iDB Holiday Gift Guide: great gifts under $20

In the final segment of our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide, we take a look at great gifts under $20. Looking for a cool item for a Yankee Swap or a killer Secret Santa present? We have some great ideas that you can afford even on a budget that will really impress whoever's lucky enough to open them!

The best iPhone Christmas apps for celebrating the holiday

Santa Claus Video Call iPhone

Whether you love Christmas or simply want to get in the spirit, there are tons of fun, useful, and unique Christmas apps for iPhone. You can count down to the date, make festive photos, have your kids talk to Santa Claus, and more.

To give you a helping hand this holiday season, we’ve assembled a collection of Christmas apps to bring some joy to your device, and hopefully you as well.

Watch Apple’s short film celebrating the upcoming Chinese New Year

Ahead of Chinese New Year which falls on February 5, Apple's official YouTube channel yesterday released a short shot-on-iPhone film about the taste of home.

Titled "The Bucket" and done by acclaimed director Jia Zhangke, the video asks the question: "What gifts would your parents prepare when your Chinese New Year visit comes to an end?".

It invites the viewer to capture the taste of home this Chinese New Year with their iPhone.

The taste of home

And here it is.

Apple has also posted a pair of behind-the-scenes videos in which the author sheds some light on how slowing time with the Slo-mo camera feature makes emotions last longer.

"Use Slo-mo to prolong and savor the taste of home this Chinese New Year," Apple advises. In the following making-of video, Jia discusses bridging the gap between his subject matter and audience through the Depth Control feature.

"Use Depth Control to get closer to the taste of home this Chinese New Year," says Apple.

Shot on iPhone, but...

These short films were all shot on the new iPhone XS.

As we saw with other Apple-commissioned clips, third-party accessories for filmmaking were most likely used in the making of these clips to stabilize footage, capture aerial scenes and more, with color-correction and editing likely done in professional video editing apps.

Prime examples of such professionally done videos include recent short films about a teenage athlete from American Samoa and Japan’s extravagantly decorated trucks, called "decotora," that attempt to highlight low-light photography improvements of the latest handsets.

Shot on iPhone contest

Three days ago, Apple announced a contest inviting iPhone users from around the globe to submit their best shots for a chance to be featured on billboards, in retail stores and online.

Submissions will be accepted from January 22 to February 7, and Apple says a panel of judges will be selecting 10 winning photos.

Apple to pay licensing fees

Responding to criticism by the artistic community that it will use select works from the winning iPhone photographers on billboards without compensation, Apple has since updated the content announcement to acknowledge that winning artists will be paid for their work.

"Apple believes strongly that artists should be compensated for their work," reads the updated press release. "Photographers who shoot the final 10 winning photos will receive a licensing fee for use of such photos on billboards and other Apple marketing channels."

What do you think about these new shot-on-iPhone ads?

Let us know in the comments down below.

Save $38: grab all six expansion packs for Civilization VI for iOS at no charge this month

Sid Meier’s excellent Civilization VI for iPhone and iPad is free to try for the first 60 turns. To get the most out of it, however, you have to download the optional expansion packs, of which there are six and none of them comes cheap. Thankfully, developer Aspyr Media is temporarily offering all six expansion packs free of charge through the rest of December.

Apple posts new heartwarming holiday ad ‘Share Your Gifts’

Apple today posted a new holiday-themed advertisement to its YouTube channel entitled 'Share Your Gifts.' The heartwarming spot tells the story of a young girl who is clearly afraid to share her creativity with others, but unintentionally does so and is pleasantly surprised by the response.

10 great gifts for MacBook users

Today's entry into our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide focuses on MacBook accessories. Whether the person you're shopping for has a MacBook Air, Pro or Retina MacBook, you're bound to find something for them in the curated list below. But you better get to shopping, Christmas is less than a week away!