Jay Blahnik, a globally recognized fitness expert and instrumental consultant in the development of several Nike fitness products, has confirmed his new role at Apple. In July, we reported on unconfirmed whispers out of the fitness industry that Blahnik had been hired at Apple, likely to work on the iWatch. We’ve also since confirmed with additional sources that he has joined Apple, and these people say that Blahnik will be working on the iWatch team…
Our launch video review of Infuse
FireCore has released an update for Infuse, the popular video app for iPhone and iPad. The new update boasts new features such as the ability to transfer videos to your iOS device through a web browser, fullscreen TV-out support, new sharing options, and more.
Infuse 1.3 is a free update for existing owners. New owners can get the app for $4.99 on the App Store. The full change log can be found below.
There are a few snippets of AppleTV related news popping up today. The first we take with the usual grain of salt as it comes to us from the often unreliable DigiTimes. The publication has been reporting some more believable stories as of late, but today’s rumor of Apple purchasing 55 and 65-inch Ultra HD TV panels from LG seems to be more rumor than anything else.
Apple has of course been rumored several times to be building a full fledged HDTV to go along with the much expected revamped AppleTV service coming in the the near future. The latest from the usual lineup of analysts points to a launch as early as the end of this year or early 2014. LG and Sharp– two of Apple’s regular display suppliers– would be obvious choices to source panels, but there’s no proof at this point that Apple is beyond the experimenting stage and we’ve heard rumors from more reliable sources ranging from 40-inch to 60-inch in the past.
Next up for today’s AppleTV news is a bit more insight into the company’s current negotiations with cable and media companies. We heard previously that Apple is working with TimeWarner to bring AppleTV integration in the coming weeks, but, according to the NYTimes, its recent hire of Hulu SVP Pete Distad will also come in handy as it negotiates with others for similar apps: Read more
According to reports from Bloomberg, Apple is close to reaching a deal with Time Warner to offer TV shows on Apple TV, while also apparently recruiting Hulu exec Pete Distad to lead negotiations for content:
The companies plan to announce an agreement within a few months, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The iPhone maker is also hiring Pete Distad from online-video service Hulu, where he was senior vice president in charge of marketing and distribution, to help Apple executives in negotiations with media and cable companies, two people with familiar with the matter said.
Distad is currently SVP of Marketing and Distribution at Hulu and in charge of content distribution and customer acquisition/retention on the company’s management team. According to his bio Distad’s current duties at Hulu include “subscriber acquisition and retention, paid, on-channel, and brand marketing, distribution and promotional partnerships, and content marketing.” Read more
Russian blog iGuides.ru points us to a new hack for Apple TV users that brings Russian subscription TV & movie service Unlimovie.tv to the device with no jailbreak required. The service, which is currently in beta, requires users to manually change the DNS on their device (easily accessible from within Settings) in order to access its digital TV service directly through Apple’s own Trailers app.
It isn’t the first hack of its kind: Just a couple weeks back, one of our favorite media servers, Plex, arrived on Apple TV without a jailbreak through what appeared to be a similar hack of the stock Trailers app.
The Unlimovie.tv service is currently in beta, allowing users to access a number of Russian digital TV channels for free, but the creators plan to officially launch the service in September through its paid subscriptions. That is, of course, if Apple doesn’t put an end to it in the meantime. Read more
Belkin today announced that it is launching a new TV receiver for iPhone and iPad specifically designed to work with the Dyle Mobile TV service which provides live local broadcasts through a growing number of accessories for mobile devices. We’ve already seen some Dyle TV receivers for iPad, like this one from Elgato, as well as the technology baked into select Android devices on MetroPCS, but Belkin is the first big name iOS accessory maker to launch a receiver for iPhone and iPad.
For now, Belkin is making a 30-pin version of the receiver available:
Weighing less than six ounces and less than half the size of a deck of cards, the Belkin receiver with Dyle mobile TV is a compact and portable accessory that easily fits into a pocket or small purse. To enable, simply plug the accessory into the iPhone or iPad’s 30-pin connector, extend the flexible titanium antenna for maximum reception coverage and launch the Dyle TV app, currently available for free in the App Store.
The free Dyle TV service is currently available to 37 major markets across the US. You can check out a full coverage map to see what networks are available in your area here.
Belkin’s Dyle TV receiver will sell for $129 starting today through Belkin’s website and later hit other retailers such as Amazon. Read more
Apple has recently added a new option for iTunes purchases on both the Mac and iOS devices running iTunes 11 and iOS 6 or later. Now, when purchasing content that includes a large download, such as movies or seasons of TV shows, iTunes will allow users to complete the purchase and opt to download the file at a later time. As noted by Macworld, Apple outlined the new option, which presents users with a dialog to “Download” now or download “Later”, in a recently updated knowledge base article.
Selecting the new “Later” option will add the purchased content to your “Purchased” tab in iTunes in the Cloud, meaning the feature is only available to those in countries that support iTunes in the Cloud (full list here). According to Apple’s knowledge base article, the option applies to content including: TV seasons, season passes, movie bundles, music box sets, or individual movies and TV episodes. Read more
We can’t say we didn’t know it was coming. T-Mobile already started accepting preorders for the iPhone 5 back on April 5, and today marks the first day of official availability for the iPhone on the carrier’s revamped “Un-carrier”, no-contract, unlimited voice and data plans.
To accompany the launch, T-Mobile is also kicking off its first iPhone ad campaign today that begins with the first TV spot above (via TMO News). Of course the ad not so surprisingly focuses on its new carrier approach more so than the device itself:
“It’s the phone that’s revolutionizing phones, make sure its running on the carrier that’s revolutionizing wireless… Only T-Mobile lets your iPhone 5 be as great as an iPhone 5.”
Earlier this month T-Mobile started rolling out a carrier update for existing unlocked iPhones on its network that brings LTE support, improved battery life, visual voicemail support and more. It also started a campaign offering users trade-in value for their old devices to make the switch to T-Mobile.
The iPhone 5 is available to purchase for $99 down with a $20 per month financing plan through T-Mobile’s website and brick-and-mortar stores. As noted by TMONews, the carrier has also started setting up its in-store displays and advertising for the iPhone (Gallery below): Read more
We’ve seen predictions for an Apple HDTV and a revamped Apple TV experience come and go over the last couple of years. Analysts have predicted several times since as far back as 2011 that we’d see Apple introduce its own full-fledged TV set by the end of the year, and the most vocal analyst, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, was still calling for a full HDTV by the end of the year with an innovative new remote control last we checked in. Today, in a note that sounds like it should have been scheduled for an April 1 release, another analyst has backed Munster’s claims that Apple will launch a full TV set (not a set-top box) in the second half of 2013.
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White issued a note to clients today, following checks with supply chain sources in Asia (via BGR), claiming Apple’s “iTV” project will launch this year in 50- to 60-inch variants and come with a ring-shaped motion controller dubbed, get this, “iRing”:
The “iTV” ecosystem represents a major innovation for the $100 billion LCD TV industry that will revolutionize the TV experience forever, in our view. First of all, we believe “iTV” will be 60-inches in size (but could also include 50-55 inch options). Secondly, we believe Apple will release a miniature device called “iRing” that will be placed on a user’s finger and act as a navigation pointer for “iTV”, enhancing the motion detection experience and negating some of the functionality found in a remote.
White continued by saying Apple will include a “mini iTV” with iTV that will allow users to have a second-screen experience on a smaller, iPad-sized display: Read more
GM announced in November 2012 that it would bring the Siri’s Eyes Free feature to the Chevy Sonic and Spark vehicles in 2013, and it officially became the first company last month to offer the enhanced Siri integration in its vehicles. GM has today kicked off a new marketing campaign to highlight the feature that allows drivers to activate Siri through a dedicated button on the steering wheel in its 2013 Sonic.
Apple originally announced a number of automakers that would include support for the feature in future vehicles, including: BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, and Honda. Honda confirmed earlier this year that Siri Eyes Free would be available in its 2013 Accord, Acura RDX, and ILX models.
Some more videos showing off Siri Eyes Free are below:
Reuters reported that HBO might consider a reversal of its previous position of not allowing access to HBO Go without a cable subscription.
HBO Go launched 3 years ago to allow subscribers to watch shows on tablets, but the service is so far restricted to those who have a cable TV subscription with an HBO partner and pay a top-up HBO fee. Co-President Eric Kessler had previously, and rather naively, said in a video interview at VideoNuze that those abandoning cable TV for purely online viewing was “minimal” and a temporary response to the economy, and he said there was no reason to offer a standalone mobile service.
This position now appears to be softening, with CEO Richard Plepler recognizing that a growing number of consumers want to choose both content and viewing platform at will.
“Right now we have the right model,” Plepler told Reuters on Wednesday evening at the Season 3 premiere of HBO’s hit TV show “Game of Thrones.” “Maybe HBO GO, with our broadband partners, could evolve.”
Companies like HBO are faced with a difficult tightrope act. While they earn billions of dollars from their existing sales model, any new offering that risks cannibalizing revenue is a frightening prospect for the company. Equally, however, it’s clear that ‘cable-cutting’ —giving up cable TV subscriptions in favor of online viewing— will only increase. Failing to respond to this is not an option.
One number will be looming very large in front of HBO: 25 million. That’s the number of illegal downloads of its hit show “Game of Thrones”. While some substantial proportion of those people would download pirated content for free no matter what options were available, there is a growing phenomenon of illegal downloads by those who would be willing to pay for content simply because existing deals don’t allow them the freedom to simply pay for the content they want on the device they want.
As part of its new “Alter Ego” ad campaign, T-Mobile posted the above TV commercial comparing the speed of the iPhone 4S on AT&T to devices on its 4G network. The carrier recently did a similar comparison when launching its Test Drive tool for comparing its 4G devices with the iPhone on other networks. In related news, yesterday we reported T-Mobile was preparing to rollout an iPhone-compatible 4G HSPA+ 19000 MHz network to various markets by the end of the year.
Although many thought the comparison of the 3G iPhone on AT&T to 4G Android devices on T-Mobile was unfair, Apple is rumored to launch a new LTE iPhone following the introduction of the new 4G iPad last March. Recent reports indicated Qualcomm was having trouble meeting demand for LTE chips likely to land in the next-gen iPhone, indicating T-Mobile will likely have to take a new approach to its ads come October.