Week in Tech: Apple presses play on Music, but will Microsoft hit pause on Windows Phone?

New York Paris London Munich everybody's talking 'bout – Apple Music

You know something's big when it eclipses Kanye West's Glastonbury impression of a man trapped in a lightbulb factory: yes, we're talking about the launch of Apple Music and Beats 1 Radio, which might just be the future of music. And that's not all. We've heard Mark Zuckerberg explain why Facebook's machines aren't scary and sinister, seen what looks awfully like the iPhone 6S and heard a Microsoft rumour so tasty you might want to lick it like a lollipop. An Android Lollipop. It's week in tech!

Music Non-Stop

It's here and it's pretty good: Apple Music launched this week as a direct competitor to Spotify and Tidal and the other streaming services. But it's not all good. It appears to have killed off the Home Sharing feature for music on iOS devices, it's replaced half of our album art with "random junk that Apple Music has downloaded from the internet" and the catalogue has some notable omissions. Naturally we've identified the five issues Apple Music really needs to fix.

Facebook faces the music

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg delivered a Q&A this week, facing tough questions from celebrities. Yes, we're being a bit sarcastic. Zuck reckons that one day we'll be able to send thoughts to one another, which sounds terrifying, and he explains that Facebook is building AI systems "that are better than humans at our primary senses: vision, listening, etc," including "systems that can recognise everything in an image or a video." That's not terrifying at all. Still, until the machines take over at least Facebook advertisers can make money annoying us with ads in between Facebook videos.

iPhone 6S: the "S" doesn't stand for "secret"

Apple's iPhone 6S has gone into production, and it's believed to have the same Force Touch tech as the Apple Watch and recent MacBooks. It's rumoured to have a massively improved camera too, and if the leaked photos are accurate the differences between it and the iPhone 6 are internal: like other S-version iPhones, it looks almost identical to its predecessor. It doesn't seem to be getting the rumoured dual-lens camera, though: maybe we'll see that in the iPhone 7.

LG G4 S: the "S" stands for "stop making so many G4s"

"There are now more versions of the LG G4 than there are Pokemon," Matt Hanson says. "Having yet another version of the LG G4 seems a little like overkill, and could end up confusing consumers," but it seems that LG is going to carry on regardless. The G4 S will look pretty similar to the LG G4, but it might be a little bit cheaper.

HoloLens: to Infinity and beyond

Fancy playing Disney Infinity in augmented reality? Disney might just make that augmented reality, um, reality. John Vignocchi, VP of production at Disney Interactive, is more excited about AR than VR. "We've had multiple meetings and discussions with Oculus; multiple meetings and discussions with Sony about Morpheus; multiple meetings and discussions with Microsoft about HoloLens. We're very interested in that space," he said.

It's the Amazon Hour of Power!

Next-day delivery is so 2014. This year it's all about one-hour delivery, an idea that older heads will remember as the last big idea of the dotcom boom before the bubble burst and CEOs had to go and live in their cars for a couple of years while angry shareholders hunted them with flaming torches. But it's back. Back! BACK! And this time it's made it as far as London, where Amazon will be offering one-hour delivery to Prime members – albeit only on certain products to a few Prime members in certain postcodes, so it's a bit like a taxi driver who won't go south of the river.

Roam if you want to, roam around the world

The EU, eh? What's it ever done for us? Well, it's just binned international roaming fees, which is pretty good. As of June 15, 2017, roaming fees won't be charged to people travelling within the EU. The only losers here appear to be the mobile phone companies, so don't be entirely surprised if they start demanding we vote to leave in the 2017 referendum.

Meanwhile closer to home, Ofcom has banned the practice of charging for "freephone" 0800 and 0808 numbers from mobiles. Other numbers – starting 084, 087, 118 or 09 – will still be charged, but the costs will be made clear when you call.

Is Microsoft going to grab a Lollipop?

This time last year Microsoft killed Nokia's Android experiments, but it seems that it might be having a change of heart: the tastiest tech rumour doing the rounds this week says Microsoft is seriously considering killing off Windows Phone and embracing Android for its mobile phones. Far-fetched? Maybe, but the rumour appeared just days after Satya Nadella sent staff a mission statement saying that Microsoft must "make some tough choices in areas where things are not working." Is Windows Phone one of those areas? Watch this space.

Tags