Scan Spotify Codes to play songs instantly

Sharing songs with your buddies while on the go has typically been a hassle, with weird Shazam-style workarounds to get a song from one phone to another. It looks like Spotify knows this, too, as it’s rolling out a new feature to use Snapchat-style codes that will let you grab a photo of your friend’s screen to grab the song they want to share with you. We’ve confirmed the new feature in the Spotify app, though there’s been no official word yet.

Photo of an iPhone showing a Spotify code for a song.

To pull up a Spotify Code, you just toggle the Share function with a tap on the three dots to the right of your screen when playing a song. Hit Share and you’ll see the code (which looks like an audio waveform) just under the album image at the top of your screen. To grab the track, your friend just needs to tap the camera icon to the right of the Search bar in their Spotify app and aim their phone at your screen. The captured song will start playing right away.

Snapchat, of course, has a similar system that lets potential chatters grab each other’s contact details with a simple photo of their Snapcode, which looks more like an old-school QR code than the Spotify one does. We can’t wait to start using the new Spotify codes, though: we love anything that makes sharing obscure indie songs and deep house tracks simpler.

Via: TechCrunch

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Apple TV will reportedly get Amazon’s Video app this summer

The squabbling between Amazon and Apple might soon be over — at least, on the TV front. Amazon’s Video app might finally be heading to the Apple TV this summer, giving consumers an easy way to watch Amazon’s streaming content on the set-top box, Recode reports. Up until now, you were forced to use AirPlay to send Amazon’s streaming video titles to the Apple TV. That’s been one of the Apple TV’s biggest downsides since it debuted in 2015, together with a lack of 4K support.

The deal between Apple and Amazon might also lead to other changes. Amazon, for example, stopped selling the Apple TV in 2015 because it didn’t support its Prime Video service. That likely made a big dent in sales for Apple, especially as newer devices from Roku hit the market with 4K support. If Apple actually plans to release a newer 4K Apple TV this year, as rumors suggest, then landing back on Amazon would be essential.

At this point, it’s unclear if anything will change for Amazon’s Video apps on iOS. You can currently use them to watch Amazon Prime videos, as well as things you’ve already rented or purchased, but you can’t actually make those transactions within the app. That’s similar to how Amazon handles digital purchases on its Kindle and Comixology iOS apps. By forgoing in-app purchases on Apple’s ecosystem, Amazon avoids having to give the iPhone maker a cut of the revenue.

Source: Recode

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Splitting up with Apple is a chipmaker’s nightmare

Apple is such a powerful company that, for third-party suppliers, it’s hard not to become reliant on the cash that it pays you. But when Apple says that it’s done, choosing to move whatever technology you provide in house, the results can be really painful.

Imagination Technologies is one such supplier, famously designing the iPhone’s PowerVR graphics as well as pushing MIPS, a rival to ARM. But back in March, Imagination publicly announced that Apple was ditching it in favor of its own graphics silicon.

Now, Imagination has revealed that it’s going to take Apple to dispute resolution, maintaining that the iPhone maker used Imagination’s IP without permission. It’s the second chipmaker in recent months who believes Apple isn’t playing fair, with Qualcomm counter-suing Apple in its own licensing dispute.

Secondly, Imagination is going to have to sell off MIPS and Ensigma, two parts of its business that aren’t as profitable as PowerVR. Gamers with long memories will remember that MIPS designed the CPUs that lurked inside the PlayStation, PS2 and Nintendo 64. Imagination bought the company in 2013 in an attempt to turn the company into a mobile chip rival to ARM.

But since ARM chips are now the world’s “most used consumer product,” MIPS never stood a chance of competing. As a consequence, the technology remained vital only in the embedded device markets such as set-top boxes, routers and automotive systems.

MIPS was also pushed to hobbyists under the Creator platform, which Imagination described as a “Raspberry Pi, on steroids.” When MIPS is sold, however, it’s possible that any attempts to sell MIPS to hobbyists will be put on ice.

Then there’s the fact that PowerVR’s graphics have been slowly ditched by other members of the mobile industry in favor of ARM’s Mali alternative. As a consequence, Imagination began pushing PowerVR to budget smartphone suppliers, like MediaTek.

The decision to go public with the news was extraordinary, since Apple’s partners are often subject to the same vows of corporate silence Apple itself observes. But it also heralded doom for a small British company that had been involved with Apple since the iPod and, for too long, relied on those licensing dollars for the bulk of its profit.

It’s likely then that, if Imagination survives, you’ll see PowerVR go from a premium brand to one attached to $ 50 and $ 100 devices. The company will also serve as a reminder that, if you get too deeply involved with Apple, there’s always the risk that the party will end.

Source: Imagination Technologies

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Qualcomm might try to block iPhone shipments over royalty dispute

The Qualcomm vs. Apple licensing squabble had already gotten messy with lawsuits flying in both directions, but a report by Bloomberg says things could go to the next level soon. That’s because according to sources, Qualcomm plans to ask the ITC to block Apple from importing its phones from where they’re built in Asia to the US, ahead of new devices that we’re anticipating in the fall. We don’t know if it could be successful, although Qualcomm holds a number of patents in the space and Apple stopped making payments while the dispute is ongoing.

Qualcomm has cut its revenue outlook by $ 500 million because of the anticipated lack of licensing fees, so this is no small matter. It claims its patented technology is crucial to the iPhone even as it’s being manufactured by someone else, while Apple disagrees. We don’t know if there’s any chance the ITC will side with Qualcomm and actually ban any devices, but the threat puts billions of dollars in iPhone sales at risk.

Source: Bloomberg

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The Morning After: Wednesday, May 3rd 2017

Microsoft has announced a new laptop, in addition to a new lighter OS aimed at education (and Chrome OS), all in the middle of the week. YouTube also got a makeover, and we take a look at the most notable VR submissions at this year’s Tribeca festival.


There aren’t any special hinges or kickstands this time.
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop is built to beat Apple’s MacBooks

Microsoft has always tried to do something different with its hardware. The Surface and Surface Pro helped popularize the idea of hybrid laptops that could also be used as tablets. The Surface Book took that idea a step further with a bigger screen, a unique hinge and more powerful hardware. But with the Surface Laptop, it’s almost as if Microsoft is going back to basics. It’s basically a straightforward notebook, albeit one with the Microsoft’s slick Surface aesthetic. Most importantly, it’s the flagship device for Windows 10 S, Microsoft’s new streamlined OS targeted at the education market. Similar to ChromeOS, it’s meant mainly for web apps and software from the Microsoft Store, with an emphasis on security and battery life. The Surface Laptop launches on June 15th starting at $ 999 for the Core i5 model.


Eye-catching mouse design is back.
Microsoft’s lie-flat Surface Arc mouse is a new take on an old formula

The Surface Arc Mouse is an evolution of the well-established Arc Touch Mouse . While the new Bluetooth peripheral still has that eye-catching, travel-friendly design that snaps flat for stowing in your bag, there aren’t any distinct left and right buttons, or even a scroll strip. Instead, a touch-sensitive button handles all of that.


It trades app support in the name of security and performance.
Microsoft takes on Chrome OS with Windows 10 S

Microsoft has already taken some potshots at Google’s Chromebooks in the past — Windows 8.1 with Bing, anyone? Now, though, it’s going for the jugular. The newly introduced Windows 10 S (not Cloud like the rumors suggested) is a stripped-back, education-oriented version of the operating system that gives up some app support in the name of simplicity and performance. You can only run Windows Store apps (including Office 365 apps, which are coming soon), but that’s the point — schools don’t have to worry about the vulnerabilities that come with running any old Windows app. All in time for a big Minecraft Education Edition upgrade.


And we’re finally getting a “dark mode.”
YouTube’s latest redesign puts added focus on videos

Approximately 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Soon, its desktop website will be getting a makeover to make combing through all those cute cat clips a bit easier. Google is refreshing the look of its desktop site by applying its material design aesthetic to the site, basically flattening the UI. “We want to make content the star,” Fred Gilbert, Head of User Experience at YouTube, said during a recent interview. “Everything else should recede from that.”


But the Mac is up again!
iPhone sales continue their slow and steady slide

Apple couldn’t quite keep iPhone sales growing for the second quarter in a row. The company sold 50.8 million iPhones in the last quarter, down a scant one percent from the 51.2 million it sold a year ago. It’s worth remembering that last year marked the first quarter where iPhone sales didn’t grow year-over-year, so this decline isn’t exactly a surprise. Meanwhile, in the “other products” business, which includes the Apple Watch and Apple TV, revenue jumped a whopping 31 percent. Perhaps Apple’s wearable is doing better than people give it credit for. Indeed, Cook said on Apple’s earnings call that Watch sales nearly doubled year-over-year in the last quarter.


Chet Faliszek, who also worked on Steam VR, has left.
Valve has no more ‘Half-Life’ writers left

Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw, co-writers on Half-Life 2: Episode One and Episode Two, stuck around after Half-Life writing lead Marc Laidlaw’s departure from Valve last year. But not for long. Wolpaw departed Valve in February, and Faliszek has now also left the company. Faliszek was also key part of Valve’s push into virtual reality, from the early days of secret testing at the company’s Bellevue headquarters through to the public launch of the HTC Vive.


The Aura H2O can survive your next beach trip.
Kobo’s latest waterproof e-reader is sized for poolside reading

Kobo’s recent Aura One e-reader was potentially the dream device for anyone who likes to read in the bath or at the beach, but it had some catches. It was big, with a 7.8-inch screen, and came with a $ 229 price tag. Enter the just-introduced Aura H2O — just as waterproof, but shrunken down to a 6.8-inch touchscreen, while an accompanying tinier $ 180 price.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Republican Senators outline anti-net neutrality legislation
  • T-Mobile plans to launch a national 5G network by 2020
  • VR is telling deeper, more important stories

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iPhone sales continue their slow and steady slide

Apple just released earnings details for the last quarter, and the company couldn’t quite keep iPhone sales growing for the second quarter in a row. The company sold 50.8 million iPhones in the last quarter, down a scant one percent from the 51.2 million it sold a year ago. It’s worth remembering that last year marked the first quarter where iPhone sales didn’t grow year-over-year, so this decline isn’t exactly a surprise. The iPhone 7 briefly managed to turn things around last quarter, but we’re now back to seeing sales decline, albeit very slightly.

Despite the iPhone slide, Apple’s revenue increased to $ 52.9 billion on the quarter, up five percent year-over-year. Some of that could be due to the Mac — Apple sold 4.2 million Macs in the quarter, a four percent increase over a year ago. That marks the second consecutive quarter of Mac growth, despite the grumbling coming from both fans and press about the lack of updates Apple’s computers have received in recent years.

Apple’s third major product category, the iPad, once again failed to turn around sales that have slumped for more than three years now. The company sold 8.9 million tablets, down nine percent from the 10.25 million it sold a year ago. But Apple’s services business keeps growing — revenues of $ 7.04 billion marked an 18 percent increase year-over-year. CEO Tim Cook said that App Store revenue grew 40 percent year-over-year and hit a quarterly high, and Apple Music also hit double-digit growth.

And the “other products” business, which includes the Apple Watch and Apple TV, jumped up a whopping 31 percent. Perhaps Apple’s wearable is doing better than people give it credit for. Indeed, Cook said on Apple’s earnings call that Watch sales nearly doubled year-over-year in the last quarter.

But things are likely not going to get any easier on the iPhone front for Apple any time soon. The company’s biggest rival Samsung just launched the Galaxy S8, a phone that gives Samsung a significant edge over what Apple currently offers. Naturally, loyal Apple fans aren’t going to be abandoning the ecosystem any time soon (and that growing services revenue is good evidence of their loyalty), but Samsung now likely has until September at least to press its advantage.

Source: Apple

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How to be a human being in the comments: A refresher

So it has been a long time since we last posted comments guidelines and standards. To put it in perspective, the last time we talked comments with y’all, the iPhone 5 hadn’t been released, Android fans were using Jelly Bean and Facebook had just gone public. A lot can change in the course of nearly five years, but one thing that’s remained constant is our dedication to our readers. To that end, we wanted to take a minute to answer some questions, explain some features and, frankly, lay down the law when it comes to the comments section and our social channels. Pull up a chair and read on to find out what you need to know about Engadget’s comments and community.

Why do we have a comments section?

Comments sections get a bad rap: Everyone is familiar with the adage “Don’t read the comments,” and that didn’t become a common refrain because comments sections are full of hugs and puppies. Even so, there are some genuinely interesting conversations happening in our comments section, from personal experiences with gadgets to incredibly technical explanations of hardware, and we’re often impressed by what you have to say.

We have a comments section because we sincerely enjoy having a place for our readers to discuss the articles we write — and our readers often provide us with insights that add to the story, shed light on new angles or help us update the facts in the post. Many of rely on the comments for additional information and alternative opinions, all while many other publications have opted to shutter their comments sections (or just use Facebook). We’ve kept ours open because it’s valuable to you as readers, which makes it important for us too.

While the rules of internet interactions naturally vary from one website to another (and in some cases are unclear), we took the time to rethink our guidelines and have laid out a detailed policy on what does and doesn’t fly here.

Commenting basics: features and functions

First, a few technical details. While the basics of logging in and posting a comment are largely the same as they’ve always been, there are a few handy features in our current system that are worth highlighting.

Editing and deleting. The options to edit or delete your comment can be found in a drop-down menu; the arrow for the drop-down menu appears when you mouse over the upper-right area of your comment. (Mousing over the upper-right of someone else’s comment will allow you to report that comment; more on that below.)

All links require approval. This means that any comment containing a URL will be held in “pending” until it has been approved by a moderator. Moderators will refuse comments with links that are broken or that direct to spammy or inappropriate content. We know the delay in approving comments with links isn’t ideal, but it helps keep a large amount of spam from getting through. Also, please don’t resubmit a link over and over again; each one will still wind up in pending.

Banned words. We have a list of banned words that will automatically remove a comment. No, you cannot see this list — but we will tell you that it largely consists of insults, swears and name-calling-type stuff. Any comment with an f-bomb is going to get pulled (no matter how you spell it), but we’re pretty lax about the other “blue” words as long as you’re not swearing at somebody.

Notifications. If you do not want to get an email notification when other commenters like your comment, reply to your comments or mention (@) you, you can disable all of that in your profile settings. (You can access settings by clicking your username next to the alert bell.)

Commenting basics: behavior

There is pretty much one golden rule here, and it’s “don’t be a jerk.” Please, don’t be rude or mean or nasty. We appreciate that you care about these topics and our stories (hey, we care too). But no matter how fired up the discussion, please be civil.

Don’t jump down people’s throat because they made a mistake or disagree with you. Don’t be insulting. Don’t call people names. Don’t make personal attacks. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Try not to jump to conclusions or make assumptions. Have some patience and compassion; everyone comes here to be a part of the community. No one comes here to be ridiculed or belittled. Treat your fellow community members and the Engadget staff with respect. Be nice, and if you can’t be nice, then at least be tolerant.

There’s a comment that is offensive. What can I do?

Please report it! The “report” button can be found on any comment by mousing over the upper-right corner of that comment; a drop-down arrow will appear, and from there you can select the “report” button to alert our staff. (We don’t currently have tools for community moderators, but we haven’t ruled out the idea.)

Every comment that’s reported to us is vetted by moderators; we delete those that we deem inappropriate or feel are in violation of our guidelines. Rest assured, we will not delete comments just because they’re argumentative or because someone has a different opinion than you. For more details on why comments get deleted, see the list below.

There’s a problem with the article

Every single writer and editor for Engadget does their best to produce stories that are clearly written, concise and informative, not to mention error free. However, every writer and editor at Engadget is also a fallible human being capable of making the occasional misstep. If you see a mistake in an article, be it a typo, an imprecise technical detail or a broken link, please do us a solid and let us know (because we’d obviously like to fix it!). You can holler at us by adding #articleerror to your comment, which will flag your comment for our moderators.

There’s a problem with the comments section

If, however, you are experiencing a problem with the comments system or functionality itself, then please let us know by emailing us with as much detail as possible at commentsupport@engadget.com, so we can alert the developers.

Comment deletion

We prefer to keep a light hand when moderating, but there are still several reasons we might remove your comment. Here are some of the most common reasons for deletion.

  • Spam of any kind (human or robot) is always deleted. Trying to sell something in the comments, pitching us about your product or repeatedly posting discount links and referral codes all count as spam. Posting the same comment over and over again also constitutes spamming.
  • We don’t currently ban all swearing by default, but all f-bombs are going to get caught automatically by the banned-words filter. Profanity directed at another person — be it a commenter or staff member — will pretty much always be deleted.
  • Comments that are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic or otherwise hateful will be removed. Suggestions that someone is mentally ill, disturbed or should “take their meds” will be removed. (Let’s just assume everyone’s already taken their meds, OK?)
  • Any comment that contains a threat, that threatens violence or that encourages self-harm or violence toward someone will be deleted. Comments that threaten other commenters or staff members will result in that member being banned from the community.
  • Name-calling. Perhaps unsurprisingly, name-calling in a comments thread does not encourage a positive response. You should be able to have a conversation without resorting to name-calling — and that includes Engadget’s writers and staff members. Our banned-words filter will automatically pull comments with a variety of ruder terms, so keep it classy.
  • You’re just slagging on us. If all you have to contribute to the conversation is how much we suck, are biased, don’t deserve our jobs, can’t perform our jobs, are shills and/or have been bought out by Apple/Samsung/Microsoft/Google, then don’t be shocked if your comment disappears (or, in extreme cases, if you are banned altogether). We’re perfectly willing to hear constructive criticism, but we are also under no obligation to let you insult us without merit.
  • Comments that are unnecessarily political, polarizing or incendiary are at risk for removal. Please don’t jump into a thread just to say things to incite other people or tick them off; that’s pretty trolly (and boring). Please don’t make generalizations or stereotypes to draw conclusions about another commenter (i.e., “all you millennials/liberals/Trump voters”).
  • We reserve the right to delete comments that are off topic. This includes comments that complain about comments being closed on another story; hijacking the thread to a different article only reinforces the feeling that we were right to keep comments closed on the initial article.

In short, we want the comments section to be like an interesting conversation happening in a college classroom: thoughtful, respectful, insightful, funny and interesting. What we don’t want is a comments section that’s like a fight on a kindergarten playground: pushy, mean, spiteful and requiring adult intervention.

We want our comments section to be a place where our readers and staff can interact civilly, learn from one another and participate in an awesome community. And as much as we know some of you like to break out the popcorn and watch the fanboy fights, that’s not really the kind of community we’re looking to host.

Articles without comments

Here’s the real deal, straight up: We are not required to have a comments section on Engadget. Likewise, we’re not obligated to have comments open on every article. While we strongly prefer to give the benefit of the doubt and leave comments open on all stories, there are going to be some instances where it makes more sense to leave comments closed.

Our desire to leave comments open comes down to a number of factors, including the proportion of comments that have violated our rules or guidelines, how many moderators are available and how contentious the comments section has gotten on articles on similar topics. A closed comments section is not an invitation to call us names, hijack other threads or otherwise pout about it. We don’t want to close comments and will only do so when absolutely necessary. Please respect that and know that the best way to make sure comments sections stay open is to treat one another respectfully and follow our guidelines.

“This is just censorship and you’re afraid of hearing feedback”

This is a common complaint we hear when we delete comments or close comments sections. And to this we have to say: Nah, man. Let’s be clear about this: Commenting on our site is not a right of law passed down to you in the Constitution, and Engadget’s comments section is not an open forum where you can say whatever you please. Engadget is a news site and a business, which along with its parent company, AOL, allows commenting in order to further the discussion, engage our readers and let interested parties have a good time. Commenting here is a privilege, not a right, and if you must be nasty, well, then … it’s a big internet and you can do that on your own website. And to be frank, if we really didn’t want to hear feedback from our readers, we wouldn’t have a comments section at all.

Banning

If you create a user history of trolling, harassment or offensive behavior, or if you only visit our comments section to act like a total jerk, congratulations! You will get banned. That means your user name, email and potentially IP address will all be barred from our system and you will no longer be able to comment.

What do we mean by “trolling, harassment or offensive behavior”? Hate speech of any kind is always unacceptable. If you just dropped by to say something nasty concerning someone’s race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability or age, don’t be surprised when you find your privileges revoked. If your only purpose in life is to comment on all of our articles to tell us how much we suck and deserve to be fired, then bye, Felicia. If you can’t seem to have a discussion without attacking another commenter, using insults, calling people names or cursing at someone, then you’re outta here. If at any point you threaten another user or an editor with any form of physical violence or encourage them to commit acts of self-harm, you are no longer welcome here.

In conclusion

We know that the comments section has been through a lot of bumps and bruises over the past few years, and we’re dedicated to making upgrades and changes that will improve the experience for all of our users. You can help make the comments a better place by observing our guidelines and reporting comments that show disregard for our community. We don’t want Engadget to be just another site where people “don’t read the comments” — we want the comments to be a reason to come to Engadget.
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