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Apple strengthening push into Hollywood content with eye on iconic studio, bid on high-profile drama

Apple appears to be strengthening its push into producing original content, with the Financial Times reporting that the company is looking to an iconic Hollywood studio as the base for its original content division and bidding against companies such as Netflix on rights to a new high-profile drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

Apple sends out press invites for Sept 12 event at Apple Park

As expected, Apple has sent out media invites for its annual fall event, being held Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 10:00 a.m. in the Steve Jobs Theatre at the company’s new Apple Park campus in Cupertino. As usual, the media invites include a sneak peek at the theme of the event, along with a tagline which this time simply reads “Let’s meet at our place.” Unlike prior media invites, the tagline is most likely just a direct reference to the venue for the event as opposed to a cryptic clue to what Apple will be announcing.

Apple receives an Emmy for Siri Integration on Apple TV

Apple has received an 2017 Technical / Engineering Achievement Emmy Award in the category of Contextual Voice Navigation for Discovering and Interacting with TV Content for the company’s Siri voice integration on the fourth-generation Apple TV. The award was given to Apple alongside Comcast, Universal Electronics, and Nuance Dragon TV.

Amazon Prime tvOS app may not launch until after Apple’s September event

According to Recode, Amazon’s Apple TV app may not be ready in time for it to debut alongside the new 4K Apple TV next month. Although Apple only said it would be coming “later this year” when it announced Amazon Prime for the tvOS platform, many assumed it would be logical for Amazon to have the app ready to rollout for September’s event, particularly with Apple expected to debut a new Apple TV. The latest information from Recode, included as a footnote to an article discussing today’s earlier news about 4K content, indicates simply that its sources “say the app may not be live in time for next month’s product launch,” although it’s unclear if this actually represents any change to Amazon’s plans for launching the Amazon Prime tvOS app.

WSJ confirms a 4K Apple TV is coming, Apple and Hollywood struggling with pricing for content

Apple and Hollywood studios are once having difficulty coming to terms for movie distribution, this time concerning pricing for the offering of 4K “Ultra-HD” content on the iTunes Store. Confirming rumours of a new 4K-capable Apple TV, a new report from the Wall Street Journal reveals that Apple has been “scrambling” to strike deals with the studios to ensure content is available on the new set-top box when it’s expected to launch next month. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, Apple has met resistance from the Hollywood studios in terms of what should be an acceptable price at which to offer ultra-HD content, with Apple pushing to sell movies at a standard price of $19.99 — the same price the company currently charges for new release HD movies — while Hollywood studios want to add a $5 to $10 premium for higher-definition 4K content.

Apple releases eighth developer betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11 + watchOS 4

Apple has released an eighth set of developer betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4, continuing to address a number of issues in the prior developer previews as we inch closer to their expected release next month. Public betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11 will also likely follow within the next day or so.

iOS 11 beta shows Control Center interface, new swipe gestures; tvOS 11 beta hints at 4K video

New betas have been released for iOS 11, tvOS 11 watchOS 4 and macOS 10, and developer Guilherme Rambo has discovered a couple of gems amid all the bug fixes and minor improvements. In ios 11, Rambo found one video that seems to show off a new swipe-up gesture used to activate the iOS app switcher and another that runs through changes to the lock screen interface. Swiping down brings the lock screen up from anywhere in the operating system, and while a left swipe still brings up the device’s widgets, a right swipe now seems to bring up the phone’s Control Center instead of activating the camera as it does in iOS 10. Swiping up from the bottom — which activated the Control Center in iOS 10 — now turns on the iOS app switcher, which previously was accessed by a home button double tap or by swiping right after pressing down on the left edge of the screen; the latter method has already been removed from iOS 11

ESPN tvOS app now streams 4 games at once; Walmart’s streaming service coming to Apple TV

ESPN’s Apple TV app has been upgraded to include a new MultiCast feature that allows users to view up to four streams at the same time, according to Variety. EPSN typically features 30 or more live events on a given day, all of which will be available for simultaneous viewing. The company has also released an update to its iOS app, adding a “Watch” tab that provides live streams of events and shows. In other tvOS app news from Variety, Walmart’s streaming service will be landing on Apple TV next week. While Apple TV users have previously been able to use AirPlay to play Vudu’s movies and TV shows, the dedicated Vudu app is expected to become “widely available” starting August 22.

Apple releases developer betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11 + watchOS 4; public betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11

Apple has released a sixth series of developer betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4, adding new icons for Maps and the App Store as well as addressing a number of issues in the prior developer previews and moving all three of the operating systems closer to their expected release this fall. Public betas were made available for iOS 11 and tvOS 11 too, breaking with the usual process of waiting a few days after the developer release to roll them out. The release notes continue to list a large number of known issues that are still pending.

Apple releases fourth round of public betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11

Apple has released a fourth series of public betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11, allowing end users an opportunity to get an early preview of what’s coming in the new operating systems this fall and provide their feedback to Apple. With this round, Apple has also taken the unusual step of sending out e-mail notifications to at least some registered developers letting them know that the public beta is available, although it’s unclear whether this was intentional or not. Users can enroll in Apple’s public beta program by visiting the company’s Apple Beta Program website.

Apple releases fifth round of developer betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11 + watchOS 4

Apple has released a fifth series of betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4, as usual addressing a number of issues in the prior developer previews and moving all three of the operating systems closer to their expected release this fall. The release notes continue to list a large number of known issues that are still pending. Public betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11 will likely follow within the next day or two.

Plex expands Live TV support, time shifting to Apple TV

After making its Live TV function available in beta on iOS in June, Plex has taken it out of beta and expanded Live TV support to the Apple TV as well, according to an update from the company. The company’s Plex DVR feature for recording and watching programs is also officially out of beta on iOS, but according to a company spokesperson users will still need to use the iOS, web, or Android apps to schedule recordings, after which they can be viewed on the Apple TV in the same way as any other media item in the Plex library.

Apple sued over ‘What did he say?’ Apple TV feature

Apple has been sued over the Siri feature that lets users say “What did he say?” and have the Apple TV rewind the program and replay that section with subtitles turned on, MacRumors reports. In the lawsuit, CustomPlay contends that the functionality copies its movie companion software. That patent covers, “A remote control capable of activating a replay function comprises a WHAT? button, key, or other replay function key or means, to enable a viewer by activating the replay function to automatically cause the system to: i) rewind or skip backwards the playing of the video a system default or a viewer specific previously defined amount, e.g. 20 seconds; ii) turn on the subtitle to a system default or a viewer specific previously selected subtitle language, e.g. English; iii) turn off the subtitle at either the point the WHAT? button was pressed or at some viewer specific previously defined point.”

Receipts in UK, Canada hint at 4K and HDR options coming to iTunes

Some iTunes receipts in the UK and Canada are showing movies listed as 4K and HDR, hinting at Apple adding those viewing options in the near future, MacRumors reports. Apple currently only offers movies in SD and HD, which tops out at a maximum 1080p, and even users who are seeing 4K and HDR options on their bills say the movies are still only available for download in HD. The change also hasn’t appeared in the US yet. The current Apple TV can only stream in HD, but in February there were rumors that Apple’s fifth-generation Apple TV—which could debut as soon as this year—would be capable of streaming in 4K.

Apple releases third round of public betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11

Apple has released a third series of public betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11, as usual addressing a number of issues in the prior developer previews and moving all three of the operating systems closer to their expected release this fall. The release notes continue to list a large number of known issues that are still pending. To enroll in Apple’s public beta program, visit the company’s website.

Apple TV’s universal search adds US support for Discovery Communications channels and others

Apple has updated its Apple TV universal search feature for US users to include several new providers, many from the Discovery Communications group of networks. On the fourth-generation Apple TV, Siri can now search for shows that air on AHC GO, Destination America GO, Discovery Life GO, Filmstruck, Shudder, Sundance Now and Velocity GO. While those changes only apply to the US, Canada gains integration for City Video and CraveTV, while Australian users now have support for AnimeLab and DocPlay. MUBI support has also been extended to France, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands and Spain. [via AppleInsider]

Apple releases fourth round of developer betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11 + watchOS 4

Apple has released a fourth series of betas for iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4, as usual addressing a number of issues in the prior developer previews and moving all three of the operating systems closer to their expected release this fall. The release notes continue to list a large number of known issues that are still pending. Public betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11 will likely follow within the next day or two.

Apple releases iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2, watchOS 3.2.3

Apple has released minor updates to iOS 10, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3, focused exclusively on bug fixes and security improvements. iOS 10.3.3, tvOS 10.2.2, and watchOS 3.2.3 will likely be the last updates to be released prior to the rollout of iOS 11, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4 expected in September, although it’s possible Apple may release one or two more very minor iOS 10 patches in the future for legacy 32-bit devices such as the iPhone 5 that won’t be capable of running iOS 11.

Apple releases third developer betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11

Apple has released third betas for iOS 11 and tvOS 11, addressing a number of issues in the prior developer previews The release notes continue to list a large number of known issues that are still pending. A new beta for watchOS 4 has not yet appeared. Apple released the second set of betas on June 21, followed by very minor updates a week later, immediately prior to the release of the public bets for iOS 11 and tvOS 11.

Apple releases first iOS 11, tvOS 11 public betas, updates to developer betas

For those willing to accept the risks associated with installing a beta OS on your device, Apple has rolled out its first public iOS 11 and tvOS 11 betas. The iOS 11 update provides a greatly expanded and customizable Control Center, the ability to record what’s happening on your screen, a Maps app that includes indoor maps for airports and malls, and new HomeKit functionality, among other improvements. On iPad, iOS 11 provides a new dock and better support for the Apple Pencil. The tvOS 11 upgrade comes with some new bells and whistles as well, including an automatic setting for toggling between Light and Dark Mode, and the ability to store your Home screen layout in iCloud — along with your installed apps — so that this information can be synced across multiple Apple TVs or restored should you ever have to reset or replace your Apple TV. For anyone not already enrolled in the public beta program, you can get started on Apple’s website.

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