Apple Hopes Music Fans Have Time to Play B-Sides

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

Back in the Days of Yore, before netbooks and mobile phones and even (shudder) Walkmans, there was the 9-inch vinyl 45 rpm single. On sale in record stores everywhere, 45s were designed by the industry to be a cheaper alternative to buying entire albums, offering consumers a chance to buy just the songs they liked from a particular artist—45s were also huge for jukebox systems, enabling players to pop in a dime (or, later, a quarter!) and set up their own playlists in pizza joints, diners, and bars around the world. One neat things about 45s was that customers essentially got two songs for the price of one: sure, the hit single was on the A-side, but the B-side featured another track from the same artist or label; sometimes the B-side wasn’t anything interesting, but sometimes it was a hidden gem.

Vinyl 45s aren’t quite vanished from the earth, but in this day they’re more properly characterized as an affectation than a mainstream music market. But Apple is hoping to cash in on a little nostalgia for the final days of the 45 rpm single with its new Digital 45s feature, which pairs up a popular single from a particular artist with another track (usually a lesser-known track from the same album) to let customers see another side of the artist. And Apple is pricing Digital 45s at $1.49 to $1.99, which means customers typically get a little bit of a price break buying the Digital 45 rather than the separate tracks—for instance, a Digital 45 of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” paired with “Cat People” would run $2.58 track-by-track ($1.29 × 2), where the Digital 45 runs $1.99.

Many of Apple’s initial Digital 45s offerings focus on the final days of the 45 in the 1980s, focussing on artists like Duran Duran, Human League, Van Halen, and (of course) Michael Jackson. But there are a few surprises, including Nat King Cole, the Doors, Otis Redding, and even Coldplay.

Of course, the Digital 45 is (like the 45 single itself) a way for Apple and music companies to convince users to buy more music. But after the introduction of variable pricing in the iTunes store, it’s nice to see Apple offering a way for customers to get a bit of a price cut on tracks without having to buy entire albums.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for March 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Product Review

Fitbit’s trimmed-down Versa Lite still has all the smartwatch features you need

Fitbit trimmed some of the features it bundles in its popular Versa smartwatch to keep the price low on it newest smartwatch, the Versa Lite. Does this strategy work? Read our review to find out.
Smart Home

Protect yourself: Here are some of the best home security systems

Looking for the best home security systems for your house? These systems offer the best mix of devices, smart features, monitoring services, and fees that you can afford (plus good customer service reports).
Smart Home

Postmates now offers a way to get free delivery on meal orders

Postmates is offering customers the chance to order meals with free delivery. But you'll have to be cool with the idea of waiting a little longer, as the delivery driver will be carrying other meals for different customers.
Smart Home

Instant Pot has another winner with its Accu Slim sous vide

We all know that Instant Pots are the bomb, but did you know that Instant Pot has a sous vide immersion circulator too? The Accu Slim lets you cook sous vide recipes at home. How does it perform? We tested the device to find out.
Smart Home

Looking to safeguard your home? These are the best DIY home security systems

Looking for the best DIY Home security systems? These security kits will help you feel safer in no time. Check out our top pick and full list to see which kit will work best for your home.
Deals

Air purifiers get steep price cuts on Amazon just in time for allergy season

Spring kicks off allergy season, and Amazon has cut prices on three highly rated air purifiers to bring relief. Allergens and contaminants in the air can have long-term consequences, says the EPA, so proactive steps can help today and later…
Deals

Walmart slashes prices on iRobot Roomba and Shark Ion robot vacuums

Walmart slashed prices of top robot vacuums from iRobot, Shark, Eufy, and Ecovacs just in time for spring cleaning season.  With a robot vacuum on the job you can retire that old upright and let a robot vacuum take over floor-cleaning…
Deals

Amazon slices prices in half for AeroGardens smart indoor garden, today only

AeroGardens can grow up to six plants at one time. The plants grow in water, not soil, so you never have the mess of outdoor gardening in your clean home. This method allows the plants to grow five times faster than if they were planted in…
News

LG’s SnowWhite is a Keurig for lovers of homemade ice cream

LG's SnowWhite conceptual countertop appliance, on display at this year's South by Southwest, is like a Keurig machine for ice cream lovers that produces your favorite frozen desserts from nothing but a little pod.
Deals

Amazon shaves $50 off the Coway Mighty air purifier ahead of allergy season

When it's allergy season, a good air purifier is a must-have for sufferers. The Coway Mighty air purifier (now on sale from Amazon) is one of the best, greatly improving the air quality inside your home by removing dust, dander, pollen, and…
Smart Home

Dyson’s newest products strive to keep your home cool, clean, and well-lit

Dyson launched products to keep your home cool, clean, and well-lit. A Dyson intelligent task light cycles with nature and a personal air purifier harnesses unique airflow. Microprocessors in Dyson's vacuum self-adjust 8,000 times a second.