August 22, 2013

Apple-hdtv2

A new report from Quartz today offers some details on Apple’s content negotiations for a much rumored revamped Apple TV. Most of the report echoes what we’ve heard several times in the past– Apple is apparently talking with HBO, Disney, MTV and others about a new TV service. According to Quartz, it could include a pay TV service that would see Apple “essentially becoming a cable company itself,” as well as the release of a “full-fledged television set”:

One alternative being considered is that Apple could essentially become a cable company itself. Under that scenario, sources say, Apple would launch what is formally known as a virtual multichannel video programming distributor. Apple is still interested in striking deals with cable companies that would allow people to plug their cable lines into the back of the TV set, bypassing a cable box, sources say. But at least two years of negotiations haven’t progressed very far.

Sources say Apple has concluded that it doesn’t need all, even most, content providers on board before it can release a TV set that people would buy. It just needs enough good programming to distinguish the new product, which will try to simplify the experience of connecting internet video to the TV.

The report doesn’t offer up any details that we didn’t hear around this same time last year (and the year before that), but it appears Apple could be closer to reaching the deals it needs to launch the next-generation of Apple TV. Earlier today we reported that former Hulu SVP Pete Distad has now officially started his new role at Apple as Product Marketing VP and is thought to be leading Apple executives through negotiations with cable and media companies.  expand full story

The US Patent & Trademark Office today published a new Apple patent application (via PatentlyApple) that details a flexible material that could be used as a hinge to create a seamless enclosure for devices like the MacBook, for example. Apple details a technical process of using specialized machinery to laser cut “flex apertures” and interlocking features in a rigid material to allow it to bend and function as a hinge. On top of creating a seamless enclosure, Apple claims the process would allow it to reduce the size of devices that are often increased due to traditional hinge solutions. Imagine if the enclosure of a MacBook didn’t include that black plastic hinge and instead appeared to be a seamless piece of aluminium connecting the display to the bottom half of the unibody.

While MacBooks might seem like the obvious application for Apple’s invention, it also notes the usual list of devices that could potentially use the technology including everything from smartphones to televisions and game consoles. The patent also shows the material being used on headphone cables to allow a flexible connection from the cable to the earbud to prevent damage, and on what appears to be an iPad Smart Cover-like accessory: expand full story

9to5toys 

ReadQuick, the speed-reading app for iPad, has been updated to version 1.5 today. The new version brings the app to the iPhone and iPod touch.

For those who aren’t familiar, ReadQuick is an app that presents a new way to read web articles. Rather than present you the entire article as one page, ReadQuick shows you the entire article one word at a time. That may sound inconvenient, but it turns out it’s actually much nicer than it sounds. Keep reading for our full review of the brand new iPhone version.

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Reuters is today running a profile on Apple CEO Tim Cook. There’s of course the inevitable angle in there: stock down, no major new products launched, questions asked about whether Cook has what it takes.  But what emerges is a picture of a man who knows he isn’t Steve Jobs and isn’t trying to be.

In the day to day at Apple, Cook has established a methodical, no-nonsense style, one that’s as different as could be from that of his predecessor. Jobs’ bi-monthly iPhone software meeting, in which he would go through every planned features of the company’s flagship product, is gone. “That’s not Tim’s style at all,” said one person familiar with those meetings. “He delegates.”

Yet who also doesn’t shy away from making big decisions in tough circumstances.

[The Apple Maps fiasco] prompted him to fast-track his thinking on the future direction of the critical phone and tablet software known as iOS, a person close to Apple recounted.

Cook soon issued a public apology to customers, fired Forstall, and handed responsibility for software design to Jony Ive, a Jobs soul-mate who had previously been in charge only of hardware design.

“The vision that Tim had to involve Jony and to essentially connect two very, very important Apple initiatives or areas of focus – that was a big decision on Tim’s part and he made it independently and very, very resolutely,” said Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Co. and an Apple director …  expand full story

Kamcord, the Y Combinator-backed startup offering a free SDK that makes it easy for iOS devs to offer in-game recording functionality to their users, is today announcing an additional $1M in seed funding and some big updates since the last time we checked in.  expand full story

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