Apple TV’s summer preview includes tantalizing glimpses of Foundation series

Last summer, we got our first glimpse of Apple TV’s hotly anticipated adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series of novels when Apple released a teaser trailer during the 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference. Production on the new show, which stars Jared Harris and Lee Pace, shut down last March due to the pandemic, but filming resumed last October. No official air date besides “late 2021” has surfaced, but there are a few tantalizing extra glimpses in the streaming platform’s new summer (and beyond) preview trailer, per the eagle eye of The Spaceshipper on Twitter.

Mild spoilers for the first book in the Foundation series below.)

The series started as eight short stories by Asimov that appeared in Astounding Magazine between 1942 and early 1950. Those stories were inspired in part by Edward Gibbons’ History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and the first four were collected, along with a new introductory story, and published as Foundation in 1951. The next pair of stories became Foundation and Empire (1952), and the final two stories appeared in 1953’s Second Foundation. Asimov’s publishers eventually convinced him to continue the series, starting with two sequels: Foundation’s Edge (1982) and Foundation and Earth (1986). Next came a pair of prequels: Prelude to Foundation (1988) and Forward the Foundation (1993), the latter published posthumously (Asimov died in 1992).

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Apple TV to support using HomePod Mini as speakers, among other updates

Apple didn’t announce that rumored combined Apple TV device that would combine the set-top box with a HomePod speaker during its WWDC keynote, but it did announce a few features that will improve the Apple TV experience — including one that involves a HomePod Mini. Starting this fall, Apple said you’ll be able to select the HomePod Mini as the speaker for your Apple TV 4K. It also introduced a handful of software updates for Apple TV users, including a new way to see shows everyone in the family will like, and support for co-watching shows through FaceTime.

The co-watching feature is actually a part of a larger FaceTime update, which will let users stream music, TV, and screen share through their FaceTime calls. The Apple TV app is one of those that’s supported through this new system, called SharePlay. It will now include a new “Shared with You” row that highlights the shows and movies your friends are sharing, as well.

Another feature called “For All of You” will display a collection of shows and movies based on everyone’s interests within Apple TV’s interface. This is ideal you’re planning to watch something as a family — like for movie night, for example. And you can fine tune the suggestions based on who’s watching.

A new Apple TV widget is also being made available, which now includes iPad support.

And the new support for HomePod Mini will help deliver “rich, balanced sound” and “crystal clear dialog,” when you’re watching Apple TV with the Mii set up as your speakers, Apple said.

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Apple introduces SharePlay for co-watching, streaming, and screen sharing over FaceTime

As part of its FaceTime update in iOS 15, Apple introduced a new set of features designed for shared experiences — like co-watching TV shows or TikTok videos, listening to music together, screen sharing and more — while on a FaceTime call. The feature, called SharePlay, enables real-time connections with family and friends while you’re hanging out on FaceTime, Apple explained, by integrating access to apps from within the call itself.

Image Credits: Apple

Apple demonstrated the new feature during its Worldwide Developer Conference keynote this afternoon, showing how friends could press play in Apple Music to listen together, as the music streams to everyone on the call. Shared playback controls also let anyone on the call play, pause or jump to the next track.

The company also showed off watching video from its Apple TV+ streaming service, where the video was synced in real-time between call participants. This was a popular trend during the pandemic, as people looked to virtually watch movies and TV with family and friends, prompting services like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video to add native co-watching features.

But Apple’s SharePlay goes much further than streaming music and video from just Apple’s own services.

The company announced a set of launch partners for SharePlay including Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, NBA, Twitch, TikTok, MasterClass, ESPN+, Paramount+, and Pluto TV. It’s also making an API available to developers so they can integrate their own apps with SharePlay.

Image Credits: Apple

Users can screen share via SharePlay, too, so you can do things like browse Zillow listings together or show off a mobile gameplay, Apple suggested.

“Screen sharing is also a simple and super effective way to help someone out and answer questions right in the moment, and it works across Apple devices,” noted Apple SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi.

The feature will roll out with iOS 15.

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Apple TV 4K gets 8 out of 10 repairability score in iFixit’s latest teardown

After iFixit completed its 24-inch iMac teardown, its attention turned to the new Apple TV 4K, which launched on the same day last week. A new YouTube video shows the process of opening and servicing the streaming box and its brand-new, fully redesigned remote.

The internal components found in the new Apple TV 4K are not a surprise. The device contains Apple’s A12 chip (the same found in the iPhone XS), which is a substantial upgrade for gaming performance over the A10 in the 2017 model. Apart from that, though, the machine looks pretty much the same as before.

The 2021 Apple TV 4K ended up being simple to disassemble and service. Like its immediate predecessor, the new Apple TV 4K can be opened with a screwdriver, its components are modular, and those components are relatively easy to remove and put back in. As with the 2017 model, iFixit gave the streaming box an 8 out of 10 repairability score.

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The new iPad Pro, iMac, Apple TV 4K, and Siri Remote are now available

A man works on an iMac

Enlarge / A man uses a 24-inch orange iMac. (credit: Apple)

Several new Apple products announced earlier this month are now available for sale and shipping at the Apple Store and various other retailers.

The new products include the new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, a revised Apple TV 4K, a completely redesigned iMac with a 24-inch screen, and a radically redesigned Siri Remote that is compatible with older Apple TV devices.

While these devices are available for order, some are in short supply, so they aren’t all necessarily shipping today.

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#11-inch-ipad-pro, #12-9-inch-ipad-pro, #24-inch-imac, #apple, #apple-store, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-4k, #imac, #ipad, #ipad-pro, #siri-remote, #tech

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96% of US users opt out of app tracking in iOS 14.5, analytics find

The Facebook iPhone app asks for permission to track the user in this early mock-up of the prompt made by Apple.

Enlarge / The Facebook iPhone app asks for permission to track the user in this early mock-up of the prompt made by Apple. (credit: Apple)

It seems that in the United States, at least, app developers and advertisers who rely on targeted mobile advertising for revenue are seeing their worst fears realized: Analytics data published this week suggests that US users choose to opt out of tracking 96 percent of the time in the wake of iOS 14.5.

When Apple released iOS 14.5 late last month, it began enforcing a policy called App Tracking Transparency. iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV apps are now required to request users’ permission to use techniques like IDFA (ID for Advertisers) to track those users’ activity across multiple apps for data collection and ad targeting purposes.

The change met fierce resistance from companies like Facebook, whose market advantages and revenue streams are built on leveraging users’ data to target the most effective ads at those users. Facebook went so far as to take out full-page newspaper ads claiming that the change would not just hurt Facebook but would destroy small businesses around the world. Shortly after, Apple CEO Tim Cook attended a data privacy conference and delivered a speech that harshly criticized Facebook’s business model.

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Leaks: May 21 will be the launch day for the new iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple TV

One of the new products Apple will launch in May: the 2021 Apple TV 4K and its new remote.

Enlarge / One of the new products Apple will launch in May: the 2021 Apple TV 4K and its new remote. (credit: Apple)

When Apple announced the new iPad Pro, 24-inch iMac, and Apple TV 4K models during its April 20 livestreamed event, the company said those products would launch “in the second half of May” but didn’t get more specific beyond that. Now, multiple apparent leaks—including one on Apple’s website—have pointed to a more specific date: May 21.

Prolific Apple news leaker Jon Prosser named May 21 as the launch date for some of the products, and UK retailer John Lewis’ product page for the new iPad Pro carried copy saying, “Available 21 May 2021,” as discovered by MacRumors and other Apple rumor sites.

Adding further fuel to the fire, Apple today published a short post to its Newsroom site—essentially the public-facing company blog—reminding customers that they can pre-order these products starting tomorrow, April 30. That short post didn’t say May 21—but some of the metadata on the post did. Apple has since removed the metadata referencing that date.

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New versions of macOS, watchOS, and tvOS hit supported devices today

MacBook Air laptops, new and old.

Enlarge / MacBook Air laptops, new and old. (credit: Lee Hutchinson)

After an extended beta-testing period, Apple launched updates for all of its operating systems today, including macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

In general, the updates are focused on supporting the various new products Apple announced last week, as well as implementing App Tracking Transparency, fixing bugs, and adding new features and tweaks to existing software like Safari, Music, and Reminders.

We’ll discuss iOS and iPadOS (as usual, arguably the biggest updates) in another article. For now, here’s what you can expect to see in today’s tvOS, watchOS, and macOS updates.

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#app-tracking-transparency, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-4k, #apple-watch, #mac, #macos, #macos-11-big-sur, #macos-big-sur-11-3, #tech, #tvos, #tvos-14, #tvos-14-5, #watchos, #watchos-7, #watchos-7-4

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Apple and Google pressed in antitrust hearing on whether app stores share data with product development teams

In today’s antitrust hearing in the U.S. Senate, Apple and Google representatives were questioned on whether they have a “strict firewall” or other internal policies in place that prevent them from leveraging the data from third-party businesses operating on their app stores to inform the development of their own competitive products. Apple, in particular, was called out for the practice of copying other apps by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who said the practice had become so common that it earned a nickname with Apple’s developer community: “sherlocking.”

Sherlock, which has its own Wikipedia entry under software, comes from Apple’s search tool in the early 2000s called Sherlock. A third-party developer, Karelia Software, created an alternative tool called Watson. Following the success of Karelia’s product, Apple added Watson’s same functionality into its own search tool, and Watson was effectively put out of business. The nickname “Sherlock” later became shorthand for any time Apple copies an idea from a third-party developer that threatens to or even destroys their business.

Over the years, developers claimed Apple has “sherlocked” a number of apps, including Konfabulator (desktop widgets), iPodderX (podcast manager), Sandvox (app for building websites) and Growl (a notification system for Mac OS X) and, in more recent years, F.lux (blue light reduction tool for screens) Duet and Luna (apps that makes iPad a secondary display), as well as various screen-time-management tools. Now Tile claims Apple has also unfairly entered its market with AirTag.

During his questioning, Blumenthal asked Apple and Google’s representatives at the hearing — Kyle Andeer, Apple’s
chief compliance officer and Wilson White, Google’s senior director of Public Policy & Government Relations, respectively — if they employed any sort of “firewall” in between their app stores and their business strategy.

Andeer somewhat dodged the question, saying, “Senator, if I understand the question correctly, we have separate teams that manage the App Store and that are engaged in product development strategy here at Apple.”

Blumenthal then clarified what he meant by “firewall.” He explained that it doesn’t mean whether or not there are separate teams in place, but whether there’s an internal prohibition on sharing data between the App Store and the people who run Apple’s other businesses.

Andeer then answered, “Senator, we have controls in place.”

He went on to note that over the past 12 years, Apple has only introduced “a handful of applications and services,” and in every instance, there are “dozens of alternatives” on the App Store. And, sometimes, the alternatives are more popular than Apple’s own product, he noted.

“We don’t copy. We don’t kill. What we do is offer up a new choice and a new innovation,” Andeer stated.

His argument may hold true when there are strong rivalries, like Spotify versus Apple Music, or Netflix versus Apple TV+, or Kindle versus Apple Books. But it’s harder to stretch it to areas where Apple makes smaller enhancements — like when Apple introduced Sidecar, a feature that allowed users to make their iPad a secondary display. Sidecar ended the need for a third-party app, after apps like Duet and Luna first proved the market.

Another example was when Apple built screen-time controls into its iOS software, but didn’t provide the makers of third-party screen-time apps with an API so consumers could use their preferred apps to configure Apple’s Screen Time settings via the third-party’s specialized interface or take advantage of other unique features.

Blumenthal said he interpreted Andeer’s response as to whether Apple has a “data firewall” as a “no.”

Posed the same question, Google’s representative, White, said his understanding was that Google had “data access controls in place that govern how data from our third-party services are used.”

Blumenthal pressed him to clarify if this was a “firewall,” meaning, he clarified again, “do you have a prohibition against access?”

“We have a prohibition against using our third-party services to compete directly with our first-party services,” White said, adding that Google has “internal policies that govern that.”

The senator said he would follow up on this matter with written questions, as his time expired.

#airtag, #api, #app-store, #apple, #apple-books, #apple-inc, #apple-tv, #apps, #computing, #firewall, #google, #ios, #ipad, #itunes, #kindle, #luna, #mac-os-x, #netflix, #richard-blumenthal, #senator, #sherlock, #sidecar, #smartphones, #spotify, #u-s-senate, #watson

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Here are the updates that didn’t make it in Apple’s livestream yesterday

Promotional image of a casually dressed man speaking in front of a giant video display.

Enlarge / Apple presents the new iPad Pro at its April 20, 2021 event. (credit: Apple)

Apple crammed quite a few announcements into a short, one-hour presentation yesterday: new iPad Pros, new iMacs, a new Apple TV 4K, and the long-rumored launch of AirTags, to name a few. But for everything Apple executives and product managers said onstage, there was something else that didn’t get mentioned (or got passed over quickly, perhaps).

Many of these smaller details were hidden on product, specs, or support pages after Apple updated its website with the event’s new products. This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the things that changed on Apple’s website, but we’re picking some of the most interesting ones.

Let’s start with OS updates.

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The new Apple TV 4K comes with a new Siri Remote

Apple announced a new Apple TV 4K today, which will come with a new Siri Remote.

In addition to the existing Siri support, this new aluminum remote features a redesigned clickpad that allows for circular gestures in the outer ring, which viewers can use to quickly find the scene they’re looking for. And to eliminate the need to reach for another remote, it also includes a mute button and a power button for your actual TV.

The new Apple TV 4K is built with Apple’s A12 Bionic chip, which the company says will allow it to support higher-quality video, specifically high frame rate HDR and Dolby Vision at 60 frames per second.

Of course, picture quality also depends on the TV itself. But Apple announced a new feature to address the situation, and it’s not limited to people who purchase the new device. To improve the color balance on their TV, any Apple TV owner should be able to use the light sensor in their iPhone to measure their current balance, and the output from their Apple TV will be adjusted accordingly.

The new Apple TV 4K will be available for $179 for 32 gigabytes (or $199 if you want to double the storage capacity), with orders starting on April 30 and availability in the second of May. You’ll also be able to buy an Apple TV HD with the new Siri Remote for $149, or the remote alone for $59.

“With the A12 Bionic and the all-new Siri Remote, Apple TV 4K lets customers enjoy their favorite shows, movies, and more in the highest quality, with simple and intuitive controls,” said Apple Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Bob Borchers in a statement. “And of course, Apple TV 4K offers easy access to Apple services, along with thousands of apps on the App Store for even more entertainment options.”

#apple, #apple-spring-hardware-event-2021, #apple-tv, #tc

0

Apple updates the Apple TV 4K with the A12 Bionic processor, new remote

The Apple TV 4K set-top box will receive some needed upgrades, particularly to the remote. Today at an event largely focused on the new M1-powered iMacs, Apple told attending press and livestream viewers that the device will begin shipping with the A12 Bionic CPU inside it. The previous model introduced in 2017 included the A10X.

The A10X was a system-on-a-chip that included several components including a CPU and GPU; it was included in Apple’s 2017 iPad Pro tablets and is based on the same architecture as the iPhone. (The iPhone chips lack the X or Z in the name—for example, A13 or A14.) The A10X and the A12 Bionic are more powerful than their iPhone counterparts, though, especially when it comes to graphics performance.

The Apple TV 4K uses the chip for image processing—for example, to upscale and code 1080p, standard-dynamic-range content for 4K HDR displays. The A12 bionic further enables 4k high frame rate HDR. However, few if any critics or users reported that the Apple TV 4K was performing sluggishly or needed an upgrade here.

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Report: Apple plans Apple TV/HomePod and iPad/HomePod hybrid products

RIP HomePod, 2021.

Enlarge / RIP HomePod, 2021. (credit: Jeff Dunn)

Apple is working on multiple new products to replace the recently discontinued HomePod and to bring Siri and Apple services into living rooms, according to a new report from Bloomberg’s Debby Wu and Mark Gurman.

One of those products would be a device that combines the TV streaming box and gaming features of the Apple TV 4K with a HomePod-like smart speaker, as well as a camera.

The device would allow users to stream TV shows, videos, music, and films using the same apps that are already available on the Apple TV. It would also act as a Siri-enabled smart speaker, and it would enable video conferencing on the connected TV.

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Apple said to be developing Apple TV/HomePod combo and iPad-like smart speaker display

Apple is reportedly working on a couple of new options for a renewed entry into the smart home, including a mash-up of the Apple TV with a HomePod speaker, and an integrated camera for video chat, according to Bloomberg. It’s also said to be working on a smart speaker that basically combines a HomePod with an iPad, providing something similar to Amazon’s Echo Show or Google’s Nest Hub in functionality.

The Apple TV/HomePod hybrid would still connect to a television for outputting video, and would offer similar access to all the video and gaming services that the current Apple TV does, while the speaker component would provide sound output, music playback, and Siri integration. It would also include a built-in camera for using video conferencing apps on the TV itself, the report says.

That second device would be much more like existing smart assistant display devices on the market today, with an iPad-like screen providing integrated visuals. The project could involve attaching the iPad via a “robotic arm” according to Bloomberg, that would allow it to move to accommodate a user moving around, with the ability to keep them in frame during video chat sessions.

Bloomberg doesn’t provide any specific timelines for release of any of these potential products, and it sounds like they’re still very much in the development phase, which means Apple could easily abandon these plans depending on its evaluation of their potential. Apple just recently discontinued its original HomePod, the $300 smart speaker it debuted in 2018.

Rumors abound about a refreshed Apple TV arriving sometime this year, which should boast a faster processor and also an updated remote control. It could bring other hardware improvements, like support for a faster 120Hz refresh rate available on more modern TVs.

#apple, #apple-inc, #apple-tv, #assistant, #computing, #hardware, #homepod, #ios, #ipad, #portable-media-players, #siri, #smart-speaker, #speaker, #tablet-computers, #tc, #touchscreens, #video-conferencing

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tvOS code hints at a new Apple TV 4K with 120 Hz playback

The Apple TV 4K and remote.

Enlarge / The Apple TV 4K and remote. (credit: Samuel Axon)

It has been well over three years since Apple updated the Apple TV 4K, and online speculation about a follow-up hits a fever pitch every time Apple has a product unveiling event planned. So far, a new device hasn’t materialized, but code in the tvOS 14.5 beta may hint not only that a new Apple TV is on the way, but that it will support 120 Hz playback at 4K.

As reported first by 9to5Mac, tvOS 14.5’s PineBoard (the operating system’s interface manager) contains references to the terms “supports120Hz” and “120Hz,” a not-too-subtle indication that the OS will support 120 Hz refresh rates. And since the current Apple TV 4K only has an HDMI 2.0 port, which does not support 4K at 120 Hz (as opposed to the more recent HDMI 2.1 standard), this discovery seems to suggest that new Apple TV hardware is on the way as well.

Of course, only a few TVs today support 120 Hz refresh rates—typically high-end ones favored by gamers and made in the past two years. Most TVs still target 60 Hz. There is very little 120 Hz video content currently available, though enthusiasts have speculated that refresh rate could be a real boon for sports content. However, the new video game consoles that launched last year—Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S—support 120 Hz playback, which is preferred by some players for certain very fast-paced and difficult or competitive games. As those consoles continue to sell, they could increase the demand for 120Hz TVs.

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#120hz, #4k, #apple, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-4k, #hdmi, #hdmi-2-0, #hdmi-2-1, #tech, #tvos

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‘Six Minutes to Midnight’ Review: A Finishing School for the Nazi Elite

In this suspense thriller set in the 1930s, Judi Dench and Eddie Izzard are stalwart Brits at a sinister girl’s school in England.

#apple-tv, #dench-judi, #goddard-andy-1968, #google-play, #izzard-eddie, #juri-carla, #movies, #six-minutes-to-midnight-movie

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Original Content podcast: Apple’s ‘Ted Lasso’ is all about relentless optimism

Your enjoyment of “Ted Lasso” — a sports comedy that debuted on Apple TV+ last year — will probably depend on how you respond to the titular football coach played by Jason Sudeikis.

As we discuss on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, the show’s setup is deliberately over-the-top and ridiculous with Rebecca Walton (Hannah Waddingham) taking ownership of the AFC Richmond football (a.k.a. soccer) team after an acrimonious divorce, then recruiting American football coach Ted Lasso as its new manager, despite his complete ignorance of the game.

Anthony and Jordan found Ted to be charming, and they enjoyed the show’s fish-out-water comedy. Anthony also appreciated some of the more emotional moments later in the season — he’s an easy crier, and “Ted Lasso” definitely made him a little teary-eyed.

Darrell, however, had considerably less patience for the character’s blithe naiveté, comparing it to the similar cluelessness of Netflix’s “Emily in Paris,” and he gave up on the show quickly.

In addition to reviewing the series, we discuss Martin Scorsese’s feelings about the word “content,” and we have some exciting news about the podcast: This will be our last episode on TechCrunch, as Original Content goes independent! So consider subscribing on your favorite podcast app if you’d like to continue listening. (If you’ve already subscribed, there’s no need to do anything.)

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast app. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter.

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:26 Podcast news
5:12 “Content” and Martin Scorsese discussion
20:43 “Ted Lasso” review
47:40 “Ted Lasso” spoiler discussion

#apple, #apple-tv, #entertainment, #media, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts

0

Apple TV+ arrives on Google TV devices, starting with Chromecast

Google announced today the Apple TV+ streaming service has now arrived on the Google TV platform, starting with Chromecast with Google TV. It will also become available on Google TVs from both Sony and TCL, with expansions to other Android TV-powered devices in the months to come, Google says.

Google TV was first introduced last September as the new way Google will refer to its interface for Chromecast, where it combines streaming services, live TV via YouTube TV, and other Google offerings into one user interface — making it more competitive with similar offerings from Apple and Amazon. Today, the platform supports a wide range of top streaming services, like Disney+, Netflix, HBO Max, Peacock, Prime Video, CBS All Access, Hulu, Soing, and others, including, of course, YouTube.

With the added support for Apple TV+, users who already have subscriptions will be able to tune into its original programming, which includes movies, documentaries and series like “Ted Lasso,” “For All Mankind,” “Servant,” “The Morning Show,” “Dickinson,” and others. The app also provides access to the user’s library of movies and shows purchased from Apple, recommendations, and supports Family Sharing. The latter allows up to 6 family members to share a subscription to Apple TV+ and Apple TV channels.

Following the app’s launch on Google TV, users in the U.S. will be able to browse Apple’s Originals in Google TV’s personalized recommendations and surface its content in search results. Users can also ask Google Assistant to open the Apple TV app or they can request an Apple Original title by name. And they’ll be able to add Apple TV+ programming to the Google TV Watchlist. Google says these features will arrive in the “coming months,” however, instead of at launch.

The launch makes Google TV one of the last of the major streaming device platforms to support Apple’s streaming service, which is otherwise broadly available.

Apple TV+ had debuted in November 2019 for Apple customers, and later rolled out to non-Apple platforms including, that same year, Roku devices and Amazon’s Fire TV platform. Today, it’s also now available across a variety of smart TVs by Samsung, LG, Vizio, and Sony; gaming consoles including PlayStation (PS4 & PS5) and Xbox (One, Series X, Series S): and via the web.

 

#android-tv, #apple, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-plus, #chromecast, #google, #google-tv, #media, #streaming, #streaming-services

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Apple TV+ acquires a “sci-fi courtroom drama” about a murderous robot doll

Astronauts stand in a row on the lunar surface.

Enlarge / A shot from For All Mankind‘s second season. (credit: Apple+)

More science fiction is headed to Apple TV+, according to a new video and report. Apple has published a “first look featurette” video and related augmented reality app for its alternate-history space-program drama For All Mankind‘s second season, and the report claims that a drama about a robot accused of murder will soon begin production.

The latter will be a feature film called Dolly and is based on a short story written by Elizabeth Bear. According to Deadline, Apple acquired the film “following a competitive bidding war” involving four bidders, including multiple studios and another streaming company.

The film is described as a science fiction take on a courtroom drama, with the premise that a robotic doll murders its owner but “shocks the world by claiming she is not guilty and asking for a lawyer.”

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#apple, #apple-tv, #dolly, #for-all-mankind, #foundation, #gaming-culture, #sci-fi, #science-fiction, #streaming, #tech

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Apple launches a new AR experience tied to ‘For All Mankind’

“For All Mankind: Time Capsule” is a new augmented reality app created by Apple to promote the upcoming second season of “For All Mankind,” which premieres on February 19 on Apple TV+.

Even for those of you who aren’t fans of the the show — which tells the story of an alternate history in which the Soviet Union beat the United States to the Moon, leading to an extended space race in the ’70s and beyond — the app is still noteworthy as another sign of Apple’s interest in AR, even beyond the reports that it’s working on AR glasses.

“Time Capsule” takes place during the decade-long gap between seasons one and two, tracing the relationship between Danny Stevens and his parents, the astronauts Gordo and Tracy Stevens. Users who download the free iOS app will be able to interact with a variety of objects — such as a mixtape and an Apple II computer — that illustrate the family relationship.

“Time Capsule” walks users through a linear experience with between 45 and 60 minutes of content, but it sounds like it’s also designed to support further exploration and additional visits. You’ll be able to check “D-mail” and play a text adventure game on the computer, and if you’ve got an Apple device with a LiDAR scanner (such as an iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max or iPad Pro) you can use a virtual slide projector to project Danny’s family photos onto your own walls.

“For All Mankind” producer Ben McGinnis said the app was created in parallel with the show’s second season, with the creative team working with Apple to figure out “which objects were best for getting the story across,” and offering feedback as the actual AR objects were developed.

Creator and executive producer Ron Moore added that he’s excited about the possibility of giving fans new ways to explore the show’s world and characters, especially since writers on the show often create far more material than what ends up on screen.

“Part of the promise of this technology is that a fan of any show, by definition, usually wants to know more about it, more about the characters,” Moore said.

In this case, “For All Mankind”‘s team had written things like love letters and newscasts that are only seen briefly on-screen. They could then be used in the app, along with additional material by Stephanie Shannon, a writer on the show. The key, Moore said, is to “play fair by the audience that just wants to show up.”

“You can certainly watch ‘For All Mankind’ on-air without the AR stuff,” he added. “But if you do the AR stuff first, it enriches your experience.”

#apple, #apple-tv, #apps, #augmented-reality, #for-all-mankind, #mobile

0

Apple TV Was Making a Show About Gawker. Then Tim Cook Found Out.

Big tech companies now exert huge influence over what stories get told. The message is clear: Be careful who you offend.

#amazon-com-inc, #apple-inc, #apple-tv, #att-inc, #bezos-jeffrey-p, #cue-eddy, #gawker-media, #movies, #netflix-inc, #stankey-john-t, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #thiel-peter-a, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #violence-media-and-entertainment, #walt-disney-company

0

Apple Fitness+ launches on December 14

Apple is launching its subscription fitness service, which is built mainly to complement Apple Watch, on December 14. Apple Fitness+ was first announced at Apple’s iPhone event in September, and will offer guided workouts on iPhone iPad and Apple TV, with live personal metrics delivered by the Apple Watch’s health metrics monitoring.

The fitness offering will cover 10 workout types at launch, including Hight Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), strength, yoga, dance, core, cycling, indoor walking and running, as well as rowing and cooldown. All cases are led by real trainers that Apple selected to record the interactive sessions, and they’re soundtracked from “today’s top artists” according to the company.

The interactive elements are fed mostly by Apple Watch stats, and will display heart rate metrics, countdown timers, and goal achievement ‘celebration’ graphics which display on the screen when a user fills up their Apple Watch Activity rings. This is a level of direct integration that’s similar to what Peloton achieves with its service, but without requiring a whole connected stationary bike or treadmill to work.

Other distinguishing features of the service include a recommendation engine that leverages data including previous Fitness+ courses taken by a user, as well as their Apple Watch Workout App data and other third-party health and fitness app integration information from Apple Health to recommend new workouts, trainers and exercise routines. Apple’s use of third-party integrations is particularly interesting here, since it’s using its platform advantage to inform its service personalization.

Image Credits: Apple

Apple is also committing to weekly updates of new content across all categories of workouts, with varying intensity and difficult levels. Anyone using Fitness+ can also share their workouts with friends and family, and compete with others directly in the app if they want.

There’s also an optional Apple Music integration, which allows users to favorite songs and playlists directly from workouts to add them to their library, but users won’t require Apple Music in order to access the music used for the training videos, which are divided into different selectable “styles” or genres.

Apple Fitness+ is available starting December 14, and will retail for $9.99 per month, or $79.99 when paid for a twelve month period up front. It’s also part of Apple’s new Apple One Premier service bundle alongside other services.

This is definitely a major competitive service launch to existing subscription fitness offerings, including Peloton. Apple’s bundle offering, along with its system’s flexibility and syncing across its devices, could make it an easier choice for beginners and those just getting started with more serious training, though the lack of live classes might be a downside for some.

#apple, #apple-inc, #apple-one, #apple-tv, #apple-watch, #computing, #health, #ios, #ipad, #iphone, #itunes, #premier, #smartwatches, #software, #subscription-services, #tc, #wearable-devices

0

PBS Will Show Charlie Brown Holiday Specials This Year

The tech giant, which recently gained exclusive rights to the widely beloved “Peanuts” specials, said they would air on public airwaves again this year.

#a-charlie-brown-christmas-tv-program, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-plus, #its-the-great-pumpkin-charlie-brown-tv-program, #public-broadcasting, #public-broadcasting-service, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming

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Original Content podcast: Bill Murray’s charm can’t hide the sadness of ‘On the Rocks’

“On the Rocks,” a new film on Apple TV+, focuses on a troubled marriage between Laura (a writer played by Rashida Jones) and Dean (a startup executive played by Marlon Wayans). When Laura begins to suspect Dean of cheating on her, she turns to her father Felix (Bill Murray) for help.

The film reunites Murray with his “Lost in Translation” director Sofia Coppola. It can feel feather-light at times, thanks to his seemingly effortless charm — it’s hard to resist Felix when he’s singing to a bar full of strangers or devouring caviar during an impromptu stakeout. But the script and performances also make it painfully clear that he’s let Laura down as a father, and that her disappointment hasn’t gone away.

As we discuss on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, we loved watching beautifully shot footage of Murray and Jones in classic New York City bars and restaurants. We were, however, a bit less satisfied with the ending, which doesn’t really do justice to all the thorny emotional issues that the film raises.

In addition to reviewing “On the Rocks,” we also discuss Netflix’s imminent U.S. price increase and the new trailer for the pandemic thriller “Songbird”.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:35 “Emily in Paris” listener response
4:50 “Songbird” trailer discussion
9:14 Netflix price discussion
15:50 “On the Rocks” review
33:00 “On the Rocks” spoiler discussion

#apple, #apple-tv, #entertainment, #media, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts

0

Apple One, Apple’s answer to Amazon Prime, is finally launching

Apple One tiers.

Enlarge / Apple One tiers. (credit: Apple)

Apple’s all-in-one subscription services bundle, Apple One, launches today, according to a confirmation given to Bloomberg by Apple CFO Luca Maestri.

CEO Tim Cook also confirmed the bundle’s imminent launch on the company’s quarterly investor call yesterday.

Apple One offers three plans: individual, family, and premier. Each offers some subset or combination of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, iCloud, Apple News+, and soon, Apple Fitness+.

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#apple-arcade, #apple-fitness, #apple-music, #apple-news, #apple-one, #apple-tv, #tech

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Apple earnings show strong iPad and Mac sales can’t make up for the iPhone

An older man in a white polo shirt flashes a peace sign while walking outdoors.

Enlarge / Apple CEO Tim Cook. (credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Apple announced its fourth-quarter earnings today after the bell, and it was something of a strange quarter because, unlike some previous years (including last year), this quarter’s numbers did not include an iPhone launch. The iPhone 12’s various models ship in October and November instead of September this year.

CEO Tim Cook proudly announced double-digit YOY growth in all product categories besides iPhone on the call, but the iPhone is important: Apple’s total revenue was up only 1 percent year-over-year, with iPhone revenue down almost 21 percent.

While the iPhone didn’t help push up the bottom line, Apple did launch other products during the period, including the redesigned iPad Air and two Apple Watches: the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE. iPad revenue was up a substantial 46 percent YOY (it totaled $6.8 billion), and Mac revenue was also strong at $9 billion, or 28 percent more than the same quarter last year.

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#apple, #apple-tv, #business, #earnings, #ipad-air, #iphone, #iphone-12, #iphone-12-pro, #stocks, #tech, #ted-lasso, #tim-cook

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Apple One services subscription bundles start launching tomorrow

Apple is launching its Apple One services bundle tomorrow, though the company’s workout service Fitness+ isn’t quite ready yet.

On an earnings call today, CEO Tim Cook revealed tomorrow’s rollout and called the service the “easiest way for users to enjoy Apple services.” In a conversation with Bloomberg, Apple CFO Luca Maestri revealed the launch timing for Fitness+ as well. The company also detailed that it has 585 million total paid services subscriptions and expects to reach 600 million before the end of the 2020 calendar year.

The subscription bundle is designed around bringing more users into more Apple Services. It’s a big play to get subscribers to switch from Spotify to Apple Music as that is likely the crown jewel of the offering.

The company’s $14.99 per month individual plan includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and 50GB of iCloud storage. Apple also sells $19.99 family plans that bump up the storage to 200GB and is planning to debut a “premiere” plan for $29.99 that includes Fitness+ and Apple News+.

Apple’s Services division is growing in importance to the company’s bottom line, with the group reaching an all-time-high in revenue and reaching past half of the quarter’s iPhone revenues. You can read more on their earnings release below.

#apple, #apple-arcade, #apple-inc, #apple-music, #apple-news, #apple-one, #apple-services, #apple-tv, #ceo, #cfo, #computing, #e-commerce, #icloud, #iphone, #luca-maestri, #spotify, #tc, #tim-cook

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The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart will return in new Apple TV+ series

Jon Stewart appears in a segment on <em>The Late Show with Stephen Colbert</em> post-<em>Daily Show</em> retirement.

Enlarge / Jon Stewart appears in a segment on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert post-Daily Show retirement. (credit: CBS)

Former The Daily Show host Jon Stewart has signed a multiyear deal with Apple TV+ to write, star in, and produce a current affairs show that Apple and Stewart expect to run for multiple seasons, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter.

Five years ago, comedian and commentator Jon Stewart departed his role hosting Comedy Central’s The Daily Show—just a year before his audience would have wanted him most, many have observed.

Since then, he has occasionally appeared to do small and infrequent segments on his former colleague Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show on CBS, he’s appeared in some media interviews, he directed one film, and he did a comedy tour with fellow topical comedian Dave Chapelle. Mostly, though, he has lived the family life at his farm in New Jersey.

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#apple-tv, #jon-stewart, #media, #politics, #streaming, #tech, #the-daily-show, #tv

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‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ is now an Apple TV+ exclusive

On first screening, the network assumed it had a disaster on its hands. It was a quiet cartoon — more of a meditation on seasonal depression than a proper holiday film. The pacing was slow, it was voiced by a cast of amateur children and the soundtrack amounted to little more than the jazz piano stylings of a mustachioed North Beach hipster nicknamed “Dr. Funk.”

Worst of all, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” actively railed against the commercialization of the season, primarily in the form of an extended monologue from the blanket-wielding Linus set in the context of Jesus’s nativity.

“[The executives said], ‘We’ll play it once and that will be all. Good try,’ ” producer Lee Mendelson told me in an interview back in 2006. “[Director Bill Melendez] and I thought we had ruined Charlie Brown forever when it was done. We kind of agreed with the network. One of the animators stood up in the back of the room — he had had a couple of drinks — and he said, ‘It’s going to run for a hundred years,’ and then fell down. We all thought he was crazy, but he was more right than we were.”

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” has, of course, endured. The 25-minute animated special has aired on network television every year since its 1965 debut. It ran on CBS until 2000 and then on ABC each year subsequently, including special broadcasts on its 40th and 50th anniversaries on 2005 and 2015, respectively. For its 55th anniversary, it won’t appear on network TV at all.

In October, Apple acquired the exclusive rights to the special, as part of its ongoing, billion-dollar Apple TV+ push. The deal with Wildbrain, Peanuts Worldwide and the now-late Mendelson’s production company makes Apple’s streaming platform the exclusive rights holder for Peanuts content. That means that subsequent specials “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” will see a similar fate.

It’s become a familiar story in the era of streaming. Last year HBO Max locked down exclusive access to new episodes of “Sesame Street,” though that specific deal allowed for episodes to air on PBS at a later date. There’s a bit of a loophole here, too. The Peanuts deal requires Apple to offer the specials for free for a limited window. The “Great Pumpkin” will be free through the service from October 30 until November 1, “Thanksgiving” will be made available from November 25 to the 27 and “Christmas” will come decidedly earlier this year, from December 11 to the 13.

“[Peanuts creator Charles Schulz] would say things like, ‘I never thought it would be around 25 years later,’ ” his widow Jean Schulz told me in an interview for that same piece. “One of the reasons that Christmas is so great is that back in 1965 there were no VCRs or DVDs, so you saw that show once, and you had to wait a whole year to see it again. And when it came on, it still held up. It was still charming.”

More than a half of a century later, the special still qualifies as both. It’s a perfect artifact of American popular culture that is very much both a product of its own era and a gentle protest against it. Of course, all of the things that Linus warned us about back in 1965 have only compounded in the intervening decades. The media landscape, too, has transformed several times since then.

In a world in which change is the only constant, watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on TV has been something to rely on. This year, the short becomes the latest bit of content to get shoveled up in the great streaming wars of 2020, as media companies fight tooth and nail for back catalogues.

Cast as the perennial cynic and antagonist football mover, Lucy Van Pelt tells the titular character, “Look, Charlie, let’s face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket.” That, at least, hasn’t changed.

#apple, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-plus, #entertainment, #streaming

0

1980s MTV is back, sort of: Apple launches Apple Music TV channel

Today, Apple launched a 24-hour streaming video channel called Apple Music TV that will harken back to the early days of MTV by playing mostly music videos—but in this case, it’s ad-free.

Viewers will be able to watch the channel in either the TV app (on an Apple device like a Mac, iPhone, or Apple TV) or the Music app (it’s found in the Browse tab). Additionally, you can find it at apple.co/AppleMusicTV.

There is no live chat, there aren’t any interactive features, and there’s no integration at all with the Apple Music app (like the ability to favorite songs), so users may find the service is barebones compared to some other music-focused streaming offerings.

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#apple, #apple-music, #apple-tv, #music, #music-videos, #streaming, #tech

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Apple launches a U.S.-only music video station, Apple Music TV

Apple is expanding its investment in music with today’s launch of “Apple Music TV.” The new music video station offers a free, 24-hour livestream of popular music videos and other music content, including, exclusive video premieres, curated music video blocks, live shows, fan events, chart countdowns and guest appearances.

The service doesn’t have its own dedicated app, but is instead offered as a new feature within two of Apple’s existing entertainment apps. At launch, you can watch Apple Music TV from within the Browse tab of either the Apple Music app or the Apple TV app. (Accessible via apple.co/AppleMusicTV).

While Apple Music is a paid subscription service, Apple Music TV will be free to users in the U.S., the company says.

To kick off its launch, Apple Music TV today began with a countdown of the top 100 most-streamed songs ever across all of Apple Music, based on U.S. data.,

During brief tests of the new service, we found it to be a fairly basic (if uncensored) experience. The video stream only offered artist and song details at the beginning, instead of as the music played. It also didn’t take advantage of the integration with Apple Music to offer additional features to paying subscribers — like being able to favorite the song or add it to a playlist, for instance.

The stream would stop when the Apple Music app was closed, as it didn’t support background play.

Image Credits: Apple

There also weren’t any on-screen tools to share what you were watching via a social media post. You had to dig to find the “share” button under the three-dot, “more” menu. This would give you a link to tweet, but wouldn’t pre-fill it with text or hashtags, like the artist name or song.

While listening, you could stop the livestream and then return after a short pause. But after a bit, the stream would disconnect and the thumbnail of the paused music video reverts to the placeholder Apple Music TV image. When live, the text and icons will be shown in red. They revert to white when you’ve disconnected, as a visual cue.

Despite its simplicity, Apple Music TV gives Apple an immediate new home for its music-related original content, which over the years has included exclusive interviews, concert films, and more. It also provides Apple with another advantage with it goes to negotiate with artists for their premieres, as it introduces additional platform for reaching an artist’s fans — not only with the premiere itself, but by offering artists blocks of airtime leading up to their next debut that they can use to promote their releases.

The new station can also leverage content produced for the Apple Music 1 (formerly Beats 1) radio station, as it goes about running these promotions.

For example, on Thursday, October 22, Apple Music TV will promote the upcoming release of Bruce Springsteen’s “Letter to You” with music video blocks featuring his greatest videos, plus as exclusive interview with Zane Lowe, and a special livestream fan event.

Fridays, meanwhile, will focus on new music. This Friday, October 23, at 9 AM PT Apple Music TV will showcase two new exclusive video premieres – Joji’s “777” and SAINt JHN’s “Gorgeous.”

Apple Music TV’s biggest advantage, of course, is the fact that it’s freely accessible to millions of Apple device owners.

But it may struggle for traction as it lacks the features that make other livestream fan events or premieres engaging — like group chats or direct interactions with creators.

Instead, it’s more like a traditional TV broadcast — even MTV-like — compared with other online destinations where artists today connect with fans and promote their albums, like YouTube, VEVO, or more recently, Facebook, which just this year launched music videos.

Apple didn’t say if it planned to expand the new station outside the U.S.

#apple-inc, #apple-music, #apple-tv, #apps, #ios, #media, #mobile, #music, #streaming-video

0

Apple is extending some AppleTV+ subs through February 2021 for free

Apple told me today that it will be extending AppleTV+ subscriptions that are set to end November 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021 through their billing date in February of 2021.

The basic situation is that Apple gave away a free year of AppleTV+ to new device purchasers last year and those are all set to end in November. Apple knows everyone is still looking at a tough winter ahead filled with COVID-related restrictions so it’s bumping those subs out to February.

Monthly users whose subscription start date is before November 1st, 2020 also get a deal, with a $4.99 credit (the cost of an AppleTV+ subscription) appearing for every month between November 2020 and February 2021. You do not have to do anything to receive the credit and users will be getting emails notifying them of these extensions/credits.

And, of course, if it gets to hold the total sub number steady through Q4 of a tough economic year so much the better, right?

AppleTV+ had a bit of a slow burn start, with a big sub onramp in the form of devices and some high profile launches that were tempered by early reviews of their marquee programming. But people warmed to the shows over time. 

I believed at the time that it was a bit of natural sugar crash happening. 

http://twitter.com/panzer/status/1196916700261670912

That proved out over time as The Morning Show ended up winning AppleTV+ its first Prime Time Emmy award. 

Total award nominations for Apple Originals now number 114 with 35 wins. 

And, by the way, Ted Lasso is one of the more clever and humane shows currently streaming at the moment. Please go watch it, it’s a well acted melange of sport, non-toxic masculinity and heart felt drama.

Also, as a quick note, if you were a day 1 purchaser of an iOS device last year it’s possible that your free year is actually ending October 31st, don’t worry, you’re covered in this offer too. 

Here are the particulars of the deal, for easy copying and pasting:

  • If your AppleTV+ subscription ends on November 1, 2020 through January 31 of 2021 Apple is extending the free year to your sub date in February of 2021.
  • This means that the yearly subscriber extension applies to people who subbed prior to January 31, 2020.
  • As an example, if your sub was set to end November 15th 2020 then your first billing date would now be February 15th, 2020.
  • If people signed up for yearly subs without a new device purchase during that same date period they will also get free through February 2021.
  • If you have signed up for a monthly subscription before November 1st, 2020, you’ll get a $4.99 credit per month. 
  • The new device program where you get a year free will still continue.
  • Customers will get emails about this.

 

#apple-inc, #apple-tv, #computing, #industries, #itunes, #smart-tv, #tc

0

Disney, Marvel, and Pixar movies now available in 4K HDR on Apple TV and iTunes

Apple TV pages for films like <em>Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker</em> now claim 4K, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos support.

Enlarge / Apple TV pages for films like Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker now claim 4K, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos support. (credit: Samuel Axon)

When Apple launched the Apple TV 4K streaming box and first announced support for 4K and HDR in the iTunes movie store back in 2017, it had managed to sign up most major studios. But there was one holdout in terms of offering its catalog in UltraHD: Disney.

For three years, users in Apple’s ecosystem had to settle for 1080p HD to watch, say, the Marvel movies or Pixar animated films. Today, it looks like that’s changing in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. A plethora of Disney-made films inclusive of numerous Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Walt Disney Studios animated films are available in Apple’s storefront in both 4K and Dolby Vision HDR. They also support Dolby Atmos audio.

Examples include Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker and Thor Ragnarok.

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#4k, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-4k, #disney, #hdr, #itunes, #marvel, #movies, #star-wars, #streaming, #tech, #ultrahd

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Here’s everything Apple revealed at its September hardware event today

Apple announced a ton of new devices and features today at its September hardware event, but no word on its upcoming iPhones. That’s expected later in the month, maybe next.

In case you missed Apple’s hour-long keynote, here’s everything that was announced — including some things you might have missed.

Apple Watch

One of Apple’s big announcements is the new Apple Watch Series 6, priced at $399. The new wearable comes with a new Apple S6 silicon chip with an always-on energy-saving display. It also lands with a blood oxygen sensor.

Apple also announced a newer low-cost wearable, Apple Watch SE, which it priced at $279.

Family Setup: The new Family Setup option lets families stay connected, even when some members of the family don’t have an iPhone. It also comes with a family tracking feature, which lets parents make sure their kids have checked into school or sports practice, for example.

Fitness+: Apple is launching a new fitness subscription, landing at $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year. The service is available from inside the Activity app, and takes aim at in-home fitness services, which have taken off in part because of the ongoing pandemic. But so far, the fitness market doesn’t seem too flustered by the move.

Solo Loop: You can now get a Solo Loop for your Apple Watch, a single band that drops the standard clasp in favor of stretchy silicon. It comes in seven colors and a range of sizes.

The new Apple Watch Series 6 arrives September 18.

Apple iPad

Next up, the iPad. Apple said it’s refreshing the iPad line-up with a new fourth-generation iPad Air. The new slimline iPad Air lands with a 10.9-inch 2360×1640 resolution Retina display and replaces the Lightning port with a USB-C cable. The new iPad Air comes with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button, and a new 12-megapixel, 4K-capable rear camera.

New A14 Bionic chip: Apple unveiled its new, super-fast five nanometer A14 Bionic chip, landing in the new iPad Air. It’s packed with close to 12 billion transistors, 40% up on the previous iteration of chips, and has a 16-core neural engine for apps that rely on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

New colors: Apple has two new colors on top of the existing silver, space gray and rose gold to now include green and sky blue.

New eighth-generation iPad: The new eighth-generation iPad got a refresh, too, packed with an earlier A12 Bionic chip, giving the iPad a much-needed performance boost.

Apple One

With an Apple subscription for TV, music, games, as well as iCloud storage charges, Apple is rolling its subscriptions into one place under its new Apple One plan. There are three tiers — one for individuals, another for families, and the top-tier includes the full package of Apple’s subscription services.

iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 14, and tvOS 14

Apple said its long-awaited software updates will arrive tomorrow — September 16. That includes iOS 14 for iPhones, iPadOS 14 for iPads, watchOS 14 for Apple Watch wearables and tvOS14 for Apple TV boxes.

And iOS 14 comes with new privacy and security features, a new and improved Maps, a redesigned Siri and a new in-built translator app.

No word yet on macOS Big Sur, Apple’s next desktop and laptop operating system. A release date is expected out in the next few weeks ahead of the holiday season.

#apple, #apple-hardware-event-2020, #apple-tv, #apps, #hardware, #ios, #ipad, #iphone, #operating-system, #tvos

0

Introducing Apple One, Apple’s subscription bundle answer to Amazon Prime

Apple One tiers.

Enlarge / Apple One tiers. (credit: Apple)

After months of rumors that it was right around the corner, Apple’s subscription bundle has finally been announced. Dubbed Apple One, the service combines multiple Apple services like Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, and Apple News+ into one subscription—a page from Amazon’s book, to be sure.

Apple One will offer three tiers. The lowest-priced one, at $14.95/mo, includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for a single user. The next one up, “Family,” offers those same services to multiple family users for $19.95/mo. The highest-priced “Premier” tier, at $29.95/mo, includes bundled magazine subscription service Apple News+ and Fitness+ as well, along with a bump to 2TB of iCloud storage.

Apple says these plans will roll out “this fall,” with a 30-day free trial for all new users to determine which tier is best for them.

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#amazon-prime, #apple, #apple-arcade, #apple-news, #apple-one, #apple-tv, #tech

0

Apple bundles CBS and Showtime with Apple TV+, announces new Music radio stations

As iPhone sales have slowed, Apple has leaned on services like the App Store, Apple Music, and Apple TV+ to make up some of the difference. And while the first of those is currently gripped in public controversy, Apple today announced new developments for Music and TV+.

First off, Apple says Apple TV+ subscribers will be able to subscribe to a bundle that includes both CBS All Access and Showtime (both owned by ViacomCBS) for $9.99 per month after a 7-day trial, integrated with Apple features like the TV app, Siri, and Family Sharing.

Subscribers to the bundle will be able to access programming from both services in online streaming and offline download formats, and this bundle includes the ad-free version of CBS All Access. Since Apple TV+ costs $4.99, that means the trio of services will come in at just under $15—about the same price all together as HBO Max on its own.

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#apple-music, #apple-music-country, #apple-music-hits, #apple-music-one, #apple-tv, #cbs, #cbs-all-access, #showtime, #tech, #viacomcbs

0

Apple said to soon offer subscription bundles combining multiple of its services

Apple is reportedly getting ready to launch new bundles of its various subscription services, according to Bloomberg. The bundled services packages, said to be potentially called ‘Apple One,’ will include Apple services including Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, Apple News+ and iCloud in a number of different tiered offerings, all for one fee lower that would be lower than subscribing to each individually.

Bloomberg says that these could launch as early as October, which is when the new iPhone is said to be coming to market. Different package options will include one entry-level offering with Apple Music and Apple TV+, alongside an upgrade option that adds Apple Arcade, and other that also includes Apple News+. A higher-priced option will also bundle in extra iCloud storage, according to the report, though Bloomberg also claims that these arrangements and plans could still change prior to launch.

While the final pricing isn’t included in the report, it does say that the aim is to save subscribers between $2 and $5 per month depending on the tier, vs. the standard cost of subscribing to those services currently. All subscriptions would also work with Apple’s existing Family Sharing system, meaning up to six members of a single household can have access through Apple’s existing shared family digital goods infrastructure.

Apple is also said to be planning to continue its strategy of bundling free subscriptions to its services with new hardware purchases – a tactic it used last year with the introduction of Apple TV+, which it offered free for a year to customers who bought recently-released Apple hardware.

Service subscription bundling is move that a lot of Apple observers have been calling for basically ever since Apple started investing more seriously in its service options. The strategy makes a lot of sense, especially in terms of helping Apple boost adoption of its services which aren’t necessarily as popular as some of the others. It also provides a way for the company to begin to build out a more comprehensive and potentially stable recurring revenue business similar to something like Amazon Prime, which is a regular standout success story for Amazon in terms of its fiscal performance.

#amazon, #apple, #apple-arcade, #apple-inc, #apple-music, #apple-news, #apple-tv, #apps, #cloud-applications, #computing, #icloud, #ios, #iphone, #itunes, #subscription-services, #tc, #webmail

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The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box makes any home theater a bit more theatrical

Philips has steadily expanded its Hue line of smart lighting products to cover the entire home, inside and out. But while the ability to remotely control your lighting, including adjusting color, intensity and brightness is great, one of its more recent products focuses more on how to turn all those connected lights into a dynamic, at-home interactive entertainment experience. The Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is a relatively simple device that sits between your video sources, including things like game consoles and the Apple TV, and your television, enabling synced light shows that can take advantage of a wide range of Hue products.

The basics

The Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is at core an HDMI switcher, offering four HDMI inputs and a single HDMI output.  Signals from your input devices (ie. Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, PS4, etc.) go into the box, and are passed through to the TV, with switching happening automatically depending on which device is most recently active (you can also change them manually with the app and with voice controls).

The Sync Box supports a range of modern quality standards for display and audio, and even more recently thanks to a firmware update released by Philips earlier this year. It supports 4K 60Hz resolution, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision standards, as well as Dolby Atmos surround sound. It also supports HDMI 2.0b with HDCP 2.2 compliance for copyright protection.

You will need not only Hue colored lights, but also a Hue Bridge (the second-generation, rounded square version) to ensure that the Hue Sync Box is more than just a particularly expensive HDMI hub, but it does that job very well, too. If you do have Hue products, like the Hue Play light bars that can easily mount on top of your TV stand or to the back of your TV itself, or the Hue Signe multi-colored floor or table lamps, then you can use the Sync companion app to ensure your lights reflect what’s going on on screen – for any video that plays through the box from any source.

Image Credits: Philips

Design and performance

Why would you want this? Well, mostly because it looks really, really cool. Hue Sync has already been available as a software feature for you to use with video played back on Macs and PCs, when used in combination with a monitoring tool, but that has a lot of limitations, including not being able to work with official Netflix apps and Netflix in the browser. The Sync Box eliminates any potential roadblocks and also means you can use regular streaming and gaming sources without having to run a media center PC.

The box itself is relatively large, but that seems like it’s mostly to accommodate the multiple HDMI ports. It’s very short, despite being about twice the surface area of an Apple TV, so it should be very easy to integrate into your existing home theatre setup, whatever that entails.

Setting up the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is very easy, and requires only installing the app and pressing the sync button on your Hue Bridge when instructed to do so. As mentioned, you can plug in up to four sources and the box will switch between them automatically when you use an input device, or you can also manually change the input (and rename them) using the app. The app also allows you to tweak the intensity, brightness and responsiveness of the light, making it more subtle or more extreme, depending on your preferences and your activity. A ‘Game’ setting, for instance, sets it to maximum intensity and responsiveness for a more dynamic effect befitting fast-paced interactive content.

Image Credits: Philips

I found that the lighting was extremely good at mimicking the colors and brightness of a scene, especially if you take the time to accurately set up the position of your Hue lights for a dedicated “entertainment area” in the official main Hue app. It’s an effect that, when used in its most subtle settings, can basically fade away but still provide genuine enhancement for the watching experience, making it feel more immersive. At its maxed out settings, it’s much more noticeable, but still something that basically fades away into the background over an extended period of use, in a good way.

Especially since the firmware update, the Hue Play Sync Box has proven a fantastic addition to my home theater setup, providing an extra bit of flair to every TV watching experience. It’s obviously more effective in dark rooms, but it really seems to especially complement high-quality OLED screens that produce vibrant colors and true, deep blacks.

Bottom line

The Hue Play HDMI Sync Box is a bit of an extravagance at $229.99, but it definitely adds to the overall home TV-watching experience, for movies, streaming, and for gaming. The four HDMI inputs mean you can also use it to add more ports to your TV, if that’s something you need, and the recent updates mean you’re not going to sacrifice any video quality while doing so.

 

#apple-tv, #digital-media-players, #electronics, #gadgets, #hardware, #hdmi, #input-devices, #netflix, #oled, #philips, #philips-hue, #reviews, #roku, #tc

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Apple and Oprah to debut a new interview series, ‘The Oprah Conversation’

Apple is expanding its relationship with media mogul Oprah Winfrey. The company announced today its plans for a new series, “The Oprah Conversation,” which will feature timely discussions between Oprah and “newsmakers, though leaders and masters of their craft” across a range of topics. The first few episodes will focus on conversations around race, given recent events like the BLM protests.

The series, which was filmed remotely during the pandemic, will begin on July 30 at  4 PM PST with an episode titled “How to Be an Antiracist,” which will see Oprah and bestselling author Professor Ibram X. Kendi talking with book readers who are on a journey to learn how to become anti-racist. This episode will then be followed by a two-part interview with athlete, commentator, activist and creator and host of “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,” Emmanuel Acho on August 1.

Oprah will also converse with Equal Justice Initiative founder and bestselling author Bryan Stevenson later in the series.

The show’s format will include Oprah speaking with guests, but will also incorporate audience engagement, like viewer questions.

Image Credits: Apple; Episode 101 with Oprah and Kendi

This is the third series that Oprah is now doing for Apple, having launched “Oprah Talks COVID-19” in late March, and “Oprah’s Book Club” last year, as part of her multi-year agreement with the company. Another show, produced in partnership with Prince Harry and focused on mental health, has yet to arrive. Oprah also participated in Apple’s documentary series, “Visible: Out on Television.”

Unfortunately for Apple, Oprah’s multi-year deal is overlapping with a pandemic which has shut down TV production leading to the launch of these “filmed remotely”-style series.

Oprah’s COVID series, for example, was quickly put together in reaction to the health crisis and used lower production values, making it a first of its kind on Apple TV+. Before its arrival, Apple TV+ content had been highly produced and offered in 4K. But those initial experiments in remote TV production made further shows like this new series possible.

While much of Apple TV+ content requires a subscription, “The Oprah Conversation” will debut exclusively on the service for free on Thursday, July 30, Apple says. After the first free episode, the remainder of the series will require a $4.99 per month Apple TV+ subscription to view. The Apple TV+ service is available across devices, including Apple’s own, as well as select smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.

#apple, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-plus, #media, #oprah-winfrey

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Apple TV+ to release Tom Hanks naval drama ‘Greyhound’ on July 10

Tom Hanks’ “Greyhound” is the latest movie to skip theaters and head straight to streaming — in this case, to Apple TV+. Deadline reported last month that Apple had picked up the film, which now has a release date of July 10.

Sony had previously pushed back the movie’s release multiple times, most recently settling on June 19 (Father’s Day weekend).

Of course, those plans were scuttled by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting theatrical closures. Although theaters are preparing to reopen with new social distancing measures, with Warner Bros’ “Tenet” and Disney’s “Mulan” scheduled for release in July, it remains to be seen whether moviegoers are ready to return.

Meanwhile, studios have taken different strategies for different films — delaying some, accelerating VOD/streaming releases for others and either skipping theaters for their own streaming services (in the case of Disney) or selling films to streamers (in the case of Netflix and “The Lovebirds”). Sony went the latter route, with “Greyhound” going to Apple.

Aaron Schneider directed the film, while Hanks wrote the screenplay based on C.S. Forester’s novel “The Good Shepherd.” He also stars as a first-time Naval captain during World War II who has to protect a convoy of 37 ships from Nazi U-boats.

Apple was already working with Hanks on “Masters of Air,” a World War II series executive produced by Hanks, Gary Goetzman (who also produced “Greyhound”) and Steven Spielberg.

#apple, #apple-tv, #entertainment, #media, #tom-hanks

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Netflix, Disney+ or HBO Max? The best streaming service for your watching habits

Gone are the days of not having enough time to catch up on all of those movies and TV shows you’ve been meaning to get around to. For the foreseeable future, at least, many of us have nowhere to go and nothing but time on our hands.

We’ve already offered a few suggestions for ways to spend your newfound downtime, but there’s a more pragmatic question at hand. With this week’s arrival of HBO Max, an overcrowded streaming market becomes even more competitive, particularly here in the United States.  Gone are the days of Netflix’s streaming supremacy (at least from a content perspective). There’s a streaming service for virtually every need and nearly every one is best at something (with the possible exception of Apple TV+, with its fairly sparse selection, and whatever is going on with Quibi).

In a perfect world, we would all be able to subscribe to every service and never have to leave the house again. But those $5-$15/month fees add up pretty quickly when you’re not looking. For most of us, choosing the right service or service requires a bit of strategic spending. As such, we’re going to make life a bit easier on you and your wallet by designating the top services across 10 key categories.

Again, this is a U.S.-focused list, since that’s where we’re based. But many of these services are available outside the States, or will be in the next year or two.

The best service for … Prestige TV

Winner: HBO Max

The debate about the best TV show of all time always seems to wind up on HBO. The premium cable network has transformed expectations around what television can and should do, with shows like “The Sopranos” and “The Wire” regularly cited at the top of the list of all-time greats. And then there’s “Westworld,” “Game of Thrones,” newcomers like “Succession” and top-tier comedy like “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Eastbound and Down” and “The Larry Sanders Show.” Not every series has been a slam-dunk, but as far as prestige episodic television is concerned, you’re not going to do any better than HBO. (B.H.)

The best service for … Blockbusters

Winner: Disney+

Disney has dominated the theatrical box office for the past decade, thanks to its acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm/Star Wars — not to mention the continued popularity of its animated films and live-action remakes. Disney+ is where you can catch up with almost all those big-budget hits, and it will be the streaming home for future Marvel blockbusters. (A.H.)

The best service for … Classics

Winner: Criterion Channel/HBO Max

While Criterion’s reputation can seem forbiddingly arty (see below) — of course, some art films are stone cold movie classics — the service also offers plenty of classic Hollywood titles, like a recent retrospective showcasing Columbia noir. If you’re a kaiju fan, it also has nearly every old-schoool Godzilla movie in its library. That said, it isn’t the only place you can find classic titles. HBO Max, in particular, is the streaming home to Turner Classic Movies, with some of the best films of all time, including “Casablanca” and “Citizen Kane.” It also has a deal to offer some Criterion titles, too. (A.H.)

The best service for … Documentaries

Winner: HBO Max/CuriosityStream

As with its drama and comedy series, there’s really no one out there who can touch HBO’s documentary output. The network has consistently racked up Emmy wins since the late ’90s. It’s had some added competition from Netflix in recent years, but HBO continues to deliver, including last year’s heart-wrenching ‘Leaving Neverland.’ If you like your documentaries served with a side of more documentaries, however, there’s always CuriosityStream. $20/year will get you a boatload of original docs, broken down by category. (B.H.)

The best service for … Kids

Winner: Disney+

All the big streaming services have a selection of movies and shows for kids, but it’s hard to beat the titles in Disney’s library — all their animated classics, plus Pixar, plus Disney Channel hits like “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody,” “Hannah Montana” and “High School Musical.” HBO Max is a strong runner-up with Sesame Street and the full Studio Ghibli library, but if your kid wants to sing along to “Frozen” over and over again, this is where they can do it. (A.H.)

The best service for … Indies

Winner: Hulu/Criterion Channel

Most streaming services (save for Apple TV+ and Disney+) have a pretty sizable selection of indies. The quality of the films varies greatly from service to service and film to film, but nearly all of them have some hidden gems for when you’re looking to spend a bit of time outside of the studio system. As far as the mainstream ones go, I was surprised to discover during this quarantine that Hulu has the best selections of the bunch, courtesy of deals with top notch indie distributors. If you want a straight shot of the stuff, however, the Criterion Channel is your best bet — and the supplementary content is unmatched by other services. (B.H.)

The best service for … Free stuff

Winner: Tubi/Vudu

To be honest, I had no idea Tubi existed until recently. I was searching for a Korean movie about a baseball playing gorilla (it’s real, seriously), and landed on the site, where it was streaming for free with ad breaks. You would probably end up banging your head against the wall if you relied on Tubi as your sole streaming service, but its selection is surprisingly solid. There are genuinely good films in there, in amongst the dregs. There are also plenty of dregs there, if that’s your thing. Also check out Walmart’s Vudu. In addition to your standard rentals, the service also has a decent selection of free films. (B.H.)

The best service for … Star Trek

Winner: CBS All Access

It might seem silly to build an entire streaming service around a single entertainment franchise, but a) Have you met Star Trek fans? And b) That was clearly the strategy behind CBS All Access, which has already released two Trek spinoffs, “Discovery” and “Picard.” Although the newly remerged ViacomCBS seems to have broader streaming plans, Star Trek still seems like a centerpiece of that strategy, with a whole bunch of new Trek content being developed under the supervision of Alex Kurtzman. (That said, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are sufficient if you just want to rewatch The Original Series or The Next Generation.) (A.H.)

The best service for … Arthouse

Winner: Criterion Channel

Been missing trips to the local arthouse theater? With places like the Anthology Film Archives, Museum of the Moving Image and Angelika temporarily shut down here in New York, I’ve been finding some respite in the Criterion Collection’s truly excellent curated selection of films. While it’s true that sometimes the best thing for the pandemic is a little mindless movie watching, if you want to take in some culture without leaving the house, Criterion’s got you covered. (B.H.)

The best service for … a lot of everything

Winner: Netflix

You may be wondering why we’ve barely mentioned the streaming world’s biggest player. That’s because Netflix isn’t actually the best in any one category — at least in our view. Instead, it’s pretty good in a whole bunch of categories, whether that’s older TV shows, classic films, original series like “The Crown” and “Stranger Things,” reality hits like “Tiger King” and original movies like “The Irishman.” So if you want a single service that scratches a whole bunch of different itches, Netflix is still your best bet. (A.H.)

#amazon-video, #apple-tv, #cbs-all-access, #disney, #entertainment, #hbo-max, #hulu, #media, #netflix, #tc

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