Amazon recently said Apple Music would find its way onto Amazon Echo devices sometime soon — and sure enough, it appears to be rolling out now.
To make Alexa work with Apple’s streaming service, you should just have to jump into the newly updated iOS/Android Alexa app and link up your account. You can find the option under Settings > Music.
Once done, commands like “Alexa, play music by Halsey on Apple Music” should work. Or, if you don’t want to have to say the “… on Apple Music” bit every time, you can just set Apple Music as the default service. If you don’t have a specific artist in mind, you an also request playlists or genres.
One catch: as 9to5mac points out, it appears this currently only works with Amazon Echo speakers, and not yet with third-party speakers (like the Sonos ONE or Polk’s Audio Command sounder) that happen to have Alexa-support built in.
Not a fan of Apple’s offering? Alexa also works with Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Deezer and Amazon’s own Music service.
Using Google devices, rather than Amazon’s? Alas, still no word on if/when proper Apple Music support might come to Google Home.
If your luck is anything like mine, as soon as you jump on an important …
Airbnb really wants to shut down parties in its rentals. On Tuesday, the company announced the deployment of “anti-party tools” that it claims will help identify users who are likely to throw a party and prevent them from renting a property.
Airbnb is launching the tools in the US and Canada, it said. The tools use an algorithm that flags “potentially high-risk reservations” by looking at user characteristics like “history of positive reviews (or lack of positive reviews), length of time the guest has been on Airbnb, length of the trip, distance to the listing, weekend vs. weekday, among many others.”
“This anti-party technology is designed to prevent a reservation attempt from going through,” Airbnb said. “Guests who are unable to make entire home bookings due to this system will still be able to book a private room (where the Host is more likely to be physically on site) or a hotel room through Airbnb.”
Airbnb has earned scorn and even lawsuits due to hosting sites with a reputation for turning into large gatherings that range from annoyingly loud to destructive. Some of these parties have even culminated in deadly violence. The latter includes a widely publicized 2019 shooting at an Airbnb party in Orinda, California, that left five dead.
Later that year, Airbnb banned properties meant for parties. In 2020, it announced age-based restrictions that prevented people under 25 from renting local homes unless they had at least three positive and zero negative reviews or planned a long-term stay.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbnb issued a temporary ban on parties at rental properties but made the ban permanent on June 28, citing “feedback from the longstanding and trusted members of our global Host community.”
Airbnb hasn’t directly pointed to shootings on Airbnb properties as the reason for its war on parties. Instead, it referenced “a commitment to our Host community—who respect their neighbors and want no part of the property damage and other issues that may come with unauthorized or disruptive parties.”
The company has been piloting the algorithm in Australia since October and claimed that there has been a 35 percent drop in the number of unauthorized parties reported since. The figure shows that Airbnb still has a long way to go before it can guarantee renters won’t throw parties while the host is out of town. And some of the factors Airbnb is relying on may not have any relevance to the potential for partying, depending on the renter.
In June, Airbnb said that it suspended more than 6,600 people from its platform for trying to party.
This story has been updated to correct the location of Orinda, California.
Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and new iPhones in September. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that this year’s iPhone event will be held on Wednesday, September 7th.
According to Gurman, the non-pro iPhone 14 lineup will axe the 5.4-inch mini display size that Apple has sold for the last couple of generations. The standard 6.1-inch model will instead be joined by a large-screened 6.7-inch version, matching the screen size of the current iPhone Pro Max model. But these phones will also continue to use the current Apple A15 Bionic chip and will look externally similar to the iPhone 13.
The iPhone 14 Pro will reportedly be more exciting, replacing the current camera notch with a pair of pinhole cutouts for the front-facing camera and FaceID scanner; many Android phones have already switched to similar pinhole cutouts to save screen space. The Pro phones will also reportedly get a faster chip and an even-larger three-lens camera assembly anchored by a 48-megapixel wide-angle camera plus 12-megapixel ultra-wide and telephoto cameras.
Apple also plans to introduce new Apple Watches, the report says. The Series 8 watches will reportedly include a standard model that looks similar to the current Series 7, plus a long-rumored larger and more “rugged” titanium model with more battery life and additional fitness tracking features.
The basic Apple Watch SE will reportedly receive a faster chip—the current SE uses an Apple S5, and a new one could use an S6, S7, or some newer as-yet unannounced chip. This new SE model will hopefully mean the end of the long-lived Apple Watch Series 3, which the company still sells even though it won’t be receiving the watchOS 9 update this fall.
A September 7th announcement for the new iPhones and watches probably means at least some new devices will be available to buy toward the middle of the month, roughly coinciding with the release of iOS 16—Gurman says that Apple Store employees have been told to prepare for a September 16th launch.
Apple often holds an iPad- and Mac-focused event in October to complement the September event, which is when we’d expect to see updates to those products and the release of macOS Ventura and the reportedly delayed iPadOS 16. Gurman predicts we’ll finally see a USB-C version of the low-end iPad, new M2-based iPad Pros, and updated Mac mini and MacBook Pros before the end of the year.
Apple has released a trio of operating system updates to patch security vulnerabilities that it says “may have been actively exploited.” The macOS 12.5.1, iOS 15.6.1, and iPadOS 15.6.1 updates are available for download now and should be installed as soon as possible.
The three updates all fix the same pair of bugs. One, labeled CVE-2022-32894, is a kernel vulnerability that can allow apps “to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges. The other, CVE-2022-32893, is a WebKit bug that allows for arbitrary code execution via “maliciously crafted web content.” Both discoveries are attributed to an anonymous security researcher. WebKit is used in the Safari browser as well as in apps like Mail that use Apple’s WebViews to render and display content.
Apple didn’t release equivalent security patches for macOS Catalina or Big Sur, two older versions of macOS that are still receiving regular security updates. We’ve contacted Apple to see whether it plans to release these patches for these older OSes, or if they aren’t affected by the bugs and don’t need to be patched.
Apple’s software release notes for the updates don’t reference any other fixes or features. Apple is actively developing iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura, and those updates are due out later this fall.