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OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 Users Experiencing Issues With YouTube Videos in Safari

The latest update to OS X Yosemite, 10.10.1, appears to be causing some users to be unable to play YouTube videos in Safari. According to threads on the Apple Support forums and Google’s Product forums, some users that attempt to play YouTube videos are seeing only black screens with audio clipping or are experiencing problems loading videos.

Other users are able to play videos, but are seeing a brief error message before a video begins to play, and still other users are getting complete browser crashes when attempting to watch a video. For some users, the problems just started a few hours ago, suggesting the issue may be on YouTube’s end.

youtubeerrorsafari10101

I installed Yosemite on my iMac (20-inch, Mid 2007) when it was first released and I had no issues whatsoever.

Last night I updated Yosemite to 10.10.1 and now all of a sudden Safari Version 8.0 (10600.1.25.1) won’t play any YouTube videos. All I get is a black screen with a little audio clipping.

When using Firefox (v32.1.1) or Chrome (v38.0.2125.122) everything works ok.

MacRumors has confirmed the problem and has also had some trouble loading certain YouTube videos in Safari. Users on the support forums have tried various methods to fix the issue, including resetting PRAM, clearing cookies and caches, but nothing appears to work to fix the problem. One user discovered a temporary fix, going to Develop –> User Agent –> and checking Google Chrome – Mac, but the fix resets when the browser is closed.

YouTube videos appear to be playing fine in both Chrome and Firefox, so a workaround until a fix is available is to watch videos in an alternate browser.

Released to the public on Monday after two weeks of testing, OS X 10.10.1 bundled in reliability improvements to Wi-Fi, Microsoft Exchange, Mail, and Back to My Mac. Apple has already seeded a second Yosemite update, 10.10.2, to developers, but that beta has its own issues, including problems with Chrome, and user reports suggest the Safari error is present on 10.10.2 as well.

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Microsoft Pits Cortana Against Siri in New Ad Showcasing Contextual Reminders, Traffic Alerts

Microsoft today launched a new video advertisement that compares its Cortana virtual assistant to Apple’s own digital assistant, Siri, showcasing Cortana’s contextual reminders and traffic alerts, two functions that Siri does not have.

In the ad, entitled “Siri vs. Cortana: Bigger,” Cortana and Siri have a “conversation” where Cortana queries Siri about her new abilities in the iPhone 6 and Siri continually responds that she just “got bigger.”

Cortana: Hi Siri, looks like you’re in a new phone. Congratulations.
Siri: Yes, I got bigger.
Cortana: Oh, are you more like me now? Can you give reminders based on who calls or texts?
Siri: No, I got bigger.
Cortana: How about traffic alerts? Can you tell people to leave early based on traffic reports?
Siri: No, seriously, I just got bigger.
Cortana: That’s okay. Happens to everyone this time of year.

Microsoft first announced Cortana in April of this year. The digital assistant, designed to compete with Apple’s Siri, is named after the AI character in the popular Halo video game series and is voiced by actress Jen Taylor. With Cortana, Microsoft aims to emulate real personal assistants, and Cortana will ask questions and monitor user activity to learn more about its users. Cortana, available on Windows devices, can perform a few functions that Siri is not capable of, including scheduling reminders from text messages and mapping out traffic patterns to provide travel recommendations.

Cortana has been starring in a series of anti-Siri advertisements since July, with the first advertisement highlighting context-aware reminders and the second showcasing Cortana’s mapping capabilities.

Microsoft has a long history of targeting Apple in its advertisements, comparing its Surface line of products to Apple’s iPad and iPhone. Just this week, Microsoft launched a new “Winter Wonderland” ad that pits the Surface Pro 3 against the MacBook Air, highlighting the Surface’s kickstand, portability, and touchscreen.

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iCloud.com Photos App Gains New Uploading Capabilities

Following two weeks of testing on the iCloud beta site for developers, the consumer-facing iCloud.com site has gained support for uploading images to iCloud Photo Library (via iFun.de [Google Translate]).

Before the addition of the new uploading tool, the standard iCloud.com site allowed users to view all of their iCloud Photo Library images, as well as download and delete them, but it did not have a tool to allow users to upload photos captured with non-Apple devices.

icloudbetasiteuploadtoolNew toolbar with upload support on iCloud.com site at top, previous iCloud.com toolbar on bottom
The new uploading feature on the iCloud.com site makes it possible to upload JPGs, but as with the beta feature, other image and video formats like .PNG, .MOV, .AVI, .MP4, and more are not supported. When a file is uploaded to the site, it syncs instantly to all of a user’s iOS devices, much like a photo taken on an iPhone or iPad or added to iCloud Photo Library via the iOS Photos app.

Currently in beta and introduced alongside iOS 8.1, iCloud Photo Library stores all of the photos and videos that a user takes in iCloud, making them available on all iOS devices and Macs. iCloud Photo Library images can be viewed in the Photos app on iOS or through iCloud.com on the Mac, and the upcoming Photos app that Apple is creating for Macs will also work with iCloud Photo Library.

Users should be aware that photos uploaded to iCloud Photo Library use iCloud storage space. Apple offers 5GB of storage space for free, with additional plans ranging from $0.99 for 20GB of storage space to $19.99 for 1TB of storage space.

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Square Announces Plans to Begin Accepting Apple Pay in 2015

Speaking with CNN, Square founder Jack Dorsey confirmed that the payment processing service will support Apple Pay in the coming months, bringing Apple Pay to small business owners. In the interview, Dorsey reiterates his opinion that he does not view Apple Pay as a competitor and wants to add the mobile payments service as an available option for Square users.

“We’re not building a credit card. We’re not building a payment device. We’re building a [cash] register, and this register accepts all these forms of payments,” Dorsey told CNN in an interview.

While the existing Square Reader can process credit card payments via an iPad or iPhone, the hardware is not equipped to handle the wireless transactions required by Apple Pay. In order to support Apple’s mobile payment technology, Square will need to introduce all new hardware with built-in NFC connectivity.

squarereader
Apple Pay launched last month alongside iOS 8.1 and is available only in U.S. with global expansion planned in the future. The payment service is supported by a number of large retailers, major banks and restaurants including the recently added Disney Store, Sephora, SunTrust Bank, and Levi’s Stadium,.

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Chase Offers Apple Pay Users Free David Guetta Songs as More Retailers Jump Onboard

Credit card issuer and major bank Chase has been one of the highest profile Apple Pay partners since the service was announced in September and launched one month ago. This weekend, the bank has launched a plan to entice more Chase Visa card holders into Apple Pay with a free early-access music download.

david_guetta_chase
From November 21-23, users who add a Chase Visa card into Apple Pay will receive exclusive early access to fourteen songs off of David Guetta’s new album “Listen.” Apple Pay users can receive their iTunes Store redemption codes through the Chase app, which received an update today that is required for the Apple Pay promo to appear.

chase_david_guetta
The new album from Guetta officially launches on Monday, and is currently available for pre-order through the iTunes Store for $11.99. The Chase offer includes 14 of the 18 songs from the deluxe version of the album, omitting the four tracks that are currently available for advance purchase through iTunes.

Chase is not the first major bank to try to entice customers to try out Apple Pay, with Wells Fargo offering $10-$20 credits just for making an Apple Pay purchase on a Wells Fargo card by the end of this month.

Apple Pay has seen a number of other enhancements in recent days, including the addition of in-app Apple Pay support in the Disney Store app, another of the service’s key partners mentioned alongside Apple Pay’s unveiling. Apple Pay had already been accepted in Disney’s retail stores, with Apple’s own Eddy Cue showing off the service in a Disney Store earlier this week.Version 3.2.1 of the company’s app, landing just before the holiday season rush, brings support for Apple Pay for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Despite Apple Pay being supported available for the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, the iPad version of the Disney Store app does not yet include it.

Another of Apple’s early in-app partners, Levi’s Stadium, rolled out Apple Pay support earlier this week as well for visitors to the San Francisco 49ers home stadium in Santa Clara.

On the in-store front, a number of new retailers also rolled out support for Apple Pay, including several grocery store chains and just today Sephora announced (via TechCrunch) an early rollout in its Manhattan and Bay Area stores ahead of a full rollout in the near future.

With the recent release of the WatchKit SDK for Apple Watch to app developers, and Apple’s promise that Apple Pay and the Apple Watch will be closely tied, the retailer and app support of Apple Pay will no doubt continue to grow.

The Chase Mobile [Direct Link], Levi’s Stadium [Direct Link], and Disney Store [Direct Link] apps can all be downloaded from the App Store for free.

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iWork for iCloud Updated with Eight New Languages, 50 Fonts and Improved Document Editing

Apple today updated iWork for iCloud with support for up to eight new languages and more than 50 new fonts. The changes were added to the cloud-based versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote and were first reported by German blog Macerkopf.

iwork_icloud_deutsch-update
New iCloud languages include French, German, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Chinese, Arabic (Pages only) and Hebrew (Pages only) with Pages receiving 8 new languages and Number and Keynotes now supporting six. Apple also expanded the number of available fonts, adding 50 new font types that improve the creative options available to users as well as add support for the new languages. Other changes include a revised main toolbar that now allows users to easily change the name of a document and other-app specific improvements like the ability to undo the deletion of section breaks while editing in Pages.

Apple introduced iWork for iCloud at WWDC 2013 and has been steadily improving the service with small, but regular updates. The company still maintains a desktop version of the productivity suite and recently updated its iWork apps with new features and a redesign for OS X Yosemite.

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iPhone 6 Plus Shipping Times Improve Slightly, Now 7 to 10 Days for 16GB Model

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, shipping estimates for the iPhone 6 Plus have improved slightly, with the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus in all colors and from all carriers now carrying a shipping estimate of 7 to 10 days in the United States. Shipping estimates for the 64GB iPhone 6 Plus in all colors and from all carriers have also seen improvement, going from 3 to 4 weeks to 2 to 3 weeks.

While shipping estimates for the 16GB and 64GB iPhone 6 Plus have improved, shipping estimates for the harder-to-find 128GB iPhone 6 Plus remain at 3 to 4 weeks, suggesting the higher-capacity model is the most constrained.

iphone6plusshippingimprovements
Apple is also seeing improved supply of the iPhone 6, and the 16GB device now has a shipping estimate of 5 to 7 days, down from 7 to 10 days. Higher-capacity 64 and 128GB iPhone 6 models continue to ship in 7 to 10 days.

Many other countries in Europe and Asia are also seeing the same improved shipping times, as are Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

In store supply of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus also appears to be improving somewhat, as many stores across the country list availability of both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 16 and 64GB configurations. Apple Stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments on a regular basis, but stock can go quickly because many retail locations are still seeing lines more than two months after the phones first went on sale. Tracking tool iStockNow can be used to find where iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices are available.

iphone6plusstockinstore
During Apple’s fourth quarter earnings call on October 20, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus was “far outstripping” supply, and that the company was “not close” to having a balance between supply and demand at that time. Apple has, however, been working hard to improve iPhone 6 and 6 Plus supply, reportedly delaying mass production of the rumored iPad Pro in order to focus its resources on higher iPhone 6 Plus output.

Early analysis has suggested that consumers in the U.S. are favoring the iPhone 6 over the 6 Plus by 3:1, but as supply of both models remains constrained, it is impossible to determine the true ratio of iPhone 6 demand vs. iPhone 6 Plus demand at this time.

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Apple Seeds First OS X 10.10.2 Yosemite Beta to Developers

Apple today seeded the first beta of OS X 10.10.2 Yosemite to developers, just three days after releasing OS X 10.10.1 to the public.

The new beta, build 14C68k, is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store and should be available in the Mac Dev Center soon.

10_10_2_beta
Like OS X 10.10.1, as a minor update, OS X 10.10.2 is likely to bring bug fixes and performance improvements to the operating system. OS X 10.10.1 introduced several reliability improvements, including improvements to Wi-Fi, but many users have still been reporting issues with Wi-Fi stability in Yosemite.

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Billboard 200 Chart to Incorporate Digital Track Sales, On-Demand Streaming Music

Billboard is planning a major overhaul of its Billboard 200 chart in the coming weeks, which will take into account the growing popularity of streaming music. Billboard’s new methodology will shift away from simply tracking album sales, adding both digital track sales and streaming music into its algorithm.

Published weekly, the Billboard 200 is a chart that ranks the 200 best selling music albums in the United States. At the current time, the Billboard 200 chart only takes into account retail (both physical and digital) album sales, but the addition of digital track sales and streaming music from services like Beats and Spotify will allow the chart to give a clearer picture of overall popularity by taking into account consumption activity rather than measuring based on straight sales.

billboardtop200
Beginning on December 3, and measuring data during Thanksgiving week, the Billboard 200 will count 10 individual song sales or 1,500 song streams as a standard album sale. Billboard plans to incorporate data from every major streaming audio subscription service, including Spotify, Beats Music, Google Play, and Xbox Music. Ad-supported radio services like Pandora and iTunes Radio will not be counted, as Billboard is only planning to focus on on-demand services.

“Adding streaming information makes the chart a better representation of music consumption activity,” says Silvio Pietroluongo, VP of charts and data development at Billboard. “While an extremely valuable measurement, album sales would mostly capture the initial impulse only, without indicating the depth of consumption thereafter. Someone could listen to the album just once, or listen to one track or a number of tracks 100 times. We are now able to incorporate those plays as part of an album consumption ranking throughout one’s possession of an album, extending beyond the initial purchase or listen.”

According to Billboard, incorporating individual song sales and streaming music could see some artists moving up the charts, including Ariana Grande and Maroon 5, both of which have higher streaming and digital song sales than album sales.

The methodology change was done under the guidance of music industry executives, to represent the growing popularity of streaming music services. According to Nielsen and Billboard’s mid-2014 Music Industry Report [PDF] on-demand streaming music sales were up 42 percent year-over-year, with streams surpassing 70 billion songs.

On-demand streaming music services are now in hundreds of countries, and the most popular streaming service, Spotify, now has more than 10 million subscribers. Non-paid radio-style streaming services like Pandora have also exploded in popularity, with Pandora hitting 76.4 million active monthly users back in August.

Apple’s own streaming music service, Beats Music, had only 110,000 subscribers when it was purchased by Apple, but it may see an explosion in growth next year as Apple is said to be planning to rebrand the service with a lower price. It may also be incorporated into iTunes and bundled onto iOS devices directly.

Though Billboard has plans to update its Billboard 200 chart with new methodology that takes into account streaming music services, a pure album sales chart called Top Album Sales will also be published to maintain the existing Billboard 200 methodology. Genre album charts will also continue to be sale-based at the current time.

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Best Buy Offers Pre-Black Friday Deals, Discounts iPad Air by $80

Like Walmart, Best Buy has decided to offer some pre-Black Friday sales, which start today and last through the weekend.

Best Buy is discounting all of its original iPad Air stock by $80 to $100, dropping the price of the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad Air to $319.99. Higher-capacity Wi-Fi only models are discounted by up to $85, while some cellular models are discounted by as much as $100. For example the 32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air from AT&T is available for $479.99.

bestbuyipadairdiscount
Best Buy is also offering the fifth-generation 64GB iPod touch for $249.99, which is $50 off the standard retail price. The deal is available for all colors Best Buy has in stock, including Space Gray, Blue, Pink, Silver, and Yellow.

As for Apple accessories, Best Buy is selling the older Solo HD Drenched Beats by Dr. Dre headphones for $99.99, a discount of $70. The discount is available for black, white, and red models.

When Black Friday rolls around, Best Buy will offer some of the best deals available on Apple’s newest product, the iPad Air 2. The retailer is planning to discount all iPad Air 2 models by $100, which drops the price of the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad Air 2 to $399. Best Buy will also be discounting all iPad mini 3 models, dropping the price of the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi only model to $324.99.

For a full list of Best Buy’s upcoming Black Friday deals and the deals that other retailers are planning to offer, make sure to check out our comprehensive Black Friday Roundup.

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Apple’s Claims of Improved Performance on iPhone 4s and iPad 2 With iOS 8.1.1 Put to the Test

Following the launch of iOS 8 back in September, many iPhone 4s users reported widespread issues ranging from slow performance to choppy animations. With Monday’s release of iOS 8.1.1 promising “increased stability and performance improvements for iPad 2 and iPhone 4S”, Ars Technica has now put those claims to the test.

iOS 8.1.1 improves performance in a few specific places, ones that may well be important to heavy users. However, it doesn’t improve responsiveness or consistency, two of the problems you’ll notice the most if you upgrade from iOS 7. Let’s look at the short list of things you can expect to improve if you’re using an older iDevice and the longer list of things that won’t.

In its study, Ars Technica found launch times of system apps like Safari, Camera, and Messages essentially unchanged from iOS 8.0 for users with Apple’s A5-based phones and tablets. The one exception was Safari, which saw a minor improvement compared to iOS 8.0, but all system apps still took considerably longer to launch on iOS 8.1.1 than on iOS 7.1.2. Interface lag such as for bringing up the keyboard or Control Center also remains an issue for these devices under iOS 8.1.1

Screenshot (2)
The one bright spot Ars ran into was, surprisingly, in long-term speed and stability. Under certain circumstances, iOS 8.1.1 was found to in fact improve stability and performance despite the confines of 512MB of RAM on these devices. Tests involved loading up multiple memory-intensive tabs in Safari and then using multitasking to switch away from and then back to Safari to measure reloading times.

It’s hard to say exactly what Apple has done to improve performance under these RAM-starved conditions, at least not without more input from Apple (the company has declined to comment for this story). We also can’t list exactly when users can expect to see improvements, beyond the “play around in other apps and then jump back to Safari” test we’ve engineered here.

The best we can say is that something about the process of loading and ejecting processes to and from the A5’s 512MB of RAM could cause slowness and instability in iOS 8.1, and whatever the problem was has been at least partially addressed in iOS 8.1.1.

Overall, improvements for A5-based devices under iOS 8.1.1 are minor, as has been shown in other testing, although some will appreciate the improved multitasking performance with Safari. As Ars notes, iOS 8.1.1 isn’t exactly the vast improvement for the iPhone 4s that iOS 7.1 was for the iPhone 4, but it does offer nominal improvements to the overall experience without making other areas worse.

Apple’s A5 devices are definitely showing their age, although they do remain on the market with the original iPad Mini and iPhone 4s being sold as low-end options and the fifth-generation iPod touch still being the current model of that device. The spread between these A5 devices and Apple’s latest A8-based iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 models is indeed significant, and it is clearly posing challenges for Apple and developers alike to continue adequately supporting these low-end devices.

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Clear Geographic Split Shows iPhone 6 Plus Especially Popular With Asian Customers

Apple’s iPhone 6 continues to outsell the iPhone 6 Plus around the world, but the larger-sized phone is proving to be a significant hit in some markets, reports AppLovin in its latest November 2014 report.

According to AppLovin’s analytics data, the iPhone 6 outsold the 6 Plus in an 80/20 ratio overall in the first 45 days of availability. While Europe, North America and Australia roughly follow this global sales distribution or lean slightly more heavily toward the iPhone 6, the trend changes in Asia, where the iPhone 6 Plus typically accounts for 35 percent or more of iPhone sales.

applovin_iphone_6_split
South Korea, home to rivals Samsung and LG, is the only Asian country studied with an iPhone 6 Plus adoption rate below 35 percent. The country has a lower 71/29 split, perhaps related to competition from Samsung’s Galaxy Series and LG’s G3 phone in the large-screen market or simply due to customer preference for other reasons.

The split between iPhone 6 and 6 Plus may still be artificially constrained due to continuing shortages of the larger iPhone 6 Plus, but AppLovin’s data offers an interesting glimpse of screen size preferences around the world. The ratio also varies significantly by data source, with a recent survey putting the U.S. ratio at 3:1 in favor of the iPhone 6 over the first four weeks of availability while AppLovin’s data points to a 5:1 split.

As discussed by Apple’s iPhone marketing chief Greg Joswiak at the Code Conference last month, the true ratio of demand won’t be known until supply shortages are alleviated, but he did acknowledge that the ratio varies from country to country with Asian customers typically proving more likely to prefer larger screens, an observation supported by AppLovin’s data.

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