Tim Cook’s pitch for the fourth generation Apple TV so far has been largely that “the future of TV is apps”, and this week yet another premium cable and satellite network is launching a standalone version of its network for cord cutters. Starz, which before now has required a traditional cable or satellite package for access, is launching a streaming version of its network for a monthly rate competitive to HBO and Netflix. The new Starz app is available on iPhone, iPad, and the fourth generation Apple TV for $8.99/month if you don’t have the network in your cable package. Also in the streaming space, we learned today that Twitter has emerged victorious is scoring the rights to stream 10 NFL “Thursday Night Football” games in the next season…
Apps April 5
At a time when so many Facebook posts comprise a photo and a brief comment, there’s one group of people who get rather left out of the picture: those who are blind and partially sighted. That’s a problem Facebook is fixing, starting from today. The iOS app now uses artificial intelligence to figure out the content of photos, and Apple’s VoiceOver feature to read aloud a description of them.
The Verge got a demo of the feature, which Facebook calls ‘automatic alt text.’
Automatic alt text, which is coming to iOS today and later to Android and the web, recognizes objects in photos using machine learning […] While still in its early stages, the technology can reliably identify concepts in categories including transportation (“car,” “boat,” “airplane”), nature (“snow,” “ocean,” “sunset”), sports (“basketball court”), and food (“sushi”). The technology can also describe people (“baby,” “smiling,” beard”), and identify a selfie.
Facebook said that there were two approaches it could have taken to the problem, and it chose the one it believed would be most successful …
Apps April 4
Popular commenting service Disqus today has announced its first ever iOS app. The app is available now in the App Store for free and allows users to track notifications relating to their comments as well as discussions from channels and websites they follow. The app’s interface is pretty standard, with home, channel, notification, and profile tabs along the bottom.