Opinion: My cable subscription woes and the appeal of an ‘Apple Cable’ service

Apple TV HBO Now

My cable provider is pretty terrible. I don’t need to name any names because this likely applies to your cable provider as well. They are all horrible. I often experience drops on popular channels, get bonus filler channels that no one wants, and see indiscriminate additional subscription fees and charges without any real reason. This Onion article, though it is satire, doesn’t stray too far from the truth.

For a very casual TV watcher, it’s not a great experience – to put it mildly.

So the prospect of an Apple web TV service with a price tag of around $40, as the WSJ and others reported last night, is highly appealing to me if it means I can catch the few shows I watch now without the hassle of my cable subscription. I’ll still be tied to the monopolies for Internet service which isn’t terrific, but the theoretical ‘Apple Cable’ service has the potential to fix a number of problems for me.

Apple started off its March event with the announcement that HBO Now, the premium network’s new $15/month web service, will be available with 3-month exclusivity on the App Store and Apple TV at launch next month. While we’ve heard for quite some time that Apple is developing a web TV service, and the upcoming HBO Now channel seems to be the best taste of what that could offer. I’m hopeful that the potential ‘Apple Cable’ can solve my cable subscription woes. Here’s how:

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Opinion: Don’t hold your breath for real Nintendo games on your iPhone or iPad

marioipad

My feelings for Nintendo are complicated. I’ve loved its games ever since the original Donkey Kong, owned every Nintendo console (including the Virtual Boy), and recommended the Wii U as the best game console for families and kids. But if I was mildly displeased with Nintendo as a company during its haughtiest years — the time when most of its key third-party developers walked away — I’m downright angry with it today. At a press conference in Japan this morning, Nintendo announced its second collaboration with a mobile game publisher in two months, the headline from which was what millions of people have been waiting years to read:

“Nintendo to start making iPhone games, including first-party IP like Mario.”

Sure, the official Nintendo press release actually says “smart devices” including phones and tablets, but iPhones and iPads are a safe bet. The press release also says “gaming applications” rather than games, but a press release from Nintendo’s new mobile partner DeNA confirms that the companies will indeed produce mobile games together. Just think about it: Super Mario World on the iPad! Donkey Kong Country on the iPhone! That’s just what everyone has wanted! But there’s a catch…

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NBC plans cable-dependent Apple TV app for second half of 2015

9to5NBC

Despite reports that NBC Universal is not involved in negotiations for Apple’s upcoming subscription TV replacement service, NBC still hopes to arrive on the Apple TV as soon as the second half of 2015, according to a source with knowledge of NBC’s digital roadmap. A recent presentation slide provided by the source shows that NBC wants to launch Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox apps during the second half of this year, following its existing apps for iOS and Android devices. NBC also would like to add new affiliate stations, Nielsen Rating integration, and support for Google’s Chromecast

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Nintendo to start making iPhone games, including first-party IP like Mario

The jailbreak community has worked to get Mario onto the iPhone for years.

The jailbreak community has worked to get Mario onto the iPhone for years.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has finally decided that it is time to start making mobile games for platforms like the iPhone. The company has confirmed it will begin developing titles for smartphones and other mobile devices (presumably, ‘tablets’) featuring famous franchises like Mario.

Until now, Nintendo has been resistant to share its first-party intellectual property  (‘IP’) outside of its own consoles. Clearly, it was worried that bringing characters like Mario to the iPhone would cannabilize sales of its own hardware like the Nintendo DS.  However, as part of a new partnership with a mobile gaming company, there has clearly been a change of heart by Nintendo executives.

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Apple Online Store goes down ahead of Spring Forward event

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 12.02.14The Apple Store is down, in preparation for announcements later today at Apple’s Spring Forward event. The store going down is a very strong indicator that something new will be available to buy after the event is over — but what products? The most likely answer is new MacBooks.

There is also the potential of Apple Watch preorders, although these are more likely to take place in a couple of weeks, assuming an April launch.

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‘Spring forward’ banners start going up at Yerba Buena ahead of March 9 event

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The banners for the Spring Forward Apple event have started going up at Yerba Buena, in preparation for March 9th. As is usual, the display mirrors the logo and patterns seen on the event invite sent last week. Apple has already been setting up an outdoor structure behind the venue, which will likely become the demo area for press when the event is over.

More pics below (we’ll update as the workers fill in the banner)  …

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Google said to be planning iOS support for Android Wear, could debut at I/O conference

android-wear

Last month a developer managed to hack together a solution that enabled iPhone users to see their notifications on Google’s Android-powered wearable operating system, but at the moment there is no official way to use the two competing platforms together. That could change at Google’s annual I/O conference later this year, if new rumors are to be believed.

According to French tech blog 01Net, Google is developing an update to Android Wear that would enable it work with Apple’s iOS devices…

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Gartner: iPhone worldwide sales topped Samsung in holiday quarter, but Samsung won the year

iphones

Gartner is out with its latest report tracking smartphone movement during the previous year and more specifically the holiday quarter.

Headlining the report is news that over 1 billion smartphones were sold in 2014, a data point IDC first said was hit in the previous year, adding that two out of three phones sold last year qualified as smartphones.

Gartner’s data shows Apple topped Samsung in worldwide smartphone sales with 74,832,000 units shipped during the holiday quarter, just 1.8 million units more than Samsung, giving Apple 20.4% market share for the quarter, a virtual tie with Samsung’s 19.9%. Read more

Apple constructing outdoor building next to Yerba Buena, likely demo area for Watch event on March 9th

yerba-beuna

We have received images of a white building under construction behind the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, the venue for Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ event on March 9th. The tipster said that security guards are patrolling the scene, wearing ‘Apple Security’ shirts, confirming the connection between the building and Apple.

Apple built a similar external structure for the Apple Watch’s original unveiling in September, which acted as a demo hall for the products (iPhone 6 and Apple Watch) that Apple had announced at the event prior. Given the similarities, it is likely that this is the purpose of this new building as well.

It is worth noting, however, that in the past Apple has simply used side rooms inside Yerba Buena for its demo areas. Unlike the Flint Center, previous events show that there is space for indoor demos if Apple wanted to use it.

More images after the break …

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Tim Cook says terrorism should not scare people into giving up their privacy

Tim Cook White House Summit on Cybersecurity

In the second half of The Telegraph’s interview with Tim Cook, Apple CEO Tim Cook has reaffirmed his position on privacy. Cook says that whilst currently consumers do not understand the ramifications of sharing their data with third-parties, “one day they will”.

Moreover, Cook openly objects to governments that say data sharing is required to combat crime and terrorism. There has been pressure for tech companies to offer back-doors into encryption mechanisms, but a clear implication of this interview is that Apple will strongly oppose this view. Cook describes privacy as a ‘basic human right’. Read more