Apple airs three new Apple Watch ads: ‘Rise’, ‘Up’ and ‘Us’

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In coordination with the Watch’s worldwide release, Apple has ramped its marketing campaign further with three new ads that are airing starting today. The ads titled ‘Rise’, ‘Up’ and ‘Us’ focus on everyday activities being enhanced by the Watch. Unlike some of Apple’s product-focused marketing, this is more in the style of iPad commercials.

The ‘Rise’ ad focuses on morning activities, such as using the Watch to wake you up or answer text messages in the breakfast queue. ‘Up’ is focused on the Workout and Activity apps, highlighting the ‘Stand’ notifications and related fitness features. ‘Us’ focuses on communication highlighting Digital Touch sketch, tap and heartbeat sharing features as well as the controversial animated emoji.

All three videos are embedded after the break …

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Apple reportedly at odds with Disney over which channels will be included in upcoming TV service

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Reports regarding an Apple web-based TV service began to circulate in February of this year, with more details emerging last month. A new report from The Street now claims that Apple and Disney are currently in talks over what specific Disney-owned channels will be available on the service. It’s worth noting that Disney CEO Bob Iger is also on Apple’s Board.

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Opinion: Could the 1080p Apple TV 4 hint at a 4K Apple TV set?

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The Apple TV set-top box hardware is expected to be updated this summer after 3 years since the last real refresh and a recent price drop from $99 to $69. While the last Apple TV upgrade boosted video output from 720p to 1080p, the rumored Apple TV 4 is not believed to support ultra high definition 4K video output featured on newer TV sets. Here’s why that’s no surprise and what I think it could mean for an actual Apple TV set:

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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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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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Apple reportedly in talks with content producers to create web-based TV service

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It’s been years since we first heard that Steve Jobs had “cracked” TV, but we haven’t seen much progress on that front outside of a few updates to the Apple TV set-top box. Recode reports today, however, that Apple is now in talks to launch its own web-based TV service.

The service is not expected to be a full offering of current television programming, but rather a package of select shows offered as part of a subscription. The content would be distributed over the web. A prototype of the service is apparently already running inside Cupertino and has been shown off to a few industry insiders.

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Apple TV adds revamped YouTube app (with ads), new channels from DailyMotion, UFC and more

Apple TV is receiving a flurry of new channels today. Most prominently is a brand new YouTube app, to bring the client up-to-date with some of the other platforms. The new app reflects the design of other set-top box clients, with easier access to subscriptions and search functions. For the security conscious, the YouTube app now uses OAuth to login rather than naive password entry (by visiting youtube.com/activate)

Unfortunately, this YouTube update also means that Apple TV users will start seeing ads for the first time on the platform. Naturally, some users will be disappointed by this addition — it is not possible to opt out of the update.

Aside from YouTube, Apple TV is also getting four entirely new channels from various providers. Rolling out today are channels for Conde Nast’s ‘The Scene’, ‘Fusion’, Dailymotion (a video upload site from France) and UFC for premium subscription fighting and martial arts content.

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Plácido Domingo to close iTunes Festival on September 30, show kicking off today with deadmau5

iTunes Festival London

Placido Domingo has been announced as the final closing act for Apple’s iTunes Festival London. Apple has also added a few more acts than what had been previously announced, to round out the lineup. This includes The Mirror Trap, Friend Within and the London Electronic Orchestra.

The month-long festival starts today at 9 PM UK time (1 PM PST), with ‘Deadmau5′ headlining Monday’s show. A full schedule can be found online at http://itunesfestival.com.

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Apple TV adds premium network Showtime to the channel lineup

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In addition to reviving the iTunes Festival channel ahead of the music event, Apple has pushed out an additional channel on Apple TV. Showtime Anytime, the premium cable and satellite television network, is now available for streaming content on Apple TV. The channel includes free full episodes of select episodes of certain shows. In addition to acting as an on-demand channel, Showtime Anytime on Apple TV also supports viewing live broadcasts with an authenticated subscription to supported TV providers. Read more

Cue: The current TV experience “sucks,” billion-dollar Apple TV business will get bigger this year

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Speaking at Code Conference Wednesday night, Apple’s head of online services Eddy Cue took a swipe at the current state of television and presented his take on where the future of that industry lies. According to Cue, Apple TV sales have risen in recent years and over 20 million of the set-top box have been sold to date. Cue says that the device is billion-dollar business now and is expected to continue growing.

However, the Apple TV isn’t a true TV replacement. Cue took a few moments to point out just how much using TV “sucks” and bemoan the current range of DVR devices. He even went so far as to compare current technology with the VCRs of a bygone era—and he’s not wrong. Cue cited drawbacks such as having to remember to set a recording or trying to manage storage on the recorder as reasons on-demand streaming through the Apple TV is growing in popularity.

That’s not to say he’s especially fond of today’s on-demand systems either, though. Not only did Cue have sharp criticisms for modern recording tech, he even jabbed at the streaming experience on the iPad, noting that the process of authenticating with a cable provider to access streaming content is less-than-ideal. So what’s his solution?

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