Report: New Apple TV to be Unveiled in September, but Without Expected TV Subscription Service

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The Apple TV is also expected to gain Siri voice search support in its update this fall, as well as more on-board storage.

Chance Miller reports: According to a new report from BuzzFeed News, Apple is currently planning to unveil its refreshed Apple TV in September. The company had originally planned to unveil the device at WWDC this summer, but scrapped it from the event at the last minute. A September unveil has seemingly been expected since the announcement was pulled from WWDC.

“It was reported in the past that the device will not feature support for 4k content, as Apple feels there is not a large enough market for the feature at this time.”

The report goes on to corroborate much of what we reported earlier this year. The refreshed Apple TV is expected to be slimmer than the current-generation device and will feature Apple’s new A8 chip. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Mad Men’ Retrospective

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Mad Men Retrospective on Google Play Includes Free Episode

 writes: “Mad Men,” as it nears the finish line after eight years on TV, is getting a virtual retrospective on Google Play that will allow fans to relive the show’s run — a promo that includes free streaming access to the series’ very first episode.

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Under a pact with LionsgateGoogle Play is debuting “The Mad Men Experience,” at madmen.withgoogle.com. The website is billed as an interactive, art-exhibit-style destination set in the world of 1960s Madison Avenue with more than 300 pieces of content released for the first time in a digital environment. Those include rarely seen artwork interviews with cast audio commentaries and other features.

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The deal is Google Play’s first digital fan experience for a TV show, and it’s aimed at driving viewers to purchase episodes and full seasons of “Mad Men” from the online store. In addition, for a limited time Google Play will stream season one, episode one (“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”) for free on Google Play, available to users in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia. All prior seasons of “Mad Men” also are available for streaming on Netflix, and for purchase on Apple’s iTunes and Amazon’s Instant Video services. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Star Wars’ Films Will Be Available for Download

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“Star Wars” is finally arriving on the world’s most wretched hive of scum and villainy: the Internet.

All six “Star Wars” movies will be available to download for the first time — legally, anyway — starting Friday, April 10, from major digital retailers like iTunes, Amazon, and Vudu.

“Hard-core fans will likely want to know that the digital versions will be the same ones that the always-tweaking George Lucas released on Blu-ray, not the original theatrical versions.”

Disney and 20th Century Fox, which together control rights to the films, will make them available to purchase for digital devices individually and as a set. Previously, “Star Wars” has been available on DVD and Blu-ray, but not online.

Prices will be set by retailers. The movies will only be available to buy, not to rent via video-on-demand. Read the rest of this entry »


The Message is the Medium

Messaging Services Are Rapidly Growing Beyond Online Chat

“I PROPOSE, if and when found, to take him by his beastly neck, shake him till he froths, and pull him inside out and make him swallow himself.” It is not often that Silicon Valley’s denizens quote P.G. chat appsWodehouse. But this is what Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz, a venture-capital firm, expects the success of messaging services could do to both mobile and corporate software.

The most striking example so far of this process came on March 25th when Facebook announced at a conference in San Francisco that it has started to turn its Messenger service into a “platform” that can carry, and be integrated with, all manner of apps created by other software firms. So Facebook Messenger, which is itself an app for smartphones that run on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, will then be competing with those operating systems’ services for buying apps and downloads. In plain language, it could become the app that ate Apple’s app store.

The prospect may surprise those who thought messaging apps were just another way for teens to share this week’s tragic news about One Direction (a pop group, apparently). But their continuing explosive growth suggests that they will be a
lasting phenomenon. According to Flurry, a market-research firm, the total number of users grew by more than 100% last year (which explains why old-style text messages seem to have peaked, see chart). Together the ten biggest messaging 20150328_WBC665apps, which include KakaoTalk, Viber and WeChat, now boast more than 3 billion users. WhatsApp, the leader of the pack, alone has 700m—a big reason why Facebook last year paid $22 billion for the firm, despite continuing to develop its own Messenger app.

As the number of users has grown, specialised versions of messaging apps have emerged. What made Snapchat popular was the ability to exchange pictures that vanish after a few seconds (and often contain nudity). Secret, Whisper and Yik Yak let users remain anonymous (including bullies, unfortunately). Telegram stands out because of its strong encryption (making intelligence services unhappy). And FireChat works without cellular service: users’ phones communicate directly, which was a popular feature during recent protests in Hong Kong. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Extreme Advertising: iPhone 6 Endures 101,000 Foot Drop from Near-Space

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John-Michael Bond writes: Could your iPhone 6 case survive a 101,000 foot drop from near-space, experiencing 70 MPH winds and temperatures as low as -79 degrees F? If you have Urban Armor Gear‘s iPhone 6 case, the answer is apparently yes. The company tested its latest case with a science experiment, creating a special rig to send iOS to the fringes of space.

The flight rig contained two GoPro cameras, 1 GPS locator and a backup phone with GPS and active tracking installed. The flight lasted over 3 hours and covered 12 miles across the ground. The iPhone 6 was wrapped in our composite iPhone 6 case with no screen protector installed. The iPhone was on upon takeoff but froze and shut down as the temperature dropped. When the iPhone 6 and flight rig were found, the iPhone was powered on and tested for full functionality.

 Source: TUAW

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Smuggle This List into North Korea: Where to Find ‘The Interview’ on Christmas Day

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Sarene Leeds reports: Below (after the jump) is Sony’s completed Christmas Day release list as of this morning, but click here throughout the day for updates and for the theaters that plan to show “The Interview” starting Jan. 1.

And if you need a quick refresher on what this film is all about (North Korea, killing Kim Jong-un, bumbling journalists, Lizzy Caplan as a CIA agent – you know, harmless stuff), here are three teasers.

[Update: You can also watch “The Interview” online, starting today at 1 p.m. via YouTube Movies, Google Play, Microsoft Xbox, and at Sony’s site, seetheinterview.com. It will cost $5.99 to rent and $14.99 to purchase an HD version.]

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