Netflix updated for iOS 8, adds 1080p video playback for iPhone 6 Plus

Netflix for iPhone 6

Netflix updated its iPhone and iPad app to version 7.0 today adding optimization for the larger displays on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus introduced in September. The updated version of Netflix shows more content like titles and genres as well as previews of movies and TV shows when browsing for something to watch. In addition to optimizing the Netflix app for iPhone 6 users, Netflix says the new version of its app will now offer video playback in 1080p, full HD, for users with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Read more

Want to upgrade your iPhone 5s camera to 2k video? All you need is this app …

If you like to use your iPhone to shoot video and Apple offered to upgrade your iPhone 5s from 1080p HD to 2k video for just $7, the decision wouldn’t require much thought. That’s exactly the trick Ultrakam has pulled off with its new iPhone app.

If you’re wondering how a mere app can convert your camera to a higher resolution, it doesn’t: it simply allows the software to use more of the hardware capabilities of your camera. Apple may say that your iPhone 5s has a 1080p HD videocamera, but that’s not quite true: the camera hardware itself is capable of anything up to 3264×2448, it’s just that the software can’t process that many pixels at a sensible frame-rate …  Read more

Report: New MacBook Pros on sale Oct 24/25, iPads Oct 30/31, Mac Pro Nov 15

Image: techbeat.com

Image: techbeat.com

French site MacG, which has an imperfect track-record, claims to have been given the dates on which the new MacBook Pros, iPads and Mac Pro will go on sale. The claimed dates are:

With Apple’s media event scheduled for 22nd October, this would put the MacBook Pros on sale very quickly indeed, just two or three days later.

However, the iPad and Mac Pro dates do not make as much sense. Apple has typically launched its new iPad models on Fridays (or Saturday for the original version), making it unlikely that the new tablets would hit store shelves on a Wednesday or Thursday (as the MacGeneration report claims).

As for the Mac Pro, that machine is a built-to-order computer, so perhaps it would be difficult to pinpoint an actual launch date for that product. MacG also happened to have claimed that Apple’s event would occur today, so that does not add much credibility to these new claims.

Below is what we’re expecting to see for each product …  Read more

ASUS launching a 4k 31.5-inch monitor – but don’t expect to hook it up to your Mac just yet …

PQ321Q_Side_650

Update: Pricing has just been announced, at $3,799. Pricey, but actually not bad value in a market that had five-figure pricing not so long ago.

ASUS today revealed that it will launch a 31.5-inch 4k monitor late next month, its 3840×2160 pixels allowing four 1080p HD videos to display full-size on the same screen without overlap. A 4k monitor in such a small package is made possible by using an IGZO panel, whose smaller transistors enable greater pixel density, and is likely to be in the same league (and possibly from the same manufacturer) as the 32-inch Sharp panel we saw at CES.

However, don’t rush out to buy one just yet: it’s unlikely that even a top-spec Mac from today’s line-up would be able to drive the resolution at a decent frame-rate. But the next-generation of Haswell-powered Macs almost certainly will. Indeed, as we mentioned earlier, it’s even possible that a next-generation MacBook Air could do so … Read more

Apple *could* upgrade the little computer in the Lightning HDMI adapter to do better 1080p

Digital-A-V-connector-Lighting-take-apartWe reported over the weekend that there was some confusion over exactly how Apple’s new Lightning digital AV adapter works and why it lacks the ability to carry a native 1080p signal. One theory is that Apple was using an AirPlay wireless streaming protocol, but we’ve since learned that is not the case. According to a post  that purports to be from an anonymous Apple engineer explaining how the cables function, Apple does not use Airplay protocol. It instead uses the same H.264 encoding technology as AirPlay to encode the output into the ARM SoC. From there, the data is decoded and sent over HDMI:

It’s vastly the same thing with the HDMI adapter. Lightning doesn’t have anything to do with HDMI at all. Again, it’s just a high speed serial interface. Airplay uses a bunch of hardware h264 encoding technology that we’ve already got access to, so what happens here is that we use the same hardware to encode an output stream on the fly and fire it down the Lightning cable straight into the ARM SoC the guys at Panic discovered. Airplay itself (the network protocol) is NOT involved in this process. The encoded data is transferred as packetized data across the Lightning bus, where it is decoded by the ARM SoC and pushed out over HDMI.

Perhaps even more interesting is that Apple could improve the quality with future software updates since the firmware is stored in RAM as opposed to ROM. The poster noted that Apple deemed the quality “suitably acceptable” but *will* make improvements with future iOS updates: Read more

The Lightning Digital AV Adapter doesn’t do native 1080P out, possibly because it is an AirPlay receiver

Digital-A-V-connector-Lighting-take-apartThe hacked apart cable costs as much as a Roku because it has the same kind of horsepower

The fine software developers over at Panic are working on some new AV software, and they are investigating Apple’s new-ish Lightning Digital AV Adapter. What they found is that unlike the earlier 30-pin module, the Lightning adapter doesn’t carry a native 1080p signal. In fact, when mirroring, Apple says the optimum resolution is 1,600-by-900, and, when that signal is shown on a 1080p display, it is likely up-converted, showing artifacts consistent with streaming and uncompressing video data

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 9.40.50 PMBefore it is ripped apart, via Amazon

What’s more interesting is that they split open the cable and found a full ARM processor with 256MB of RAM to process video signals inside the adapter cable. We knew way back in September that the 8-pin adapter wouldn’t carry video natively, but Apple was able to build a cable. How? Panic thinks that it is actually streaming an AirPlay network signal through the cable, and the ARM processor is decoding it.

Why would Apple do this? It’s likely Apple wants to move people to AirPlay wireless streaming to Apple TV, so this is just a stopgap solution. Rather than making a larger Lightning cable, it sacrificed on wired video-out quality and HDMI (And VGA?) cable costs.

Update: Our friends at Braeburn and an anonymous Apple Engineer sent along their takes on the situation below:

Read more

YouTube Capture gets 1080p uploads, Vine, Google Currents 2.0, price drops, and more

YouTube-Capture-02YouTube Capture version 1.1: Google has updated its newly released YouTube Capture app with some welcomed features including 1080p video uploads:

· 1080p uploads!
· Improved audio sync
· More detailed upload feedback
· Share to networks after uploading
· Bug fixes & stability improvements

Vine — Make a scene version 1.0.2: Just released yesterday, the app for sharing short video clips (and recently acquired by Twitter) today updated with improvements to profiles and more reliable Twitter integration:

* Logging in through Twitter is more reliable
* You can now update your profile photo from your Camera Roll
* Character limit for usernames and bio field
* International keyboards have better support
* Various bugs that caused crashes have been fixed

Google Currents-01Google Currents version 2.0: Google is updating another one of its apps today, its magazine style news reader for tablets and smartphones now sports a new catalog design. The update also includes an Edition sidebar for quick access to categories, a new fast scan feature (Vertical swipe to scan an edition, horizontal swipe advances to next edition), and a new breaking stories section ranked by Google News. You can also now star to save stories for future reading: Read more

Consumer Reports also has harsh words for AppleTV

Following coming under a bit of heat for its report about the iPad running “significantly hotter than” iPad 2, Consumer Reports just published a review of the new Apple TV ahead of its full comprehensive testing. While the review could not help but praise the refreshed set-top box’s 1080p video support, Consumer Report’s “bottom line” is that the device is not worth the upgrade for second-generation Apple TV owners. It also claims the cheaper Roku and D-Link’s Boxee Box offer more content options:
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Apple’s 1080p compared with Blu-ray: Can you tell the difference?

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Along with Apple’s refreshed Apple TV capable of 1080p video output, iTunes movies also got a bump up to 1080p with the introduction of iTunes 10.6. While there were some concerns over increased file sizes, iTunes users for the most part seem to be quite pleased with the quality of iTunes movies encoded in 1080p compared to the 720p they were stuck with before. On that note, Ars Technica decided to find out exactly how the 1080p movies compare to the same content on a Blu-ray. Here is what it found:
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Apple unveils new Apple TV: Streamlined UI, 1080p video output, full HD iCloud movies, same $99 price

Apple just announced at a media event occurring in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts that an updated Apple TV set-top box is capable of 1080p video output. Of course, 9to5Mac was the first to call that one. What is better: iCloud now streams movies in 1080p—an upgrade from the previous and often criticized 720p video resolution. Even more importantly, you can now access purchased movies in iCloud any time you want, just like with music and television shows.

Also updated is the Apple TV’s user interface. It is now more streamlined and taking advantage of the full 1080p video resolution. The new interface takes clues from iOS with its shiny new icons and the beautiful Cover Flow view. The new Apple TV has the same low price of just $99 and is available for pre-order today with shipments beginning March 16. In addition to the new Apple TV, Apple has tweaked its pricing matrix for movies and television shows on iTunes to reflect 1080p content. More on that below.

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