adding it to the monthly cost.

There is a big catch about that $9.99 price: $9.99 will cover Android, desktop, and the mobile Web, but if you purchase a subscription via Apple’s in-app purchasing on iOS, the price goes up to $12.99/month. Apple takes a 30 percent cut of all subscription revenue on its platform, and Google is passing that cost directly onto the consumer.

ArsTechnica says that Apple users will “most likely” be able to sign-up instead on the web for the normal $9.99/month and then access the content via the app, and I’ve confirmed in a chat session with YouTube support that this

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Majority of iPhone/iPad workers at Pegatron’s Shanghai factory exceed 60-hour work limit, claims China Labour Watch

FILE-In this Wednesday, May 26, 2010, file photo, staff members work on the production line at the Foxconn complex in Shenzhen, China. Foxconn, the company that makes Apple’s iPhones suspended production at a factory in China on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, after a brawl by as many as 2,000 employees at a dormitory injured 40 people. The fight, the cause of which was under investigation, erupted Sunday night at a privately managed dormitory near a Foxconn Technology Group factory in the northern city of Taiyuan, the company and Chinese police said.(AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

China Labor Watch says that an undercover investigation at a Pegatron factory manufacturing iPhones and iPads found that 58% of workers there were working in excess of 60 hours a week – the limit laid down by Apple for its suppliers. It also said that overtime, which is supposed to be voluntary, is effectively mandatory, reports CNET.

The report claimed that the standard shift was nine hours, but that – between September and December last year – staff worked an additional minimum of 20 hours of overtime each week, usually split up between an extra two hours each week day and one 10-hour shift on Saturdays. […] This overtime was essentially a requirement, according to the investigator, who claimed to be told by a trainer that working eight-hour shifts five days a week “does not conform to our hiring requirements.”

The report says that many workers in any case

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