News/Rumors

Charlie Rose offers Inside Look at Jony Ive’s ‘Secret Design Studio’ on Sunday

Jony Ive will give a rare look into Apple’s design studio in Cupertino this coming Sunday, December 20th.

CBS has already shared several photos with the official “60 Minutes” Twitter feed on Thursday showing Rose chatting up Ahrendts and Ive on Apple’s campus. 

In addition to an excursion through the design lab, Rose will also get a “first look at Apple’s store of the future” from retail chief Angela Ahrendts. One image shows the pair walking into what looks like a concept for future store, which resembles current Apple store designs with modern touches.

According to some early reports, Ahrendts would partner with Ive on an Apple Store redesign to better feature Apple Watch, but the initiative later morphed into a complete brand overhaul.

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This isn’t the first time Charlie Rose has landed an interview with notable Apple executives. He has interviewed Ive and fellow designer Marc Newson in 2013, and did a great job in his discussion with Tim Cook last year.

60 Minutes with Jony Ive and Angela Ahrendts airs this Sunday, December 20th, at 7:30PM ET & 7PM PT on CBS in the United States.

News/Rumors

Apple shuts down Topsy

Social media analytics firm Topsy Labs was shut down, according to a tweet from Topsy.

“We’ve searched our last tweet,” Topsy said in a post on Twitter.

Topsy was purchased by Apple as part of a deal in 2013 for more than $200 million. The analytics company made a wide range of products that searched and drew data from conversations happening on services like Twitter, including high-level analysis of tweets and other Twitter data to break down market trends in real time. The company could measure an ad campaign’s effectiveness. 

The company’s website is also inactive and now redirects to an Apple Support Documen texplaining iOS 9 search capabilities, including new features like proactive Siri Suggestions.

Apple has yet to acknowledge what specifically it used Topsy’s technology and talent for. In addition to Twitter, Topsy’s technology might be powering certain backend features in iOS 9 like intelligent Siri Suggestions. The new search option integrates geolocation data with data providers like Yelp! to surface nearest places of interest.

Apple shuts down Topsy

News/Rumors

Taylor Swift reveals 1989 World Tour film coming exclusively to Apple Music on Dec. 20

Apple has teamed up with Taylor Swift to provide a concert video of her 1989 World Tour exclusive to Apple Music, along with an extended holiday season promotion in the company’s retail stores and on iTunes gift cards and an appearance on Beats 1 Radio.

The singer revealed, her 26th birthday, via Twitter that an exclusive 1989 World Tour documentary will hit Apple Music on Dec. 20.  She posted a message to her Tumbr stating, “Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes! I have a little surprise for you. The 1989 World Tour LIVE. Directed by Jonas Akerlund, released on @applemusic December 20, 2015.”

It will be exclusive to only Apple Music subscribers and won’t be available for purchase though other channels. The concert will feature some big artists, too. A trailer for the documentary is available below:

Directed by Jonas Akerlund, the film includes performances from guests Mick Jagger, Justin Timberlake, Lorde, The Weeknd, Alison Krauss, Mary J Blige, Selena Gomez, John Legend, Fetty Wap, Steven Tyler and Miranda Lambert and others.

Earlier this year, Swift agreed to make her latest “1989” album available for streaming on Apple Music after prodding Apple to pay royalties to artists for music songs streamed during users’ free trial periods.

Apple TV, News/Rumors

Apple debuts Apple TV ad showcasing on-demand content and apps

Apple shared a new advertisement featuring the fourth-generation Apple TV, tvOS and the dedicated tvOS App Store, paying to third-party on-demand offerings.

The commercial, which runs 1-minute long, offers a number of shorter advertisements all focused on specific apps and games available on the device.

There is a short look at such television shows like The Muppets, The Simpsons, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Game of Thrones. Movies include The Martian, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ant Man, Inside Out and The Wizard of Oz.

The ad also pays attention to the search tools available on the Apple TV, its Siri capabilities, Apple Music, and the tvOS App Store. Apple Music integration is demonstrated with Kendrick Lamar making an appearance. The company then scrolls through the device’s home screen showing all of the variety of apps available, ranging from Crossy Road to HBO Now to NBA TV.

A number of titles are also featured, including Disney Infinity 3.0 and Guitar Hero. The ad ends with the video title: “The future of television.”

You can watch the new Apple TV ad “The Future of Television” below:

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple raises iTunes Match Music upload limits above 25,000 songs

As promised by Eddy Cue, Apple has raised the song upload/matching limit for iTunes Match and Apple Music libraries over 25,000.

Just ahead of the launch of Apple Music in late June, Eddy Cue, who serves as Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, said that the limit would rise to 100,000 around the iOS 9 release, but the increase did not occur in September when iOS 9 debuted.

Libraries that were previously held at 25,000 are now having additional tracks matched and/or uploaded, according to multiple reports.

It’s not known what the new practical limit is, and official iTunes Match documentation still refers to a 25,000-song cap.

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The new changes mean users with bigger music libraries can now enjoy the benefits of matching songs in the iTunes Cloud to make them available on all their devices. Matching tracks offers another option for users who cannot afford the more expensive 64 GB and 128 GB iPhone models by offloading local music storage to the cloud.

Update:

Eddy Cue has confirmed that the company has indeed “started rolling out support for 100k libraries.”

News/Rumors

Ford brings Siri Eyes Free support to 5 million cars

Ford officially announced the launch of Eyes Free support for over five million cars dating back to the 2011 model year via a software update to Ford’s second-generation SYNC infotainment system.

The automaker enabled Siri Eyes Free integration for more than five million vehicle owners with the release of a Sync infotainment system software update on Thursday.

SYNC, Ford’s entertainment and communications system, was designed to be flexible and updatable, just like other mobile technologies, so our customers are able to get the most out of their smartphones while behind the wheel,” said Sherif Marakby, director, Ford Electronics and Electrical Systems Engineering. “Siri Eyes-Free is another great voice-activated feature that not only adds convenience but helps our customers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.”

With Siri Eyes Free, owners of Sync-equipped vehicles will be able to use in-car microphones and speakers to interact with Siri on a connected iPhone. There is a dedicated handsfree button mounted on the steering wheel which is responsible for the same function as the home button on an iPhone. All drivers need to do is to press and hold to invoke Siri. The main options inlude placing phone calls, getting Apple Maps directions, sending and receiving text messages, setting reminders and alarms, playing music, looking up information about points of interest and more. 

Sync version 3.8 is available for cars with second-generation Sync hardware, which include MyFord Touch in North America. Those who own 2011 through 2016 model year vehicles can go to the MyFord website to register and get additional information.

By the way, Ford is planning to integrate Apple’s comprehensive CarPlay function in the Sync 3 system, a next-gen infotainment platform that ditches Microsoft for BlackBerry’s QNX software.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Adobe updated Creative Cloud with new 3D modeling app Fuse CC

Adobe updated its Creative Cloud suite of creativity apps on Monday with improvements to stalwart titles like Photoshop and Premiere Pro, while also adding a 3D character modeling tool called Fuse CC.

A number of Adobe’s apps, such as Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, and Premiere Pro CC are being updated with new Touch capabilities for use on Windows tablets and Apple trackpad devices.

Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, Lightroom CC and some others are getting minor updates alongside Adobe’s video editing apps, with features announced at Adobe MAX. Photoshop CC features a new UI, customizable toolbar, and workspaces, as well as new Artboards capabilities and tight integration with Adobe Fuse CC to create realistic human 2D models. 

Illustrator CC is updated with a new Shaper tool that includes 12 tools and panels in one, non-destructive Live Shapes, and Improved Smart Guides, and InDesign CC gets new online publishing features.

Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe’s professional video editing software, is provided with support for UltraHD formats (DNxHR, HEVC H.265, and OpenEXR) for editing 4K to 8K video footage. Premiere Pro’s Optical Flow Time Remapping allows for smooth slow-motion and speed-ramp effects, plus high-quality frame rate conversions. Adobe Premiere Pro also gets HDR support. 

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Adobe After Effects CC is being updated with support for the Lumetri Color settings presented in Premiere Pro earlier this year. With Lumetri color support, changes made in Premiere Pro will carry over to After Effects.

Adobe Audition CC features a new Remix tool for adjusting the duration of a trackg to match video content. Remix can automatically rearrange music to any duration to create custom tracks that fit video creation needs.

This update is the second major round of updates this year.

Mac, News/Rumors

Thinner MacBook Air in 13″ and 15″ sizes rumored for WWDC 2016

Apple may be getting ready to present a revamped MacBook Air at next year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, according to Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News.

The source reported on Monday that the company is working with suppliers on an all-new MacBook Air series due to launch at next year’s WWDC. 

The new MacBook Air is rumored to be slimmer and available in 13-inch and 15-inch sizes, but it wasn’t said if an 11-inch model will also be included. The slimmer design will be enabled by “fully redesigned” internal components across the board. 

Inside, the 2016 MacBook Air will be equipped with new battery packs, cooling modules, panels and more into a revamped metal chassis. 

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The company’s notebook lineup expanded earlier this year with the addition of the new MacBook, an ultrathin device carrying a 12-inch Retina display and utilizing ultra low voltage Intel chips for a fanless design.

While a reshuffled MacBook Air lineup is a possibility, today’s reports hint more on a long-awaited MacBook Pro refresh. Apple’s top-of-the-line MacBook Pro laptops are currently available in 13- and 15-inch flavors and are due for a redesign.

If the rumor is true, the company would be selling one 12-inch laptop, three 13-inch devices — iPad Pro, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro — and two 15-inch models.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Leo’s Fortune available on Mac App Store for $6.99

Leo’s Fortune, an Apple Design Award Winner at WWDC 2014, is now available on the Mac App Store for $6.99. The platforming adventure can also be downloaded for iOS, OS X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and on Mac and Windows PCs via Steam. 

Over the last year, the app has become a hit across a lot of platforms including iPhone, iPad, Android and more.

In Leo’s Fortune, players are tasked to explore lush environments from mossy forests and arid deserts, to pirate cities and snowy mountains and hunt down the cunning and mysterious thief that stole your gold.

I just returned home to find all my gold has been stolen! For some devious purpose, the thief has dropped pieces of my gold like breadcrumbs through the woods. Despite this pickle of a trap, I am left with no choice but to follow the trail. Whatever lies ahead, I must recover my fortune,” -Leopold

The game includes more than two-dozen levels to explore. Along the way, you must collect coins, pass various traps and solve physics-based puzzles. If you manage to complete the game, a hard-core mode will be unlocked. This mode allows you to beat the whole game without dying in order to unlock a special prize.

The game is pretty simple and controlled by just one button.

Leo’s Fortune HD was developed by Swedish indie studio 1337 & Senri along with Tilting Point.

Apple TV, News/Rumors

Facebook unveiled tvOS SDK with login support

Facebook has introduced its own SDK for the new Apple TV’s tvOS.

According to its blog post, the company said that using the Facebook SDK on tvOS will allow developers to build “immersive” social experiences on the platform including three features: Facebook Login, Share to Facebook and Facebook Analytics for Apps.

For Apple TV, Facebook Login allows users to easily log in to their apps  without creating multiple accounts. They need just enter a unique 8 digit code on a device, rather than using the Siri Remote to peck out their username and password.

A fast and easy way for people to log into your app and for you to provide rich, personalized experiences. To log into an app with their Facebook account, people can simply enter a confirmation code displayed on the TV into their smartphone or computer, rather than entering their username and password with the remote.

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Facebook SDK on tvOS will also bring the ability for developers to share content from the Apple TV to their Facebook accounts. Such content may include videos, images, gaming high scores, and more.

In addition, Facebook’s tvOS SDK will bring developers an easir way to track their audience and audience engagement. Developers who use the SDK will be allowed to check what type of users are viewing their apps and use that data to make more poignant decisions.

Developers can download the SDK from Facebook’s developer site.