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ExtraBITS for 4 January 2016

In our first ExtraBITS roundup of 2016, we remind our American readers to register their drones or face a hefty fine and possible imprisonment. Also, The Beatles are now available on most streaming services, Apple’s App Stores are under new management, and a writer in New Zealand explains the Apple TV’s woes in that country.

Don’t Forget to Register Your Drones — If you live in the United States and own any sort of airborne drone that weighs between 0.55 and 55 pounds, you must register it with the Federal Aviation Administration. Existing drone owners have until 19 February 2016 to register, but new drone owners must register them before flying them. Registration is free for the next month but will cost $5 after that. The registration lasts for 3 years, and is applicable to all of your drones, not just one. So if you received a drone as a Christmas present, be sure to register it, or you
could face civil penalties of up to $27,500 and criminal penalties of up to 3 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Ouch.

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The Beatles Are Now Streaming — Great news for fans of The Beatles: the Fab Four’s catalog arrived on just about every streaming service on 24 December 2015. The Beatles are now streaming on Amazon Prime Music, Apple Music, Deezer, Google Play Music, Microsoft Groove, Rhapsody, Slacker Radio, Spotify, and Tidal around the world. The band’s music is now also available for purchase from services other than iTunes, such as Amazon.

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Apple’s Phil Schiller Takes Over the App Store — For those who have been grumbling about Apple’s App Store (which, let’s face it, is just about everyone), we have good news: Phil Schiller, Apple’s highly regarded Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, is taking over the App Store from Eddy Cue on all Apple platforms: Mac, iOS, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Cue remains in charge of iCloud, iTunes, and Apple’s professional apps (as well as Apple Pay, Maps, and other things), so hopefully this change will allow him to focus more on those areas. Jeff
Williams, who oversees development of the Apple Watch, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer. In other Apple executive news, Johny Srouji has been promoted to Senior Vice President for Hardware Technologies.

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Apple TV Woes in New Zealand — Most Apple TV coverage has been U.S.-centric, but Sarah Hendrica Bickerton offers her perspective on the Apple TV as a New Zealander, and it’s not a sunny one. Bickerton reports that Siri and iTunes TV shows are not available, and even iTunes movie releases lag weeks behind the rest of the world. While Netflix is finally available in New Zealand, it doesn’t even offer the Netflix original series “House of Cards” due to muddy distribution rights. Despite all of that, Bickerton is bullish on the new Apple TV due to tvOS and its associated App Store.
Her article is a welcome reminder of how technology often isn’t evenly distributed around the world.

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