Apple reportedly offering viewer data to TV partners to help solidify content deals

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With rumors flying about an Apple television subscription service in the works for release this year, new details have started to emerge about what kinds of deals the tech company will make with its content partners. The NY Post says that these deals will involve Apple turning over certain data about its users to programmers to help solidify its agreements.

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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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WSJ: Apple announcing $30-40/month Web TV service in June, shipping in September with 25+ channels

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According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple plans to launch an online TV service this fall with support for “about” 25 channels. According to the report, the service will debut on all of Apple’s iOS devices, ranging from the Apple TV to the iPhone and iPad, and will be announced in June (which is also when the Beats overhaul will debut) and fully released in September of this year. Industry executives said that the service will be priced between $30 and $40 when it launches. Of the 25 channels, the service will be headlined by ABC, CBS and Fox.

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Roundup: All the news from Apple’s Spring Forward event

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Apple’s Spring Forward event on March 9 was packed with news, including everything from expected Apple Watch announcements to the debut of the Retina 12″ MacBook, a price drop for Apple TV, the announcement of ResearchKit, and the release of iOS 8.2. Here’s everything you need to know.

First, the Apple TV dropped in price from $99 to $69, and got a three-month exclusive window to launch HBO Now, a standalone $15/month to HBO TV content and on-demand library.

Second, Apple announced ResearchKit, enabling iPhone users to opt-in to large-scale medical research studies using all-new apps to track and provide health information. Five initial apps were released, including heart, glucose, breast cancer, asthma, and Parkinson’s research tools.

Third, Apple officially unveiled the all-new 12″ MacBook, its thinnest and lightest Mac laptop yet, with a Retina display, single USB-C port, and Force Touch trackpad, starting at $1,299. A collection of new USB-C adapters are required to connect the MacBook to traditional USB devices and wired displays. It also updated the older MacBook Air and 13″ Retina MacBook Pro with faster Intel Broadwell processors, faster SSDs, and battery improvements.

Fourth, the Apple Watch finally got its long-awaited battery life (18 hours) and pricing ($349/$549/$10,000/$17,000) details, plus preorder (April 10) and launch (April 24) dates. Additional details on real-world Apple Watch 38mm and 42mm battery life, as well as warranty details, were quietly released online. A small collection of Apple Watch apps were shown off, and accessories including bands and chargers also got priced ($29-$449). One of the accessories actually includes two separate bands in one package.

After the event, Apple released iOS 8.2 with Apple Watch support and Health improvements. It also published the official event video, as well as separate Jony Ive-narrated videos showing the aluminum, steel, and gold manufacturing processes for the Apple Watches. To help customers plan their Watch band purchases, Apple released a new band size guide showing the wrist sizes that will fit each of the numerous types of bands (in millimeters).

Apple Events channel appears on Apple TV, ready for livestreaming ‘Spring Forward’ event later today

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As is the norm nowadays, the Apple Events channel has appeared on the Apple TV ahead of Apple’s Spring Forward event later today. From 10 AM PDT, Apple will be live streaming the entire presentation, for those not lucky enough to be there in person.

Customers can follow along on the Apple TV, or online at http://apple.com/live. 9to5Mac will also have full coverage of all the announcements, so stay tuned.

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Apple plans relaunched Beats streaming music service for WWDC, skipping March event; Apple TV still coming

iPhone 6 Beats Music

Apple won’t take the wraps off of its upcoming Beats-based music streaming service at its March 9 “Spring Forward” event, according to music industry sources briefed on the launch timeline. Instead, Apple currently plans to introduce the service, at least in beta form, at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in early June. The WWDC keynote likely takes place on Monday, June 8th, and that’s the event where the debut will occur. The new iTunes music streaming service is based on technology acquired from Beats Music, including curated playlists, cloud-based libraries, and offerings customized to the musical tastes of individual users. The service will be priced as high as $7.99 per month, which is less expensive than current $9.99 pricing for Beats Music, Spotify, and Rdio…

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Opinion: Apple TV should get these 10 updates at next week’s event, but probably won’t

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Nearly eight years have passed since Apple released the first-generation Apple TV, a product originally hyped as “something really special” but quickly demoted to a “hobby” after initial sales fizzled. The second-generation version arrived with much less fanfare in late 2010, and the modestly tweaked third-generation model got a mere five-minute launch at a March event three years ago. Since then, there’s been plenty of evidence that Apple was working on updated hardware, a major partnership with cable companies, and major new content deals, but apart from the quiet addition of new channels, nothing’s actually happened.

Since total Apple TV sales remain soft by comparison with Apple’s other product lines, next week’s fashion-focused and celebrity-packed Apple Watch special event would be a great opportunity to launch an updated Apple TV to a broader audience. The current-generation Apple TV is older than its predecessor was when Apple replaced it, and there are at least 10 software and hardware tweaks that could fundamentally improve the Apple TV experience. Here’s our list of 5 features Apple TV really needs, and 5 features it would really benefit from having…

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Apple TV content refresh serves up Tennis Channel Everywhere

Apple TV Tennis Channel

Following the addition of the official Cricket Australia channel for Apple TV users down under earlier this week, Apple refreshed its video streaming box for US users Friday night with new content through the Tennis Channel Everywhere service. The new Apple TV channel features both on-demand tennis and live matches with an optional annual subscription. Read more

AllCast media streaming app makes it to iOS, works with Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, FireTV and more

The AllCast media streaming app–which allows photos, music and video to be beamed from a mobile device to an Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, FireTV and a range of smart TVs–has now made it to iOS, following the release of the Android app last month (shown in the above video). It’s compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and is optimized for iPhone 5 and up.

The app works in a very similar way to the Chromecast stick–or, as the developer puts it, “no setup necessary, it just works like magic” …  Read more