Friday, May 23, 2014

Apple’s CarPlay to Hitch iPhone to Autos

Apple CarPlay
In this photo taken Wednesday, May 14, 2014, Ted Cardenas, a marketing
VP with Pioneer Electronics, demonstrates the new Apple CarPlay powered 
by Pioneer, in San Francisco. Utilizing large, in-dash Pioneer LCD displays, 
CarPlay, featuring Siri voice control, gives iPhone users the features while 
allowing them to stay focused on the road.

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

PALACE NEWS (PMG)-Apple is getting ready to hitch the iPhone to cars in a mobile marriage of convenience.

The ambitious project, called CarPlay, implants some of the iPhone's main applications in automobiles so drivers can control them with voice commands, a touch on the steering wheel or a swipe on a display screen in the dashboard.

It's expected to be available this summer when Pioneer Electronics plans to release a software update for five car radios designed to work with the iPhone. Alpine Electronics also is working on CarPlay-compatible radios for cars already on the road. Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Ferrari are among those expected to start selling car models with built-in CarPlay services this year.

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Google Inc. is working with car makers to do something similar with smartphones running its Android operating system, but Apple Inc. appears to be further along in efforts to make it easier and safer to text, email, get directions, select music and, yes, even make calls while driving.

I recently checked out a test version of CarPlay in a van equipped with a Pioneer radio designed to work with the iPhone.

The demonstration through the streets of San Francisco convinced me that Apple is on the right track. The CarPlay system is bound to appeal to iPhone fans who spend a lot of time behind the wheel. It makes less sense for iPhone owners who, like me, spend more of their time walking and riding public transportation instead of driving.

If you want CarPlay, you will need an iPhone 5, 5s or 5c. An iPad won't work. The phones also must be running Apple's latest software, iOS 7.1. Free upgrades are available for older phones.

If you already have one of Pioneer's five compatible radios, a free firmware update is all you'll need.
Otherwise, CarPlay's biggest drawback is the cost. If you want it in a car you already own, compatible radios from Pioneer sell for $700 to $1,400. After factoring in other required parts and labor, figure on spending $900 to $1,000 just to get Pioneer's least-expensive CarPlay system in your vehicle. That's more than the price of a new iPhone, but cheaper than buying a new car with CarPlay built in.

Pioneer's top-of-the-line CarPlay radio features a 7-inch screen that shows the iPhone apps for calls, contacts, music, maps and messaging when the device is plugged in with a cable.

Other mobile music apps, including Spotify, Beats Music and iHeartRadio, are supposed to be eventually available on CarPlay, too. Facebook, YouTube and other apps that show a lot of photos and video won't be available for safety and legal reasons.

The key to CarPlay's success may hinge on Siri, the iPhone's digital personal assistant. Apple has been striving to make Siri smarter and more versatile, an endeavor that CarPlay figures to put to the test.

Siri serves as CarPlay's central nervous system, doing everything from taking email dictation, reading incoming text messages out load, and scrolling through the system for song requests or different genres of 
music. Summoning Siri can be done by touching a button on the steering wheel or CarPlay's display screen.
While CarPlay also responds to touch, the system is at its best when Siri is doing most of the work. I got only a half-hour demo of CarPlay, too little time to determine whether Siri will be up to the job.

Within minutes of getting in the car, Siri couldn't retrieve the correct address for a requested restaurant in San Francisco. Instead, CarPlay listed several other places with the same name, so Siri apparently at least heard the request correctly. The omission of the requested restaurant may have reflected shortcomings in Apple's database of local businesses.


Beyond that, Siri performed flawlessly reading back incoming texts, composing and sending emails and playing the role of disc jockey when asked to play the music of specific artists such as AC/DC. It took only a few seconds before "Back in Black" blasted through the stereo. Even a question about Arnold Schwarzenegger, a name that can be difficult to decipher, didn't stump Siri.

If Siri is able to consistently handle those kinds of challenges, then CarPlay could make the iPhone an even more indispensable mobile device.


News: Donald Sterling Bids Farewell To Clippers

by Cyrus Langhorne
After hinting at a possible never-ending battle to retain his Los Angeles Clippers franchise, new reports claim ousted NBA owner Donald Sterling is handing over the star-studded team to his wife. #GiveItUp
According to reports, Sterling's wife will now take control of the team's publicized sale.
Donald Sterling, banned for life from the NBA for taped racist comments, has handed over control of the Los Angeles Clippers to his wife, according to media reports on Friday. Celebrity website TMZ, citing unnamed sources, reported that Sterling transferred control of the team to his estranged wife, Shelly, and she is negotiating with the NBA to sell the Clippers on her terms. ABC News also reported the change of control, citing a source close to the team. (Chicago Tribune)
Earlier this month, Sterling publicly apologized to his Clippers franchise and anyone offended by his now-infamous leaked phone recording.
In an interview with CNN that will air Monday night, the shamed Los Angeles Clippers owner apologized for the racist remarks that led to his lifetime ban from the NBA. But Sterling, who had dragged Magic Johnson into this mess by telling his associate, V. Stiviano, on the revealed audiotapes that he didn't approve of her posting pictures with the Los Angeles Lakers legend online, also said in the CNN interview that he didn't he didn't think Johnson was a "good example for the children of Los Angeles," in how he contracted HIV. (USA Today)
Recently, Houston rap veteran Scarface said Sterling should feel no urge to openly apologize for his leaked audio recording.
"I don't feel like he should apologize. Why should he? I don't apologize. Why should he? Why would he? For what? Ain't no--Sorry for what? Sorry for what? What you sorry about? 'I'm sorry because I don't like black people.' No sir. Why you sorry about that?" (AHH)
Prior to Face Mob's remarks, Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz said he believed everyone had made controversial comments in private but acknowledged Sterling messed up by getting caught.
"I just think it's a crazy situation. For me, period, I feel like some of us assume people in certain positions have this mind frame, or at least I do, without actually having to hear it but when you hear the confirmation, it makes you feel a certain way. But my whole opinion, I'm sure a few of us in here have said a few things to our friends whether playing or serious that we're glad weren't recorded and given to TMZ. ... At the end of the day, he f*cked up." ("Chelsea Lately")

Indies Blast YouTube’s ‘Unnecessary & Indefensible’ Tactics as Streaming Service Readies

The independent music community is getting ready to rumble with YouTube after the Internet giant was accused of using bully tactics to sign-up indies for its long-rumored streaming music service.

The Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) has said its members have been threatened with having their videos blocked from the user-generated Web platform unless they agree to terms for YouTube’s new streaming music business. And those terms, apparently, aren't great.

Sources close to the situation say YouTube is attempting to low-ball indie labels with non-negotiable contracts which offer royalties and conditions so low that the very business of the labels in question would be in jeopardy.

WIN has issued an explosive statement in which it describes YouTube’s approach as “unnecessary and indefensible.” The trade body says it has had "extensive" talks this week with the multi-billion dollar tech giant, but there's been no breakthrough.

WIN, established in 2006 to represent the global independent industry, explains YouTube's contracts presented to indie labels are on “highly unfavorable,” and on “non-negotiable terms,” and the deals on the table “undervalue existing rates in the marketplace from existing music streaming partners such as Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and others.” 

WIN claims YouTube is approaching independent labels directly with a "template contract” and an “explicit threat that their content will be blocked on the platform if it is not signed.” Under contracts that its parent company Google signed a year ago with major labels, YouTube already has the necessary licenses with Universal, Sony Music and Warner Muic to operate a paid music service similar to Spotify or Rhapsody.

“This is not a fair way to do business,” comments Alison Wenham, CEO of WIN and chairman of AIM (Association of Independent Music). “WIN questions any actions by any organization that would seek to injure and punish innocent labels and musicians — and their innocent fans— in order to pursue its ambitions. We believe, as such, that these actions are unnecessary and indefensible, not to mention commercially questionable and potentially damaging to YouTube itself, given the harm likely to result from this approach.”
Though nothing has yet been made official, YouTube’s music subscription service is said to be gearing up for a summer launch through Google's Music Pass on Android. The New York Post reported YouTube's Music Pass will "likely" charge $5 for the ad-supported tier and $10 for its ad-free service. 

Billboard reached out to YouTube for comment and received the following statement from YouTube: "YouTube provides a global platform for artists to connect with fans and generate revenue for their music. 

We have successful deals in place with hundreds of independent and major labels around the world, however we don't comment on ongoing negotiations."

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London-based Wenham is calling on YouTube to work with WIN’s members to reach an agreement that is “fair and equitable for all independent labels.”

YouTube originally planned to launch its on-demand music streaming service late last year. Those plans slipped because of a desire to "get it right," an executive briefed on YouTube's plans told Billboard last month.