The firm behind PlayOn, the popular online video streaming service, announced its new PlayLater service. PlayLater allows users to record streaming video from nearly any website — including popular cable programs such shows from TBS, CBS, Adult Swim, and more — for watching at a later time. Its offline cachine features means you can store the video for watching even when a connection isn’t available, too. It’s exactly like a DVR, which means you can choose what you want the software to record, and simply forget about it until later. PlayLater is supported on PCs, and recorded content can also be watched on mobile devices such as the iPhone or iPad. Early beta users will receive a free one-month trial of PlayLater, after which it will cost $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year. Hit the jump for the full announcement, as well as a chance to be one of the first 5,000 users in the early beta. More →
Best Buy announced “Music Cloud” on Wednesday, a new service that will compete directly with other cloud-based music services from Apple, Amazon, and Google. Best Buy Music Cloud is powered by Play Anywhere and, after a quick sign-up process, users can download the application to their Mac or PC, as well as to an iPhone, Android device or BlackBerry. Once the respective applications are installed, Music Cloud allows you to stream tunes or cache them for offline playback. The free package allows access to the Best Buy Web player only, so you’ll need to cough up $4 per month for the premium package to access your tunes wherever you go. More →
A lawsuit has been filed against Apple, Pandora, and The Weather Channel in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico that alleges Apple “intentionally [intercepts] personally identifying information.” The plaintiff, Lymaris M. Rivera Diaz, is charging Apple with unfair trade practices, abuse and fraud, and he believes that Apple shares the iPhone’s unique ID, as well as personal location information, with third party developers such as The Weather Channel and Pandora. Apple’s vice president of software technology, Bud Tribble, testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law on Tuesday, and said “Apple does not track users’ locations,” and that the Cupertino-based company has no plans to do so. This is the second lawsuit filed against Apple in regards to the location tracking scandal; The first was filed in Tampa, Florida late last month. More →
Google and Apple testified before the Senate on Tuesday, where both firms were grilled on collecting location information from mobile phones. During the hearing, Senator Al Franken was particularly vocal on the issue. “My wireless companies, Apple and Google, and my apps, all get my location or something very close to it,” Senator Franken said. “We need to address this issue now, as mobile devices are only going to get more popular.” We covered Apple’s response on Tuesday, during which Apple’s vice president of software technology, Bud Tribble, said that “Apple does not track users’ locations,” and that the firm never plans to do so. However, Franken was also concerned that Apple and Google have done little to police third-party applications that are collecting and transmitting location data, and suggested that both companies require developers to alert users of their specific privacy policies. Trimble said Apple already does this, but it has never tossed an application for violating that rule. Google’s director of public policy, Alan Davidson, said Google would consider adding the option. According to The Wall Street Journal, Jessica Rich, the deputy director of the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer-protection bureau said that, despite both firms saying they don’t collect user data, “there’s a lot [the FTC] can do… to challenge,” those claims. More →
While testifying before the U.S. Congress today, Apple’s vice president of software technology, Bud Tribble, tried to clarify concerns that Apple had been tracking owners of its iPhone and iPad Wi-Fi + 3G. Apple has said in the past that it does not track its users and it also recently issued iOS 4.3.3, which reduces and encrypts the crowd-sourced location database cache, but Tribble explained the story in a bit more detail:
We do not share customer information with third parties without our customers’ explicit consent. Apple does not track users’ locations. Apple has never done so and has no plans to do so. An Apple device does not send to Apply any specific information associated with a user. The purpose of the cache is to allow the device to more quickly and reliably respond to location requests. Apple was never tracking an individual user’s location. The data seen on the iPhone was not the location past or present of the iPhone, but the location of cell towers surrounding the phone. Although the cache was not encrypted, it was protected from other apps on the phone.
According to 9to5 Mac, Tribble also explained to the U.S. Congress that, as we know, the iPhone and 3G iPad are able to determine a user’s location using triangulation between nearby Wi-Fi hotspots or cell phone towers. More →
One of our Apple sources has just informed us that Apple isn’t wasting anytime fixing the infamous location tracking issue in the iPhone and other iOS devices — it’s going to be addressed in an update within the next two weeks, possibly sooner, in iOS version 4.3.3. We’ve been sent the OS and while we haven’t loaded it on our iPhone just yet, here is what we have been told it will address:
- The update will no longer back up the location database to iTunes.
- The size of the location database will be reduced.
- The location database will be deleted entirely when Location Services are turned off.
- Battery life improvements.
- iPod bug fixes.
That’s all we have for now but stay tuned for more!