Bookmark apps and iTunes content and install them later with Lookmark for iPhone

By Christian Zibreg on May 27, 2016

Lookmark for iPhone by developer Claes Jacobsson received a major update yesterday, prompting me to take another look at this interesting piece of software.

With Lookmark, you can bookmark apps and other iTunes content very easily from Safari, other apps and your desktop, and install/download them later when the time is right. Yesterday’s update added a Share sheet extension which can save apps mentioned on any webpage. Read More

 

New Bravo, Syfy and E! apps available on fourth-gen Apple TV

By Cody Lee on May 26, 2016

Cable subscribers can now watch shows from NBCUniversal’s Bravo, Syfy and E! on the fourth-gen Apple TV. Variety reports that native apps for all 3 networks are now live in the App Store of Apple’s popular set-top box.

The apps offer access to tons of on-demand content, including current and past episodes of hit shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians. As usual, you’ll have to enter pay-TV credentials to unlock the bulk of the content. Read More

 

Confessions of a big iTunes spender

By Christian Zibreg on May 26, 2016

I have a confession to make…

It’s become painfully obvious to me, glancing at my purchase history, that I’ve reached a point in my computing life where I’m now a big iTunes spender. To my astonishment, in the past year or so I’ve been burning money on apps, media and services at a clip of a hundred bucks each month. That’s actually a conservative estimate. Realistically, my iTunes spending is somewhere in the ballpark of $150-$200 per month.

To look at it another way, that’s $1,200-$2,400 in annualized services revenue for Apple from this particular customer, excluding my hardware purchases. When this much cash is getting sucked out of my pocket by Apple, I can’t help but admit the company must be doing something right when it comes to digital media and services.

I realize $100 per month is a lot of money to burn on digital entertainment. I’m not going to preach on issues of morality here nor will I suggest that everyone should spend that much, or spend anything at all in the iTunes and App Stores.

What I’m getting at is this: despite dropping significant cash on apps, media and services, I’ve never felt buyer’s remorse. Why? Because I’m getting value for my money and, after all, Apple is just a middleman. To put it bluntly, I’d rather spend my hard earned cash to support those who create content for a living than blatantly steal their hard work.

Here’s what a $100 spent in Apple’s content stores buys me, why I don’t think I’m being ripped off and how the sense of satisfaction I get in return makes it all worthwhile for me. Read More

 

Limiting kids’ access to apps and media to only those with age-appropriate ratings

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 20, 2016

With the handy Restrictions feature on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV (and let’s not forget about Parental Controls on the Mac!), blocking or limiting certain capabilities and services on your Apple devices becomes a simple task.

Maybe you’re a parent to a kid who extensively uses your iOS hardware and other Apple gear?

Perhaps your colleagues at work, or potentially other people, have access to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad? If that’s the case, you might want to consider restricting apps and media on your devices to only those with appropriate age-based ratings.

As always, iDownloadBlog comes to the rescue: step-by-step instructions in this tutorial will guide you through the process of restricting access to music, movies, television shows, digital books and apps on iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS platforms. Read More

 

Apple meeting with top talent to develop original programming

By Cody Lee on Apr 18, 2016

Apple has been secretly meeting with top entertainment talent, reports Fast Company. In a lengthy article detailing the streaming ambitions of various tech giants, the outlet says the iPhone-maker has its sights set on building a lineup of original programming.

According to sources, the company quietly set up shop at the Imperial Hotel in Utah during this year’s Sundance Film Festival. There, it hosted a series of private events, known as the “iTunes Lounge,” where it discussed content deals with actors and filmmakers. Read More

 

“Hey Siri, is Jon Snow dead?”

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 13, 2016

Ahead of the upcoming April 24 premiere of the sixth season of HBO’s popular “Game of Thrones” television show, Siri engineers seem to have updated her database to answer some of the most burning questions asked by fans, the most lingering one being “Is Jon Snow dead?”

Conveniently, Apple’s made sure that the personal digital assistant is spoiler-free so you won’t get anything out of her pertaining to whether or not the show’s most popular character has perished at the hands of the Night’s Watch. Read More

 

Tip: adjusting how movies and TV shows are sorted in your Apple TV Wish Lists

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 25, 2016

Aside from major new features in Apple’s new tvOS 9.2 firmware for the fourth-generation Apple TV, which released to the public on Monday, March 21, there’re plenty of under-the-hood improvements to be excited about.

Among them are handy sorting options for the movies in your Wish List and TV shows in your Favorites. In this tutorial, we’ll demonstrate how you can tell your Apple TV to show recent TV episodes first and change sorting options for movies in your Wish List. Read More

 

Apple recruits cable TV PR veteran for Apple TV and iTunes content marketing role

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 22, 2016

Bernadette Simpao, previously working at AMC and Viacom in public relations capacity, is joining Apple to handle the company’s PR efforts for content and apps related to the new Apple TV, as well as TV shows, movies, apps, books and podcasts that Apple carries on the iTunes Store’s virtual shelves.

According to Variety, Simpao spent ten years at Viacom in various communication roles, including Senior Director of Communications for Viacom International Media Networks, before joining AMC. Read More

 

Report: Dr. Dre’s Apple-backed TV show ‘Vital Signs’ will be a vehicle for Apple Music promotion

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 16, 2016

The rumored Apple-backed television show “Vital Signs” will feature some notable Apple Music product placement, as per sources who spoke to Re/code’s Peter Kafka.

Rather than being Apple’s surprise foray into full-scale production of TV shows, Apple will simply co-finance the production of “Vital Signs.”

“That’s much less exciting than ‘Apple Is Getting Into TV,’ but it’s more accurate,” Kafka said. The show will apparently star Beats co-founder and Apple executive Dr. Dre. Read More

 

Apple reportedly making its first scripted TV show starring Dr. Dre

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 12, 2016

Apple has decided to back its first ever scripted television series that will star one of its own executives, Beats co-founder and rapper Dr. Dre (real name Andre Young). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the top-secret project is dubbed “Vital Signs”. The production is reportedly “being bankrolled by Apple”.

The series will be likely distributed via Apple Music although the report doesn’t make it clear if the iTunes Store will also carry the show so that Apple TV owners could stream it.

“The first season will roll out all at once, regardless of venue, a la Netflix,” sources told the publication, adding that Apple is said to be “very bullish on the project.” Read More

 

Apple TV universal search expands to FOX NOW, FXNOW and Nat Geo TV

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 5, 2016

According to an Apple support document which was updated yesterday, the universal search feature on the fourth-generation Apple TV will now surface video content provided by FOX NOW, FXNOW and Nat Geo TV channels.

Users who install these apps on their set-top box can press the Siri Remote’s microphone button and say things such as “Watch Life Below Zero” and land on the page that now includes that show by the National Geographic channel, in addition to other content sources. Read More

 

Apple said to consider developing original TV shows as talks over skinny iTunes bundle collapse

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 29, 2016

As part of a new strategy following failed talks with major networks regarding licensing their programming for a rumored over-the-top iTunes video service, Apple is reportedly considering developing own TV shows to offer exclusively to its iTunes customers, The Street reported Friday. The publication’s track record in predicting Apple’s moves isn’t great so take the story with a pinch of salt.

Citing two unnamed people with knowledge of the overtures, the report alleges that Apple is internally planning to announce exclusive content as part of a cable-like offering in September, as part of the iPhone 7 introduction. Read More

 

U.S. Netflix customers on grandfathered plans will get slapped with a price increase

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 20, 2016

Did you sign up for Netflix’s $7.99 per month plan with high-definition streaming before new pricing tiers were unveiled?

If so, the company will reward your loyalty by slapping you with a price increase later this year, according to Netflix’s letter to shareholders issued yesterday as part of the company’s quarterly earnings release.

Grandfathered Netflix customers in the United States will have two choices: continue using their $7.99 per month plan, but only in standard definition, or choose to pay $9.99 per month to continue watching in high definition. Read More

 

List of Apple TV content providers

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 18, 2016

It’s annoying when you download an Apple TV app for your favorite entertainment provider only to realize that you cannot access the service due to regional restrictions, the need to connect with your cable service or pay for the service.

Of all the third-party content provider apps available for download in the tvOS App Store, only a handful of services are available on a worldwide basis.

To save you some time, Apple has put together a handy support document which lists all the content providers available on the second, third and fourth-generation Apple TV. Read More

 

Google Play Movies & TV gains HD and cellular streaming, AirPlay support, revamped UI & more

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 11, 2015

Just in time for the holiday season, Google has issued a major update to its official video streaming application in the App Store, Google Play Movies & TV, with several much-needed features and a fresh new design. For starters, you can now stream movies and TV shows rented or purchased on the Play store over your carrier’s cellular data network. Moreover, the app has gained the ability to stream video in high-definition.

And if you own a third-generation Apple TV or higher, you can stream your Google Play entertainment right to the big screen with official support for Apple’s AirPlay wireless media streaming technology. Read More

 

Apple releases Best of 2015 charts on iTunes

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 9, 2015

Apple on Wednesday posted its annual Best of 2015 charts on iTunes. “We debated. We argued. Everyone had favorites, but to make this list of 2015’s finest, there could be no doubts,” wrote the company. “What you see here made the cut—they’re the most visionary, inventive and irresistible apps and games of the year.”

Apple named Twitter-owned Periscope the App of the Year and Square Enix’s excellent Lara Croft GO its Game of the Year.

Workflow, the popular iOS automation app, is listed as the Most Innovative App of 2015 and Dark Echo the Most Innovative Game of 2015. Facebook-owned Instagram is the Best App on iPhone 6s while Pixel Toys’ Warhammer: 40,000 Freeblade took home the Best Game on iPhone 6s award, thanks to immersive 3D Touch controls.

Here’s the full list of titles the topped Apple’s charts in 2015. Read More

 

Review: WALTR for Mac converts & transfers any video to iPhone and iPad, no iTunes required

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 7, 2015

Getting DivX and MKV movies, FLAC audio files or audiobooks onto your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad is an incredibly cumbersome multi-step procedure, one that involves third-party apps like Handbrake to transcode “foreign” media files into iOS-friendly formats before importing them into iTunes for syncing with your iOS gadgets.

I’ve tried many, many apps which promise to get the job done before deciding to settle on WALTR by young European startup Softorino.

Now, I’m not exaggerating when I say that WALTR is an absolutely incredible piece of software. This nifty program literally takes the pain away from transferring media to iOS devices without worrying about file types.

Its lightning fast algorithm is hands down the best I’ve ever seen, on any platform, ever. I’ve been happily using WALTR for months now and couldn’t be happier with it. And trust me when I say that you should be using WALTR, too, especially if you aren’t jailbroken and want the simplest solution possible for transferring media to your device without going through iTunes. Read More

 

Why Netflix won’t offer offline viewing

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 7, 2015

Amazon recently delighted its iOS-toting users by allowing offline viewing of Prime Instant Video movies and television shows, but don’t count on Netflix offering the same feature anytime soon.

Gizmodo reached out to Netflix and asked the company why it won’t change its firm stance that it’s not going to offer offline downloads through its mobile applications and the official company line is eyebrow-raising. Read More

 

Apple said to be exploring original programming

By Cody Lee on Aug 31, 2015

Apple is exploring getting into the original programming business, reports Variety. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the outlet claims the company has held “preliminary conversations” in recent weeks with Hollywood executives to suss out their interest in producing entertainment content.

It’s unclear how large Apple’s ambitions are at the moment, but one source says the endgame is to set up development and production divisions that would churn out long-form content in a bid to compete with Netflix, and the like. They say these divisions could be operational as early as next year. Read More

 
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