News/Rumors

Sling TV streaming service available to all

Dish Network-owned streaming service Sling TV announced that its new web television service, Sling TV, is now available and will bring content from AMC.

Sling TV will allow the general public to sign up and watch live TV from a variety of networks from a Mac or iOS device, along with a number of other devices. Interested consumers can now visit Sling.com to signup and get a free 7-day trial. 

The base package is available at $20 per month and includes ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, CNN, El Rey and Galavision.

“We believe Sling TV is a game-changing service that enhances the existing television landscape. Now underserved audiences have access to the best of live TV at an affordable price,” Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch said in a release.

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AMC is promised to join the base package soon. Sling users will be given access to stream shows like The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul from AMC, or Doctor Who and Sherlock from BBC America.

Sling TV streaming service

Subscribers now have the ability to use their Sling TV login to authenticate with ESPN’s WatchESPN apps on mobile devices and the Apple TV. This can be done without extra charge for access to ESPN and ESPN2, while subscribers to the $5-per-month Sports Extra pack will be also given access to SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded and ESPN Goal Line.

The new service comes with easy navigating and intuitive interface. Users will find a lot of on screen UI elements, arrows, hamburger buttons, and more. 

Apps Lists, Mac, News/Rumors

Apple’s new Photos app for OS X: ‘significant improvement’ over iPhoto

Following the debut of the first OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 beta to developers last week, the company revealed the first beta of Apple’s new Photos application for the Mac.

Developers were given a preview of the new Photos app on Thursday, which confirmed the effort that Apple has made for years to make its two platforms into one consistent ecosystem.

Photos is expected to become a good replacement for the existing iPhoto and to some extent, Aperture.

The new app has a number of new features and functions that stood out at once. Firstly, Photos provides users with the ability to easily produce their own books, calendars, cards, and other physical items in a way that’s easier than before.

Mac owners will also be able to have all their pictures backed up and accessible on all their Apple devices.

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Additionally, the app comes with the option to intelligently decide whether to store or not store images locally on the Mac. That means, that users will be allowed to optimize their hard drive space while still having all of their photos accessible when connected to the Internet and accessing them from iCloud.

Photos for OS X also comes with a convenient optimized slideshow configuration wizard and offers an easy way to share images with others via iCloud.

Finally, even being in its beta state, the app features a clean interface.

Photos for OS X appeared to be a significant improvement for users migrating from iPhoto. Photos for OS X will be available as a public beta soon ahead of a Spring launch as a free update on OS X Yosemite.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Microsoft acquires Sunrise Calendar for $100M

Microsoft has reportedly acquired popular iOS calendar app Sunrise for “at least” $100 million.

Sunrise is an iPhone and iPad app in the App Store. It also can be downloaded for the Mac and other mobile platforms.

Sunrise will be Microsoft’s second purchase in the mobile productivity space in recent months after it acquired iOS email app Accompli for over $200 million last December. Last month, the company began revamping its mobile offerings with the release of the new Outlook email app.

Like Acompli, Sunrise also works with a number of services, not just Microsoft’s. They are Google’s calendar service, iCloud calendars, and, of course, Exchange.

There are no details on how the company plans to use Sunrise, but it is believed to serve as a standalone product while lending some technology to other Microsoft groups.

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Sunrise is currently one of the most popular third-party calendaring programms on iOS, with a 4.5-star rating from over 2,300 App Store reviews at press time.

Sunrise features a few additional abilities similar to Apple’s first-party solution, including integrated mapping to allow users to get to their events. The app also displays social events from Facebook and contacts’ birthdays. Finally, LinkedIn connectivity gives more information about the people you’re meeting up with.

Sunrise will likely be available with new Microsoft branding pretty soon.

News/Rumors

Apple testing mysterious сamera-equipped minivan

Apple seems to be preparing a significant update to its Maps application for iOS and OS X.

A few cars with what looks like a camera equipment and a LiDAR sensor mounted to the roof, were spotted around California in recent weeks. The California DMV confirmed that the vehicle was leased to the iPhone maker.

It can be a part of Apple’s mapping project, as the cameras on top of the car are similar to other mapping vehicles. The company has been planning on big update for its Maps application, with improvements for transit directions, enhanced points-of-interest data, indoor mapping and more. Apple is probably working on a feature, that is similar to Google Street View or Bing StreetSide.

Along with the cameras, a number of spinning cylindrical devices fitted to the front and rear appear to be LiDAR sensors. This laser-based technology is used to create high-resolution maps, and is also a part of the sensing systems on self-driving cars, including those made by Google.

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In addition to LiDAR and cameras, there were two small disc-shaped antennas fitted to the roof and a sensor hanging over the rear wheel, which is likely used to measure movement.

The CBS affiliate reached out to technology analyst Rob Enderle, who said it may be a test model for a self-driving vehicle.

If Apple is truly working on a Street View feature for Maps, it’s possible that users will be provided a new feature in the iOS 9 upgrade that is expected to come later this year. Apple might also include this feature in a later version of iOS.

News/Rumors

First look at Fassbender as Steve Jobs in upcoming Sorkin biopic

The Steve Jobs biopic based on Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography began filming in January, and the first photos of Michael Fassbender and Seth Rogen as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak have been revealed.

The images published on Monday by U.K. tabloid the Daily Mail offer the first look at Fassbender wearing a double-breasted jacket and bowtie with long hair combed back, presumably demonstrating the style that Steve Jobs had in the 1980s.

The set of pictures show Fassbender and Rogen talking and walking. One of the images shows the film’s director, Danny Boyle, interacting with the actors.

Steve Jobs

The pictures were taken in California, near Apple’s current headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. The filming began in nearby Los Altos where Jobs and Wozniak put together the boards of their first computer, the Apple I. Filming on the movie will reportedly take place at a limited number of places including the garage of Steve Jobs’ childhood home, two auditoriums, and a restaurant. The picture is expected to consist of three continuous scenes covering three product launches: the NeXT computer, the original iMac, and the iPod. 

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The film is now under direction of Universal Pictures, who officially announced the final cast last week. The film currently has the title of “Steve Jobs.”

Along with Fassbender and Rogen as Jobs and Wozniak, the cast also includes such notables like Kate Winslet as early employee Joanna Hoffman, Katherine Waterson as Steve Jobs’ girlfriend Chrisann Brennan, Perla Haney-Jardine as Jobs’ daughter Lisa, and Jeff Daniels as former Apple CEO John Sculley.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple wants some Watch apps launch in the App Store by February 12

Apple seems to be asking certain developers and partners to prepare their Apple Watch-compatible iPhone apps to launch in the App Store in mid-February. According to a source that spoke to MacRumors, the company has also contacted one of the biggest Apple Pay partners to ask to prepare an iOS app with WatchKit support and have it ready to launch in the App Store by February 12.

Apple is heavily testing the device, and a number of Apple engineers, employees, and testers are wearing the Apple Watch on a regular basis to help the company find out bugs and issues. MacRumors forums feature plenty of reports of Watch sightings in the Cupertino area, suggesting that employees are wearing and testing the device in the wild. There are also some photos that appear to show someone, likely an Apple employee, wearing the device in public, around San Francisco’s Marina area.

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Apple will likely introduce its high-profile partner’s app in an upcoming launch event to demonstrate how Apple Pay works on the Apple Watch. Apple Pay is expected to be a key feature of the Apple Watch, allowing users to authorize credit card payments right from their wrists. According to early reports, the Apple Watch will be able to authenticate payments biometrically, requiring a passcode when the product is first placed on a wrist and again if it loses skin contact. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this week that the company’s new device is still under development and will hit the market at some point in April. The exact price for the Apple Watch is still unclear, but will start at $349 for the least expensive option.

Accessories, News/Rumors

iRing-motion controller to direct your music on iPhone and iPad

Motion control continues to enter the tech world and one of the latest inventions is a really brilliant idea. IK Multimedia’s iRing turns your iPad into a musical instrument and allows users to control music using hand gestures alone.

The iRing system consists of two pedestal-like objects, which you place between your fingers on each hand. There are three linear dots on one side and three dots aligned like a triangle on the other. Each side has a various pattern that the iRing Music Maker recognizes. The triangular ring should be worn on your left hand and the linear one on your right. To produce different control results, you are tasked to waving your hand in different directions. The triangle pattern ring must be used to speed up or slow down the beat by moving your hand closer to and further from the iPad camera. With the iRing you can control what type of bass line you will use. You are also given the ability to randomize the loops by rotating your hand 90 degrees. The patterns controls are ranged depending on how close or far you are from the screen.

The iRing requires no batteries, no constant app updates, or any special drivers. They fit between two fingers like some high-tech brass knuckles, so, they fit every size hand. They are very comfortable to wear for a long time, as each ring weighs just 5.67 grams.

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The new accessory makes it possible for you to mix loops, trigger beats, and set parameters using the special iRing Music Maker app.iPhone and iPad

iRing FX/Controller is a free companion app, which provides a simple interface for playing electronic music on the fly. Once the app installed, open it up, register your iRing, and start making music.

The Ring system is available for $24.99 and can be ordered via the IK Multimedia website.

News/Rumors

Apple released iTunes 12.1 with OS X Notification Center widget

Apple has update its iTunes on OS X, adding support for a Notification Center widget. 

The music management app was refreshed for OS X Yosemite back in October of last year. The update comes titled as iTunes 12.1, and it includes a new media control widget for Notification Center, which is tasked to allow users to control their music and purchase songs from iTunes Radio directly from the system-wide panel.

The widget provides users with back, forward and pause buttons, similar to the buttons on the Lock screen and in Control Center of iOS, as well as track information. Additionally, when playing iTunes Radio, the widget lets you favorite songs.

While the most functions of the new widget are similar to those in iTunes’s MiniPlayer, such MiniPlayer features, like volume adjustment, library search, or track listings are not available in the widget. The widget also does not show cover art.

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The 12.1 update is available for both Windows and Mac, and the company notes that in addition to the new widget, it also improves performances when syncing with iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

The widget can be activated following the update by opening Notification Center and clicking the Edit button at the bottom.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Microsoft launched Outlook for iOS

Microsoft launched Outlook for Android and iOS phones and tablets.

Outlook is an email service, based on the Acompli software that the company purchased in December for $200 million.

“We’re excited about what’s possible as we build on the app’s success and bring it together with work currently in progress by the Outlook team,” said Rajesh Jha, VP of Outlook. “Our goal is to deliver fantastic cross-platform apps that support the variety of email services people use today and help them accomplish more.”

The new app is tasked to replace all of Microsoft’s current number Outlook-branded apps, including the Outlook.com app for Android and the rather limited OWA apps for Android and iOS that only work for paying Office 365 subscribers. Those older services will still be available, but the company plans to converge those experiences over time.

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The app works with Microsoft’s own Outlook.com and Office 365 services, while iCloud, Gmail, and Yahoo email accounts can be plugged into the app, and attachments can be added to messages from cloud services like Google Drive and Dropox.

Outlook for iOS also comes with quick gestures, which means users can simply swipe to delete, archive or schedule messages.

The Outlook app is an absolutely new app, not an update of an existing one. You will be able to download it on the App Store on Thursday.

The Outlook app is expected to feel almost like the original Acompli apps. The company has already added a couple of minor Office-app like touches, including a colored ribbon-like UI.

News/Rumors

Universal Pictures announces cast list for “Steve Jobs” biopic

After a rough road, the “Steve Jobs” biopic is finally up and running.

Universal Pictures has finally announced the set-in-stone cast for the upcoming movie, adding that the picture has begun shooting in San Francisco. The film will be titled “Steve Jobs” and based on the biography by Walter Isaacson. The project was previously in development at Sony, and rumored to star David Fincher, Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio as Steve Jobs, but Sony had to drop the project, after which Universal picked it up. 

A couple of weeks ago, the film has started principal shooting under the direction of Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle in the exact same garage where Jobs and his friends built the first Apple computer.

As previously rumored, Michael Fassbender, better known for his role in X-Men: Days of Future Past and 12 Years a Slave, will play the role of Steve Jobs, while Seth Rogen will join the project as a company cofounder Steve Wozniak.

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Michael Fassbender

The role of former Apple CEO John Sculley was given to Jeff Daniels, while Kate Winslet will play a former Mac marketing lead Joanna Hoffman. Katherine Waterston will take a role of Jobs’ former girlfriend Chrisann Brennan and Michael Stuhlbarg- a famed Mac programmer Andy Hertzfeld.

Kate-Winslet

Kate Winslet

The latest reports also reveal several new bits of casting, including Sarah Snook as Andrea Cunningham and Adam Shapiro as Avie Tevanian.

The biopic is set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac.