Archive for August, 2015

Apple reportedly preparing in-house video productions, bid on Top Gear successor

Apple TV

According to a new report out of Variety, Apple is looking to enter the TV and movie production industry in a way similar to how Netflix has recently done. The report claims that Apple has been looking to hire both actors and directors to create production divisions that would produce exclusive long-form content in-house.

Specific details regarding the idea are unclear at this point as it appears to still be in the early stages of development. Apple could potentially charge a monthly subscription price for access to its in-house content, or it could sell it ala-carte like it currently sells iTunes content. It’s also unclear if Apple plans to focus on producing TV shows, movies, or both. The report cites one high-level executive who claims that Apple is looking to compete directly with Netflix and its original series content with its offerings. Netflix offers both original TV shows and movies, including hits like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and the upcoming Fuller House

Specifically, Apple is said to have made a bid to hire the stars of the BBC series Top Gear, but Amazon won out in the end and secured Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond for its own original content.

The scale of Apple’s ambitions vary depending on whom is asked, but one high-level executive who talked with the company said the goal is to create development and production divisions that would churn out long-form content to stream in a bid to compete with Netflix. Apple is hoping to put a headhunting firm on those hires in the coming months, according to source, with the goal of being in operation next year. Unknown is whether the focus is on TV series, movies–or both.

Apple producing its original content has been something that’s been brought up several times in the past, but with the launch of Beats 1 and the company’s exclusive music offerings, producing in-house video content seems like the logical next step. A job listing earlier this summer suggested that Apple was already producing in-house music videos for Apple Music artists.

This news comes on the heels of Apple’s rumored plans to offer a web cable subscription service, offering a package of channels for a set monthly price. The company is expected to introduce a new Apple TV at an event next month with support for an App Store, gaming, Siri, and much more.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple TV, Content, Hollywood, in house production, movies, TV

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Chance Miller

August 31st

Apple

Mac

Android Wear on iOS: Setup and first impressions [Video]

android-wear-iphone-6

Android Wear finally has iOS support after Google pushed its iPhone-compatible software to the App Store. This means that Android has beaten Apple Watch to the cross-platform game. Or, at least it would, if iOS didn’t restrict it to a state of almost uselessness. The only device officially supported is the LG Watch Urbane although — as we previously revealed — the older generation Android Wear watches do work. I got it set up with my Moto 360, and have been mostly disappointed by my experience so far.

My Moto 360 runs the latest Android Wear 1.3 build, and with any Android smartphone is capable of a great many things. I have a plethora of watch faces available to download from the Play Store, some of them interactive, and many, many apps to interact with by voice command or touchscreen gesture.  To go from that, to only being able to see calendar events, weather, reminders and Gmail is anticlimactic to say the least. At worst, I was expecting to be able to see SMS message notifications and not much else, but I don’t even have those. Regardless of hardware, new or old, this restriction won’t change with iOS until Apple says so.

My other frustrations I feel are mostly to do with having a 1 year-old smartwatch. Voice commands take forever to register and load, and even when it looked like it was about to do something, I’d get a pop up notification telling me my phone was no longer connected. Nothing has worked properly, apart from the very first few minutes of setting up and going through the simple tutorial. To say it has been a waste of time would be putting it mildly.

If you haven’t downloaded the Android Wear app for your iPhone yet, and still want to give it a try, you can download it here for free. If you don’t have an Android Wear smartwatch to try it with, you can pick one up for as little as $130 online.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Android Wear, App Store (iOS), Apple Inc, Google, Google Now, Google Play, iOS, iPhone, Setup, video

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Cam Bunton

August 31st

Apple

Mac

Former Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced to cut 40% of workforce as restructuring continues

apple-watch-sapphire

Nearly a year ago, Apple’s sapphire supplier GT Advanced Tech announced that it was filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, with the company parting ways with Apple as part of the restructuring. Today, The Wall Street Journal reports that GT Advanced Tech will be reducing its workforce by another 40 percent in an effort to further cut costs.

GT Advanced Technologies already laid off around 700 workers when it initially announced its plans to file for bankruptcy. While it’s unclear how many people will be getting laid off in this wave of cuts, the company says the lay offs will save it some $20 million per year and help it “right size” its costs.

Apple and GT Advanced severed ties when the latter company announced that it was filing for bankruptcy. At the time, however, GT noted that the parting was amicable. GT paid off many of its debts by selling the sapphire furnaces that it had purchased for its Arizona plant.

The company, which had already laid off some 700 workers at a former Arizona sapphire-manufacturing facility, said the further cuts will save it $20 million a year and help it “right size” its costs after exiting chapter 11, according to papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manchester, N.H.

The number of workers getting pink slips is unclear. A company spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment. GT Advanced had about 1,000 employees when it filed for bankruptcy in October.

Earlier this month we reported that the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will not feature sapphire displays, leaving Apple Watch as the only Apple product that uses the material. The effects of GT Advanced Tech’s struggles on Apple are still unclear on the surface, but the company’s downfall likely contributed in some way, shape, or form to the lack of a sapphire iPhone, although there would be many trade-offs to using it.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple watch, GT Advanced, iPhone, Sapphire, supplier

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Chance Miller

August 31st

Apple

Mac

Samsung Announces The Samsung Gear S2, Now More Round

Samsung product image-1 Samsung has just announced their new smartwatch, the Samsung Gear S2. The watch is unique in that it has a round rotating bezel – the thing on the edge of the crystal – in addition to two buttons on the side for home and back. It runs Samsung’s Tizen OS, a system used by Samsung in their original Gear models. Samsung, however, isn’t announcing compatibility today… Read More

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John Biggs

August 31st

Gadgets

Apple gives new look at Campus 2 construction progress in updated aerial photo

Campus-2-Aug-31

In an updated aerial photo published today, Apple gives us our latest look at construction progress on its new ‘Campus 2’ building in Cupertino.

In the photo, we get a closer look at new developments on the main building, as well as the surrounding campus including a planned 1,000 seat auditorium, 300,000 square foot R&D facilities, a parking structure and other buildings separate from the main circular structure. The photos were published to the City of Cupertino’s webpage tracking progress and road closures on the project for the public.

Apple hasn’t updated its planned general project schedule on the City of Cupertino’s website and still plans to complete building construction on Campus 2 by the end of 2016 when it can begin to move in approximately 13,000 of its employees.

We’ve been keeping track of construction progress on Campus 2 with the latest photos, news, and drone flyovers in our timeline here.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: aerial, Apple, Apple Campus 2, auditorium, Campus, campus 2, Construction, Cupertino, flyover, photo

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Jordan Kahn

August 31st

Apple

Mac

Apple TV catches Game Pass service featuring live preseason football games on updated NFL app

Apple TV NFL Game Pass

Apple TV users may notice a new coat of paint on the NFL app today. That’s because the set-top box’s NFL channel has received a major update that adds the new Game Pass feature for football fans. We first learned last month that the NFL’s Game Pass service was headed to Apple TV.

Game Pass on Apple TV currently offers up both live and on demand preseason football games both in full and condensed versions for subscribers, plus highlights from each game that anyone can view for free. Game Pass also boasts featuring every NFL game since 2012 in HD without commercials including the last Super Bowl. Beyond 2012, Game Pass includes footage dating back to 2009.

Apple TV NFL Game Pass

Subscribing to Game Pass through Apple TV costs $99.99 with a subscription running through July 31st of next year. Aside from being able to view preseason games out of market, Game Pass offers up “all 256 regular season games on-demand” across various platforms. While it still doesn’t offer up live gameplay for regular season games, a subscription does include access to gameday audio. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the new feature highlighted next week as Apple unveils an updated Apple TV box on September 9th.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple TV, Football, Game Pass, NFL

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Zac Hall

August 31st

Apple

Mac

Google+ for iOS updated with ‘Collections’ feature

Google+ Collections iOS

Google+ Collections, a feature that lets like-minded Google+ users connect in forums organized by topic, today comes to iOS devices after first rolling out for Android and web users a few months back.

Users can create Collections for topics they’re interested in and follow Collections created by other users to keep track of posts related to their interests. Google shared a few examples of popular Collections including Homebrewing, Climbing Junkie Photos, Magical, Mystical Mountains and Marine Life. It also features select Collections on a webpage here for easy searching.

When you post a Collection, Google notes that you’ll be able to customize who sees it thanks to recent improvements to the feature on Android that also come to iOS today. It also recently added the ability to add taglines to Collections and search for them on mobile devices. 

The Collections feature is available now in the updated Google+ iOS app with version 4.8.5.


Filed under: Apps Tagged: Android, collections, Google, iOS, iPad, iPhone, update, version 4.8.5, web

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Jordan Kahn

August 31st

Apple

Mac

Apple TV 4 Will Retail Under $200 Starting In October: Report

Apple TV Though there has been quite a bit said about the forthcoming Apple TV 4, price is still a yet-to-be-determined factor. But 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman has sources who say the new box, reportedly powered by an A8 chip, will retail for under $200 (either $149 or $199). The Apple TV is set to be unveiled alongside the next-gen iPhones at a September 9 event, according to sources.… Read More

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Jordan Crook

August 31st

Apple

Gadgets

Eatsa, A Futuristic Restaurant Where Robot Cubbies Serve Quinoa

eatsa Eatsa has no lines because it has no cashiers. You order on an iPad, your name comes up on a transparent LCD screen box, and you pull out a bowl of quinoa. Opening today in San Francisco at 121 Spear St, Eatsa is a new restaurant designed around technology. Eatsa only serves quinoa, a couscous-like grain that’s high in protein and absorbs flavor well, but is cheaper and more… Read More

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Josh Constine

August 31st

Gadgets

Newer Android Wear Watches Now Work On iOS

android_wear_ios More than a year after the launch of the first Android Wear watches, Google is now finally bringing iOS support to its smartwatch platform with the launch of its Android Wear mobile app in Apple’s App Store today. This probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise, given that Huawei spoiled this launch by announcing iOS support for its upcoming Android Wear watch last week,… Read More

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Frederic Lardinois

August 31st

Gadgets
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