Sony leaks reveal Apple TV and iTunes Store contracts, Sex Tape + Breaking Bad deals with Apple

MacBook Breaking Bad Sticker

Known for publishing previously confidential documents, WikiLeaks has released a large collection of emails from last year’s widely publicized hack of Sony, notably including Apple agreements covering Sony’s Crackle Apple TV channel, video sales through iTunes, and other topics. The leaks include:

  • The terms of Apple’s agreement to add Sony’s Crackle video service to the Apple TV, notably including a 3-year term (starting December 11, 2013), Sony’s retention of 100% of advertising revenue, and a promise that Apple will permit new types of overlaid/display ads on Crackle if it becomes technically feasible and Apple OKs it. Few details were previously known about the business terms between Apple and channel providers for the Apple TV.
  • Apple’s agreements to distribute Sony videos through the iTunes Store, including the original 2007 agreement between the companies covering TV shows such as Charlie’s Angels and Who’s The Boss, term extensions and high-definition amendments, and the addition of iTunes in the Cloud (which Apple originally called “Virtual Storage Locker”).
  • Sales forecasts for Sony games sold in the App Store, as well as charts suggesting that Sony’s iPhone and iPad game revenues far surpassed the amounts made on competing platforms.

The leaks go on to describe Apple and Sony product tie-ups, including the iPad’s “character” role in the film Sex Tape, as well as Sony’s internal reaction to Apple’s “Stickers” ad featuring a Breaking Bad reference, and an apparent effort by Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg urging Sony not to collaborate with Apple…
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The best Apple Watch headphones and earphones

Up until now, Bluetooth wireless audio was purely optional for Apple’s devices: every iPad, iPhone, and iPod has shipped with a 3.5mm audio port to connect with wired earbuds and headphones. The Apple Watch is different: it’s Apple’s first fully wireless device, with no user-accessible ports to connect accessories, even though it can work as a standalone music player during workouts. The lack of a headphone port is actually a positive, since tethering your wrist to your head with a cable would look silly, and isn’t ergonomically ideal. Thankfully, Bluetooth headphones have come a long way over the past few years, shrinking from gangly and boxy earmuffs into earphones comfortable enough to exercise with.

Since one of the Apple Watch’s major selling points is fitness functionality, this quick guide to the best Apple Watch headphones and earphones focuses mostly on accessories that can work anywhere, rather than options you can’t wear while exercising. But I’ll include some larger options, too, just in case you’re picking a pair for non-athletic use, or to share with your iPad, iPhone, iPod, or Mac…

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Opinion: As Nintendo ponders iOS, it’s time for Mac console game emulators to shine

mariogalaxyemu

When Nintendo announced last week that it will collaborate with DeNA to release iPhone and iPad games, gamers split into two camps: people intrigued by the promise of brand new Nintendo titles designed for mobile devices, and others — including myself — who expect Nintendo to release shallow mobile minigames, mostly to promote console titles. Nintendo hasn’t actually committed to bringing the Super Mario games people love into the App Store; instead, it’s saying only that its characters will appear in new titles that won’t require complex controls. The implication is that only Nintendo consoles are capable of playing Nintendo’s console games.

I disagree with that. For years, Macs and PCs have been able to run thousands of classic console and arcade games, including Nintendo’s best-known titles, using emulators. These free programs let discontinued, often HDTV-incompatible games play on computers — in many cases, with noticeably better graphics than you remember. Freed from the fuzzy, low-contrast televisions people used to own, classic games can look pixel-sharp on Retina displays, and some emulators actually improve the edges and textures of 3-D objects. Nintendo may not want you to play its prior console games on your favorite Apple device’s screen, but thanks to emulators, it’s possible today. The picture above? That’s Super Mario Galaxy, running on a Retina MacBook Pro…

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The iPhone and iPad reportedly captured 93% of mobile device profits in holiday quarter, 79% across 2014

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Apple reported the largest profit ever recorded by a public company in the holiday quarter, mostly driven by sales of 74 million iPhones with an average selling price of $687. According to Cannacord, this meant Apple captured 93% of handset smartphone profits. Perhaps more staggering is that it claims Apple dominated on similar levels across the entire of 2014 — with 79% of mobile device profits.

The analyst expects continued growth for the iPhone for the next few users, with an estimated 650 million iPhone users by the end of 2018.

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NYT: Apple declined offer from Sony Pictures to stream ‘The Interview’ on iTunes

o-THE-INTERVIEW-TRAILER-facebook

Update: Sony has now announced that “The Interview” will be available on YouTube, Google Play, and Xbox Video today, December 24th, at 1PM Eastern. The film will cost $14.99 to own or $5.99 to rent. Google Play Movies & TV is available for iOS on the App Store.

The New York Times reported earlier today that Sony Pictures had approached Apple about the possibility of streaming the upcoming film “The Interview,” which features actors James Franco and Seth Rogen (who will also appear in the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic) as a US talk show host and producer tasked by the CIA with assassinating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.

Earlier this month, hackers with ties to North Korea breached Sony’s system, stole terabytes of data, and threatened physical attacks against theaters that showed the movie. Most national theater chains backed out of the premiere and Sony decided to scrub the entire affair.

The studio immediately began searching for an on-demand service that would host the movie online, including iTunes. According to the Times:

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More leaked Sony emails reveal possible locations for Steve Jobs biopic

Michael Fassbender will reportedly play Steve Jobs in the upcoming biopic

Michael Fassbender will reportedly play Steve Jobs in the upcoming biopic

While we’ve already learned some interesting details about the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic from the recently leaked Sony Pictures files, it seems there’s still more to be gleaned from the company’s documents. As the Verge notes today, new emails have revealed the possible settings for the film, which include “two auditoriums, a restaurant, and a garage.”

Those locations were included in an email sent from screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who, along with director Danny Boyle, will be taking the film to Universal Pictures for production after working with Sony on it for several years.

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Leaked Sony data indicates falling revenue forecasts for Steve Jobs biopic, Natalie Portman reportedly passing

DiCaprio and Boyle on the set of the 2000 film "The Beach"

DiCaprio and Boyle on the set of the 2000 film “The Beach”

New information discovered in the Sony Pictures data dump indicates that the loss of Leonardo DiCaprio for the lead role in the studio’s Steve Jobs biopic may have contributed to the decision to give the movie to Universal Pictures. According to Fusion, the film’s revenue projections dropped by a whopping 25% after Leo dropped out.

Soon reports claimed that Christian Bale would be taking up the role, but that ended up falling through as well. Most recently, actor Michael Fassbender is said to be up for the titular spot, though the movie is now being produced by Universal.

Now the movie has lost another potential cast member…

Chance’s holiday gift guide: the products I use everyday

Holiday Gift Guide 13

I’ve already broken down the best gifts for students this holiday season, but now it’s time to talk about the best gifts for all the Apple lovers in your life. These are most of the products that I use on a daily basis. Whether I use them on-the-go, while working, or pretty much 24/7, these are some of the best products that have earned a coveted spot in my daily routine.

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Natalie Portman latest star expected to join Steve Jobs biopic

Lisa Brennan-Jobs & Natalie Portman

Actress Natalie Portman is the latest name to be thrown in the mix of potential stars in the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic written by Aaron Sorkin. The information comes courtesy of Deadline, which reports that Portman is “in talks to join” the project in a leading role although the specific character is unknown. It’s possible Natalie Portman is being considered to portray Steve Jobs’ daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Read more