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  • Eight Siri features we want to see in iOS 12, macOS 10.14, watchOS 5, and tvOS 12 at WWDC ...

    Multi-user support is quickly becoming a necessity (and the first-party tools already exist in iOS for this). We (a family of four) have a HomePod in the dining room. I have a workaround with a fifth account that the HomePod is signed-in with and gets playlists shared to... but this is silly. It should be able to identify the voice and know it needs to look at that user's library and settings. On the Apple TV side: Yeah, if I watch something I don't want the kids watching, why are they able to see the thumbnails? Why are they able to browse my queue? If Netflix and Hulu and others can have multi-user profiles, then Apple can do it, too.
  • Microsoft brings formerly Windows-centric Defender antivirus to macOS

    Oh, the comments... look, the reason it's being offered is easy: If a business is deploying Macs alongside their Windows boxes, then using Defender across both platforms makes it easier for everyone. And it's not necessarily being rolled-out to protect the Macs, but rather to help make sure the Macs aren't used as an attack vector against the Windows boxes. It only makes sense.
  • Apple TV with A12X ready to go at any time, claims leaker

    eightzero said:
    Query: if you bought HD movies on iTunes before they offered 4k, you get the free upgrade to the 4k version of those?
    Depends on the studio. Many of them agreed to upgrade to 4K through Apple, but Disney (as a huge example) did not.
  • Walmart sells Vudu to Fandango as it exits streaming market

    gentooguy said:

    ...Wal-Mart launched Vudu almost 20 years ago to sell MP3 downloads and DVDs...
    Most of your statement is correct, but Walmart did not launch Vudu, nor has it been 20 years (it's been 10). Vudu was launched as a startup 16 years ago, and they had their own box (see for a review and unboxing pics), which they unveiled in 2007. It was a competitor for iTunes movie rentals (the first Apple TV launched at the same time). Netflix and Roku produced the "Roku Netflix Player" in 2008 and that sort of killed Vudu's aims with its box. They stopped the box in very early 2010 and Walmart bought them soon thereafter.
  • Higher capacity Apple TV with tvOS 'Kids Mode' may be on the way

    About time. I've been poking them about how families are handled for years now. To be fair, it's not just Apple—no streaming device has a good profile system (my Xbox One, at least, allows me to set up the kids' accounts, PIN-protect mine, and allow exceptions as I see fit), and Apple started getting there with the user profiles last year, but they only got about 25% of the way. I'd like to see profiles with PINs (not just for parents, but for kids, too, so their siblings don't go and screw with their queues), and I want those profiles to properly follow from tvOS to iPadOS to macOS. Right now, with the lack of ways to connect to services on macOS, you can't start something from, say, Disney+ on your TV and then move seamlessly to your Mac. I think the key to a truly good Apple TV box is having a service that replicates the experience exactly across every device that user logs into (and allows a parent to grant exceptions to specific content).
  • Editorial: HomePod is as powerful as the iPhone 6, so let's have an App Store for it

    bohler said:
    I‘m pretty sure that Apple will kill the product soon which is an utter shame! they haven‘t even bothered to sell it in most countries around the globe...looking at recent fails including the laptop keyboards, charging mats, Apple car etc it seems as if Apple is more interested in debt funded share buybacks and financial engineering then its customers
    Nope, you're wrong. People love to compare this to the iPod Hi-Fi, but it's not. The HomePod falls squarely in the service delivery category and, as such, compares more to the first Apple TV ($299 for the 40GB and $399 for the 160GB, then they discontinued the 40GB and cut the 160GB to $229; it was on the market for three and a half years) in that they're using it to see how they want to move forward. They aren't worried about sales right now, they're interested in how it gets used. And, unlike the first Apple TV, there's a lot of flexibility with this device (there's no pressing need for updated specs, or to branch a proper version of the OS), Apple isn't futzing around with music service (as it has with video), and they can leave this on the store as an upsell after they reveal an Echo Dot-like "HomePod mini" (I just hope anything like that has an optical out). I think we're going to hear some interesting stuff in June about audioOS (and, yeah, I think an App Store is a given with either audioOS 13 or 14).
  • Valve Steam Link for iOS and tvOS brings desktop games to Apple devices

    No one has a Steam Controller and neither Xbox Wireless Controllers or DualShock 4 controllers will pair with iOS devices, so this is completely useless.
    Untrue. I have a Steam Controller (bought it with a Steam Link a couple of years back and was not impressed... but this? Maybe.). I can't be the only one with an Apple TV and a Steam Controller (can I?). I also have an old MFi controller. I'm curious to see which works better.
  • What's the difference between Apple TV, Apple TV app, and Apple TV+?

    A good article, but the fact this has to exist means I have thoughts.

    I’ve used the Apple TV since its inception (had a white MacBook sitting in another room with EyeTV hooked up DVR’ing shows from a cable box and then OTA, which then served those shows up to the Apple TV by way of Home Sharing) and have hung on with every change... and this has been the most confused it’s ever been. Is it hardware? Is it an app? Is it a service? The best parallel the original Apple TV had was the iPod—an Apple-styled media player that should have been the best option on the market. And, for a while, I think the Apple TV was the best option.

    Once Roku stopped being just a basic Netflix device and had a store, once Google started pushing on Android TV (regardless of their failures there), once Amazon played its hand with the Fire TV, and once it was clear Apple wasn’t going to convince the content creators to accept it as an OTT provider, Apple should have taken decisive action instead of limping along (the fact that Apple still has no first-party or officially blessed third-party OTA tuner astounds me—it’s a no-brainer and the fact Amazon beat them to it with the Recast is just stunning). That being said, I think the entire landscape is an absolute mess and that it’s still anyone’s game.

    If Apple can get off its rear and create an Apple TV equivalent to the Fire TV Cube (one with far-field mics, Siri built-in, and an IR blaster), that would make the case for a refresh on the hardware. If not... then there’s close to no reason for a new box (yes, a more powerful processor for Apple Arcade is “nice,” but useless until there is a packed-in game controller and there are full-fledged user profiles in tvOS—having the Apple TV box tied to a single Game Center ID is asinine). If they can’t make a box that is a useful piece of hardware (not just a player) and integrates into a smart home and its entertainment center, then they should stop making the thing.

    Just as the Music app was the equivalent to the iPod, I think the TV app is the same to the Apple TV (which makes me ask if the future Of the tvOS interface is tied to the current TV app interface on the Apple TV box). I think there needs to be a visionary working hard on making sure the app works seamlessly across every platform and is presenting Apple’s best work, but many of their non-macOS, non-iOS app work feels half-hearted. Personally, I think the need for the app on other platforms mostly disappeared once MoviesAnywhere arose, but I still think Apple can use the app as a marketing tool to pull users over to the Apple TV hardware (hopefully better and more functional than it currently is).

    The Channels are the first really good thing I’ve seen in a long time and I really want to see them push that aggressively. We subscribe to BritBox and it’s seamless—let’s see more of that! I’d really love to see more of the free providers (Tubi, Crackle, Filmrise, etc.) take advantage of it, too—it’s more likely to get their ads in front of faces that way. An OTA (Tablo, HomeRun, ChannelMaster... whatever) “channel” would be great, too. And a guide—something that integrates channels and apps with live feeds (Pluto, ESPN, the news apps, the OTA apps, etc.) so we can see what’s on right now—would be great (even though it’s playing catch-up).

    And then there’s Apple TV+. I’m subscribed to it (I bought a Mac mini and got the free year), but I have yet to really be impressed by anything. I wanted to like For All Mankind and Raven’s Quest, but the former just fell flat with me (there’s a lot of retro-futurism they could be exploring there and they just aren’t) and the latter feels like it’s trying way too hard to be a semi-serious successor to The IT Crowd vis-a-vis The Office (and it misses the mark on both). I watched Beastie Boys Story and... nothing was new (nor did I think it was all that compelling once the discussion made it past Paul’s Boutique... which was 30 years ago). The Snoopy stuff has been fun to watch with my kids, but is that worth the potential monthly cost? What value does Apple TV+ bring at that price when Hulu is the same price? What does it actually do to serve Apple TV users?

    Like a lot at Apple right now, the Apple TV offerings are a mess, but I think it’s the biggest mess. Apple needs to determine what its core businesses are, and I don’t think content creation is one. If they take inspiration from Jobs’s pro/consumer hardware quadrants (Power Mac, PowerBook for pros and iMac, iBook for consumers), I think Apple can begin to refocus (only, as opposed to just hardware, it should be pro hardware, consumer hardware, services, and first-party apps).

    For the Apple TV ecosystem, I think refocusing means taking a serious look at the home hardware (the Apple TV and the HomePod) and Apple TV+.

    In terms of the hardware, They need to ask if Siri is going to be a true competitor to Alexa, or is it going to be an also-ran like Cortana? If Siri is going to be more, then it’s well past time Siri be its own service and it be placed in everything (and licensed) just like Alexa (and, despite loving my HomePods, I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed due to Apple dragging its feet for five years). Personally, I would love a Fire TV Cube-like Apple TV with full voice controls and IR blasting, or an Apple-designed sound bar with HomePod-like capabilities and the same IR blasting, but I don’t see it coming (who knows what WWDC might bring?).

    In terms of Apple TV+, they need to ask if content creation is actually a “service” or if it’s just a vanity project. Right now, it’s a vanity project. If they beef it up (buy Philo or Sling and maybe Filmrise or Crackle and get some big exclusives to beef-up the content offerings and integrate them *tightly* with the Apple TV app), then it might make it a proper OTT service. If they can’t do that, then it’s still just a vanity project, and spinning-out the content creation makes the most sense to me—it just isn’t needed, it’s muddling the message, and it’s distracting the company from from the core businesses.

    Sorry for the wall of text. This is one of those things I’ve chewed on for a while and I keep being disappointed by Apple (but the others, too).