Taylor forces Apple to listen

Taylor Swift

Apple is not a company famed for listening. After all, it prides itself on knowing what consumers want before they do, so why should it care what they think? All the more surprising then, that it should have listened to one angry customer, a Ms T Swift of Beverly Hills, California.

It helped, of course, that Taylor Swift is probably the biggest name in the recording industry right now. But her more in sorrow than anger Tumblr post about Apple's "shocking, disappointing" plan to pay artists nothing for the first three months of its Apple Music service certainly had an instant impact.

Within hours Apple's Eddy Cue - he of the rather embarrassing dad-dancing sequence at the launch of Apple Music - had reversed the policy. And even more surprisingly, this executive at a company which has until recently been very shy about using social media took to Twitter to do it.

"#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer's free trial period" said @cue in only the 81st Tweet he had ever sent.(Presumably more than one artist will benefit.) Warming to his theme he fired out his 82nd: "We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple".

Now, cynics may say that Apple listened to Taylor Swift, after ignoring the plight of thousands of those indie artists. They had been making a fuss ever since it emerged that during the three-month free trial period of Apple Music they would get nothing.

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Google's Schmidt - Apple is wrong about our privacy

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt in March

The two giants of the tech world, Google and Apple, are battling over where we spend our time online - and Apple maintains it has a key advantage, privacy.

The company which makes huge sums from selling us hardware maintains it is far more careful with our data than Google, whose profits are based on giving advertisers detailed knowledge of our habits. But now Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt has fired back.

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At E3, virtual becomes real

In the past few days I've taken part in a London jewel raid, and ended up in a shootout with my fellow conspirators.

I've stood on the bridge of an American battleship, trying to decide whether a small boat a mile or so away is occupied by pirates and if so what action I should take. And I have watched as an entire world in toy bricks animate suddenly upon a coffee table.

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The search for a rival to Google

Magnifying glass on computer keyboard

For more than a decade, internet search and Google have been synonymous.

Yes, there are other search engines but for the majority of internet users, to search is to Google. Now, though, there are signs of a threat to to the Californian firm's hegemony.

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Will Apple Music become number one?

The launch of the Apple Music app follows the firm's $3bn takeover of Jimmy Iovine's Beats

It was in 2003 that Steve Jobs sweet-talked the music labels into signing up to the iTunes Store, kickstarting the industry's digital revolution while beginning the transformation of Apple into far more than a computer firm.

But in recent years it has looked on while others, notably Spotify, took digital music in a new direction.

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EyeWitness app lets smartphones report war crimes

In dangerous places around the world, where soldiers or police officers may be committing human rights abuses, a mobile phone has become a key weapon. In the hands of campaigners and victims of abuse, it can provide valuable video evidence of crimes.

Often, the first we hear of atrocities is when a scratchy video appears on YouTube.

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When Big Data becomes Big Brother

We live in the social mobile era, where we all collect and share vast amounts of data about ourselves and others.

By handing over that data to corporations and governments we are promised great benefits in everything from our health and our wealth to our safety from criminals. But of course there are dangers too and I've been hearing some horror stories about when Big Data becomes Big Brother.

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The government's data law - an attack on encryption?

The Queen

Overdue modernisation of the way the authorities monitor criminals and terrorists - or a Snooper's Charter eroding our basic liberties? The proposal outlined in the Queen's Speech to "modernise the law on communications data" will divide opinion. But prepare for another long battle over the way that law is framed and the balance it strikes between privacy and public safety.

The row over forcing internet service providers (ISPs) to hold on to far more data about their users' online activities has stretched over three parliaments. The idea first came up under the last Labour government, when it was quashed by Conservative and Liberal Democrat opposition. Then it was resurrected by the Coalition, with Theresa May's plans - immediately dubbed the Snooper's Charter - blocked by her Liberal Democrat partners.

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Jony Ive's promotion

Jony Ive

We learn this morning that the man behind the design ideas that made Apple the world's richest company has got a new job. Sir Jonathan - or Jony - Ive has been promoted to Chief Design Officer. Now this will be of huge interest to those Kremlinologists who follow every move at Apple's Cupertino headquarters - but should anyone else care?

Well yes, especially anyone who holds Apple's extremely valuable shares. Many investors have backed the company based on Jony Ive's continuing presence, and there have been hints in recent months that the design guru is tired, and perhaps considering stepping back from frontline duties.

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Will London's mayor put the brakes on Uber?

Uber app on the phone near London black cab

It is the new technology superpower, promising to transform the way we travel and much else, and London is one of its most important bases. But now the car service Uber is at the centre of a major political battle, and the new Conservative government has a tricky choice to make.

London's mayor Boris Johnson, who has until recently been seen by taxi drivers as far too kind to Uber, is now backing new laws which could put a stop to its growth. The newly elected MP for Uxbridge is pushing for the inclusion in next week's Queen's Speech of a proposal to cap the number of minicab licences in London.

Read full article Will London's mayor put the brakes on Uber?