Bad news for cable: A major sports league will stream exclusively on Apple TV

Major League Soccer is coming to Apple TV.

Enlarge / Major League Soccer is coming to Apple TV.

Today, Apple and Major League Soccer (MLS) announced that the Apple TV app will offer streaming video of every MLS match for the next 10 years.

Apple claims that viewers “around the world” can “watch all MLS, Leagues Cup, and select MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT matches in one place—without any local broadcast blackouts or the need for a traditional pay TV bundle.”

This will all be part of a “new MLS streaming service” that will become available in early 2023, with matches offered up through 2032. It will offer both live and on-demand video.

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#apple, #apple-tv, #cable-tv, #cord-cutting, #football, #major-league-soccer, #mls, #soccer, #sports, #streaming, #tech

iOS 15.5 and macOS 12.4 bring updates to Podcasts, digital payments, and more

Apple's Studio Display received a firmware update today to improve its webcam performance.

Enlarge / Apple’s Studio Display received a firmware update today to improve its webcam performance. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple released new software updates for all of its platforms on Tuesday. That includes the following:

  • iOS 15.5 for iPhones and the iPod touch
  • iPadOS 15.5 for iPads
  • macOS 12.4 for Macs
  • watchOS 8.6 for the Apple Watch
  • tvOS 15.5 for the Apple TV
  • HomePod Software 15.5 for HomePods
  • Studio Display Firmware 15.5 for the Studio Display
  • Switch Playgrounds 4.1 for iPad and Mac

These are almost certainly the last updates before the company’s annual developer conference, which is scheduled to kick off on June 6. Among other things, Apple will announce iOS and iPadOS 16, macOS 13, and watchOS 9 at the conference, but those updates won’t arrive until later this year.

iOS 15.5

Today’s iOS update offers just enough new user-facing features to earn that 15.x label instead of 15.x.x, which is usually reserved for bug fixes and the like.

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#apple, #apple-studio-display, #apple-tv, #apple-watch, #homepod, #ios, #ios-15-5, #ipad, #iphone, #ipod-touch, #mac, #macos, #macos-12-4, #swift-playgrounds, #tech, #tvos, #tvos-15-5, #watchos, #watchos-8-6

iOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3 are here with Universal Control and more

The iPhone 13 Pro Max, photographed by the iPhone 13 Pro in low light.

Enlarge / The iPhone 13 Pro Max, photographed by the iPhone 13 Pro in low light. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Today, Apple pushed out the public releases of all its operating systems, including iOS/iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. These releases include new features across all platforms, not just bug fixes or security updates.

As usual, the iOS and iPad update (iOS and iPadOS 15.4) is the most major in terms of number and breadth of changes. The two biggest new features are arguably Universal Control support for the iPad and the ability to use Face ID while wearing a protective face mask.

To use Face ID with a mask, users must opt in to the capability in Settings. And Universal Control, which allows users to control both a Mac and an iPad seamlessly with the same input devices, requires both an iPad and a Mac on the latest software releases.

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“Friday Night Baseball” on deck for Apple TV+ subscribers

“Friday Night Baseball” on deck for Apple TV+ subscribers

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

At its Peek Performance event Tuesday, Apple announced that it will be streaming live sports for the first time. “Friday Night Baseball,” a weekly baseball doubleheader, will step up to the plate once the Major League Baseball season begins. (Owners locked out the players in December 2021 and have canceled a week’s worth of games as a result of their work stoppage.)

Beyond Friday Night Baseball, Apple will offer a 24/7 livestream of highlights, replays, news, and talking heads for subscribers in the US and Canada. Apple TV+ subscribers will also be able to tune into “MLB Big Inning,” which Apple describes as a “live show featuring highlights and look-ins airing every weeknight during the regular season.”

Most notably, “Friday Night Baseball” will be available in all markets—local broadcast restrictions will not apply to Apple’s new service.

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#apple, #apple-tv, #baseball, #sports, #streaming, #tech

Report: Apple mulling bid for NFL Sunday Ticket package

Derek Wolfe #95 and Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos celebrate after Wolfe sacked Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.

Enlarge / Derek Wolfe #95 and Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos celebrate after Wolfe sacked Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (credit: Dustin Bradford | Getty Images)

The past two decades have seen Apple transform itself from a maker of expensive computers to a hardware, software, and entertainment Goliath. Live sports may be next on the agenda—according to a report in Front Office Sports, Apple is eying a multibillion-dollar bid for the National Football League’s Sunday Ticket package.

Sunday Ticket, which broadcasts out-of-market NFL games, has been carried by Directv since its launch in 1994. The rights to Sunday Ticket expire after the 2022 season, and with Directv hemorrhaging both subscribers and money, Sunday Ticket is going to have a new home for the 2023 season.

In addition to selling the rights to Sunday Ticket, the NFL is also seeking an investment partner for NFL Media, which includes the league’s website, NFL Network, and NFL RedZone. Apple would also become a minority shareholder in NFL Media, in addition to getting the streaming rights to out-of-market NFL games.

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#apple, #apple-tv, #gaming-culture, #nfl, #sports, #streaming, #sunday-ticket, #tech

Review: Fraggle Rock on Apple TV+ is the Muppet series Disney+ wishes it had

The Fraggles are back, clap, clap. And they're a blast to watch again, clap, clap.

Enlarge / The Fraggles are back, clap, clap. And they’re a blast to watch again, clap, clap. (credit: Jim Henson Company / Apple TV+)

The video-streaming world has long suffered from content fragmentation, and modern-day Muppet access is no exception. If you want to revel in all things Jim Henson, you’ll need subscriptions to no less than three streamers: Disney+ (which has the most Henson films and series), HBO Max (which has a lock on Sesame Street), and Apple TV+. In a fairer cosmos, a unified Henson+ service would let fans feast upon the entire Muppet-verse like giddy Cookie Monsters. Alas.

Those streaming services don’t just divvy up classic Muppet content, either. They each feature brand-new series from the Jim Henson Company, either with newly invented characters or old favorites reliving their glory days. Keeping up with all that content has been tricky, but we at Ars have done our best, always with the hope that one of the new properties will deliver a good-enough mix of nostalgia, production values, and freshness.

This week, Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock nails that exact combination and breathes new life into the formerly HBO-exclusive universe.

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#apple-tv, #apple-tv-plus, #fraggle-rock, #gaming-culture, #muppets

Jon Stewart’s new Apple TV+ series: Old man yells at cloud—but it hits the spot

Jon Stewart is back to TV to set some things on fire.

Enlarge / Jon Stewart is back to TV to set some things on fire. (credit: Apple TV+ / Busboy)

In Jon Stewart’s first-ever conversation with an Apple TV+ studio audience, he offers a curious send-off—in fact, it argues against the point of his new multi-million dollar hosting deal. “You’re probably just going to look at aggregated clips of” this first episode of The Problem With Jon Stewart, he says, instead of subscribing to Apple TV+. It’s a bit meandering, followed by a joke about pirating episodes of Ted Lasso.

If anybody can show up to a new streaming service and make a joke at the expense of subscriptions, it’s probably Stewart. Online video sharing—and we’re talking the renegade kind, uploaded by fans and shared freely—greatly contributed to The Daily Show‘s massive cultural footprint before Stewart left that show behind in 2015. And as you may have noticed, the TV landscape has dramatically changed since then. These days, every major player is throwing stuff at the video-streaming wall to see what sticks (or, in Quibi’s case last year, what absolutely doesn’t).

So after six years off the “fake news” desk, what path does Stewart and Apple’s new production take? His aforementioned joke may suggest a series that’s meant to be shared and remixed in small clips, but The Problem arrives with a different modus operandi: empathy, not sound bites, and patience, not pulverization. You can arguably pluck out some zingers tailor made for quick swipes on a service like TikTok, but Stewart seems more invested in relishing the full 44 minutes of each episode. As a result, this fake-news innovator spends the runtime of his new series punting the “fake” out of his reputation, expectations be damned.

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#apple-tv, #apple-tv-plus, #gaming-culture, #jon-stewart, #the-daily-show

Netflix and Apple TV+ clean up at the Emmys with ‘The Crown’ and ‘Ted Lasso’

Netflix has nabbed the most Emmys ever for a single platform with 44 including 11 for The Crown, more than double its nearest rival, HBO/HBO Max. The 2021 edition of the awards was also a watershed year for Apple TV+, which took home 10 Emmys including seven for its comedy series Ted Lasso.

To be sure, a huge chunk of Netflix’s Emmy harvest came from the 34 Creative Arts Emmys it won last week. However, it still took a further 10 primetime Emmys including acting awards for Olivia Colman, Gillian Anderson and Josh O’Connor in The Crown, along with Ewan McGregor in Halston. The Crown also won for writing and directing, while taking the prestigious best drama series prize. Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, won for best limited series.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: (L-R) Phil Dunster, Brett Goldstein, Hannah Waddingham, Jason Sudeikis, Juno Temple, Nick Mohammed, and Brendan Hunt, winners of Outstanding Comedy Series for ‘Ted Lasso,’ as well as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Goldstein), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Waddingham), and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Sudeikis), pose in the press room during the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. LIVE on September 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Apple TV+ had its best Emmys yet with 10 total, including seven in primetime. It dominated the comedy series category with seven wins for Ted Lasso, including three in the acting category for Brett Goldstein and Hannah Waddingham (best supporting actors) along with Jason Sudeikis (best actor). Ted Lasso also took the award for best comedy series.

Thanks in large part to that series, Apple TV+ fared much better than its rivals. Disney+ did beat it with 14 awards total, up from eight in 2020, but only one of those was a primetime Emmy (Hamilton for best pre-recorded variety special). Amazon and Hulu were completely shut out in 2021, after both won Emmys in 2020.

HBO and HBO Max led all rivals with 130 nominations and took 19 Emmys, including 9 in primetime. The biggest winners last night were Jean Smart for Hacks (best actress in a comedy series) and Kate Winslet for Mare of Easstown(best actress in a limited series). After she was controversially shut out of the Golden Globes nominations, Michaela Coel took the prize for best writing in a limited series for I May Destroy You.

It was notable in 2018 when Netflix managed to tie a cable network, HBO (pre-HBO Max), for the most Emmy wins. This year, it beat all rivals by a long way, and streaming platforms overall took the top four spots. Whether that can continue when the pandemic starts to wane — and subscription growth declines — remains to be seen.

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Engadget.

#apple-tv, #column, #hbo-max, #netflix, #tc, #tceng

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: ‘Silicon Valley Now Owns Hollywood’

The actor, who’s set to play the controversial Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick in an upcoming series, thinks the tech takeover may be a good thing.

#apple-tv, #audio-neutral-informative, #computers-and-the-internet, #gordon-levitt-joseph, #kalanick-travis, #silicon-valley-calif

Apple and Roku have newly upgraded streaming remotes—are they worth buying?

Apple's and Roku's new remotes are a welcome upgrade to their respective streaming experiences, and they're compatible with older models.

Enlarge / Apple’s and Roku’s new remotes are a welcome upgrade to their respective streaming experiences, and they’re compatible with older models. (credit: Corey Gaskin)

Apple and Roku know that remotes for streaming devices are important. It’s why they recently inked a deal to put an Apple TV+ button on Roku remotes going forward. It’s also why they’ve made some thoughtful upgrades to their respective streaming devices in the form of redesigned remotes. Both companies are focused on improving usability and adding features via the remote, rather than retooling the streamers themselves.

Apple’s new Siri Remote and Roku’s Voice Remote Pro are new devices that existing users can buy to make their streaming experiences much less frustrating (in Apple’s case) or easier and more feature-rich (in Roku’s). For Apple, a redesign was long overdue. Apple TV remotes have been the stuff of nightmares since the first and only redesign over half a decade ago. Roku’s remotes never had that sort of over-engineering problem—instead, they’ve suffered from the opposite issue, often feeling hollow and cheap while missing some useful functions on all but the highest-end Roku players.

Now, these remotes aren’t in direct competition with one another. And in some key areas like price and wide-ranging support, the streamers they control both fall behind the latest Google Chromecast—a device we found preferable not just to those, but to Amazon’s Fire TV platform as well. But for anyone who’s already using a streaming option from Apple or Roku, scrapping those devices entirely could be a significant waste of money and a general pain depending on their setup. Adding one of these new remotes, though, will improve the experience appreciably.

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#apple-tv, #media-streamers, #roku, #siri-remote, #tech

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, #entertainment, #foundation-tv-series, #gaming-culture, #isaac-asimov, #streaming-television, #uncategorized

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.

read more about Apple's WWDC 2021 on TechCrunch

#apple-inc, #apple-tv, #apps, #computing, #facetime, #homekit, #homepod, #ios, #ipad, #smart-speakers, #steve-jobs, #tablet-computers, #technology, #wwdc-2021

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.

read more about Apple's WWDC 2021 on TechCrunch

#amazon-prime-video, #api, #apple-inc, #apple-music, #apple-tv, #apps, #computing, #craig-federighi, #disney, #espn, #facetime, #hbo, #hulu, #ios, #itunes, #mobile-applications, #national-basketball-association, #nba, #software, #technology, #tiktok, #twitch, #wwdc-2021, #zillow

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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#apple, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-4k, #ifixit, #siri-remote, #teardown, #tech

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

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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#advertising, #app-tracking-transparency, #apple, #apple-tv, #facebook, #furry-analytics, #idfa, #ios, #ios-14, #ios-14-5, #ipad, #iphone, #privacy, #tech

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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#24-inch-imac, #apple, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-4k, #imac, #ipad, #ipad-pro, #mac, #tech

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

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

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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#120hz, #apple, #apple-card, #apple-card-family, #apple-podcasts, #apple-podcasts-subscriptions, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-4k, #apple-tv-hd, #apple-watch, #applecare, #ethernet, #ios, #ios-14-5, #ipad-pro, #ipados, #ipados-14-5, #m1, #mac-mini, #macos, #macos-big-sur-11-3, #magic-keyboard, #podcasts, #ram, #siri-remote, #spring-loaded, #tech, #tvos, #tvos-14-5, #watchos, #watchos-7-4

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

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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#a12, #a12-bionic, #apple, #apple-arcade, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-4k, #tech

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, #apple-tv, #apple-tv-4k, #homepod, #homepod-mini, #ipad, #ipad-pro, #smart-home, #smart-speaker, #streaming-box, #tech, #tvos

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

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

‘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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘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

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

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

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

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

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