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Resource id #60Sling's Cloud DVR comes to Apple TV
Sling
Starting today, Apple TV users can purchase 50 hours of DVR storage for just $5 per month with any Sling TV subscription. That means you get more choice and control over your entertainment and the ability to record your favorite Sling TV content to watch later, on your time.

The caveat is that cloud recording isn't available on all channels, and you're limited to Sling TV's offering, which is about up to 50 channels. Still, it's a compelling system. You can cut the cord, but keep DVR functionality of cable TV. Also unlike conventional DVRs, this sits in the cloud and available to you anywhere.

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Apple slashes affiliate app commissions
Apple:
Starting on May 1st 2017, commissions for all app and in-app content will be reduced from 7-percent to 2.5-percent globally. All other content types (music, movies, books, and TV) will remain at the current 7-percent commission rate in all markets. We will also continue to pay affiliate commissions on Apple Music memberships so there are many ways to earn commissions with the program.

That seems a drastic adjustment. I wonder if this may be related WWCD? The affiliate economy seems to have ran its course years ago, so it could just be Apple tightening its belt.

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Apple threatened to pull Uber app over privacy concerns
The New York Times ran a profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Leading the article is an untold tangle with Apple over its app. The company had deployed a sophisticated digital fingerprinting of its users. The fingerprint persisted even when iPhones were erased. Apple CEO Tim Cook threatened to pull the app from the App Store if Uber didn't reverse its surveillance.

The idea of fooling Apple, the main distributor of Uber's app, began in 2014.

At the time, Uber was dealing with widespread account fraud in places like China, where tricksters bought stolen iPhones that were erased and resold. Some Uber drivers there would then create dozens of fake email addresses to sign up for new Uber rider accounts attached to each phone, and request rides from those phones, which they would then accept. Since Uber was handing out incentives to drivers to take more rides, the drivers could earn more money this way.

To halt the activity, Uber engineers assigned a persistent identity to iPhones with a small piece of code, a practice called "fingerprinting." Uber could then identify an iPhone and prevent itself from being fooled even after the device was erased of its contents.

This is clearly in violation of the App Store guidelines. Its't hardly the first time a developer went out of bounds, but what's interesting is how Uber tried to conceal it's disallowed capabilities.

To hide its activities from Apple, Uber designed its software to not activate this ability near Apple's corporate offices. When Apple employees at its headquarters reviewed the app, the code didn't reveal its functionality.

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Apple striving to end mineral mining with close loop supply chain
Ars Technica:
The most interesting of Apple's goals for the future is a stated desire to manufacture 100 percent of its devices out of recycled materials rather than mining new materials and throwing out used materials. Apple calls this a "closed loop supply chain."

The day that aspiration becomes reality may yet be far in the future, though. Apple has started some pilot projects, including using aluminum reclaimed from old iPhone 6 models to make Mac Minis for iPhone assembly lines, and using 100 percent recycled tin in logic boards for the iPhone 6S. Scale is the primary challenge.

This is an incredible north star type goal that probably has several stretch goals between. While it may take Apple a long time to get there, and perhaps never will, but they can keep getting closer during the effort.


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Earth Day activity challenge this weekend on the Apple Watch
Via Mac Rumors:
Get outside and celebrate Earth Day on April 22 and earn this award. Go for a walk, run, cycle, wheelchair, or swim workout of 30 minutes or more in the Workout app or in any third party app that writes these workouts to Health. You will also earn special stickers for Messages.

Apple has done similar special challenges for Thanksgiving and a new year challenge this past January. I've done each of these so far and they're a fun activity that's not very difficult to obtain. I'm sure we'll make time to walk to the park or something this weekend.

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LaCie announces 2big Dock with Thunderbolt
LaCie announced Thunderbolt today to its 2big Dock. The dock offers high capacity RAID and various ports and connectivities.

More than storage, the LaCie 2big Dock is a powerful docking station that helps photographers and videographers simplify their workflows. Front-facing SD and CF Card slots allow the pro to directly ingest files off memory cards from a drone, DSLR, GoPro� and other devices into Adobe Lightroom or Premiere Pro. The USB 3.0 hub charges a phone or connects a shuttle drive or digital camera to offload footage or files. Via DisplayPort, professionals can connect the LaCie 2big Dock to high-resolution 720-1080p or even 4K displays. Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports can also power a compatible laptop while simultaneously daisy-chaining up to five additional Thunderbolt or one USB-C drive. Plus, the USB 3.1 port enables universal compatibility with USB-C and USB 3.0 computers via the included adapter cable. Thunderbolt 2 compatibility is also possible with an adapter (sold separately).

Expected this summer, the LaCie 2big Dock will ship in 12TB, 16TB, or 20TB capacities.

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Report: Apple working on three iPhones this year
Bloomberg:
Apple is preparing three iPhones for launch as soon as this fall, including upgraded versions of the current two iPhone models and a new top-of-the-line handset with an overhauled look, according to people familiar with the matter. For the redesigned phone, Apple is testing a new type of screen, curved glass and stainless steel materials, and more advanced cameras, the people said. Those anxiously awaiting the redesigned iPhone, however, may have to wait because supply constraints could mean the device isn't readily available until one or two months after the typical fall introduction.

It will be interesting to see the price and shipping date of the new high end phone. Also, if there are other phones, will they share the iPhone 6/6s/7 physical design. If so, I wonder how many people will opt for a less expensive upgrade sooner or wait for the more expensive and significant external upgrade to arrive.


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Apple's i-apps now free for iOS, macOS
MacRumors noticed with recent updates Apple's iWork suite, iMovie, and Garage Band are now free to all users.
Apple today updated several of its Mac and iOS apps, making them available for all Mac and iOS users for free.

iMovie, Numbers, Keynote, Pages, and GarageBand for both Mac and iOS devices have been updated and are now listed in the App Store for free.

Since 2013, anyone purchasing a Mac or iOS device could download the apps for free. At this point, it might have not been worth Apple's time to manage the free download for purchases.

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iPad 4th Gen repairs may result in iPad Air 2 replacement
According to an Apple memo at Mac Rumors, it appears those looking to get their iPad 4th Gen repaired could have it replaced with an iPad Air 2. As models get older, it's probably harder and less practical for Apple to stock parts and train staff.

Apple memo via MacRumors:
Starting March 30, iPad 4th generation whole unit repairs may be substituted to iPad Air 2 models. Apple's repair and order management tool will indicate for each repair if a substitution will take place. Please note the substitute part's color and capacity to ensure the customer understands what their replacement iPad whole unit will be.


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Apple TV rumored to get user profiles, picture-in-picture
An upcoming tvOS update may bring the ability to watch TV while working in other apps. Another rumor has Apple TV supporting multiple user profiles profiles.

Who knows about the rumors, but I'm particularly interested in the profile ability.

9 to 5 Mac:
As shown in the mockups provided by the site, tvOS 11 will add a way to handle multiple Apple IDs for the different people in the house.

When selecting one of these profiles, users will see only see their songs and playlists in the Music app, view their personal iCloud Photo Library in Photos, change the app home screen to display their apps and layout, and more.

We have the family Apple Music plan and I wish there was a way to have profiles on Apple TV. That's usually how we play music in the house and the wife's music tastes mess up my music discovery. It would be great if you could indicate who is using the device similar to Netflix. This actually vexes me so much I submitted it as a feature request last year. Maybe some time soon...



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Apple obtains self-driving car testing permit in California
Apple has been granted a permit to test self-driving cars in California. The permit allows the company to test autonomous vehicle technology.

Reuters:
The permit allows it to conduct test drives in three vehicles with six drivers, the state Department of Motor Vehicles said on Friday. The vehicles are all 2015 Lexus RX450h, according to the DMV.

The key part of this doesn't necessarily mean Apple is testing its own cars, but rather autonomous technology. That could mean Apple is in fact developing a car or developing technology to be a vendor to car makers..

Over the past year or so Apple's car efforts seem to have been rocky with lots of rumors of change in leadership and direction. It does appear, however, Apple is still working on something.

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Profile of Susan Bennett, the voice of Siri
Typeform.com has an in-depth can rather confusingly presented profile of Susan Bennett.
How do you become the most popular voice of the most successful tech company in the world-without your knowledge?

I interviewed Susan about her stumble into fame, then plotted her life against the rise of more human-like virtual assistants. It turns out that her voice appeared at two pivotal moments in the development of talking tech.

It makes you wonder, was Susan destined to become the world's most recognizable digital voice?

I've never seen a post designed in such a convoluted matter, but if you have the determination, there's some interesting tidbits to learn.

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Man assembles an iPhone from parts
built a like-new(but really refurbished) iPhone 6S 16GB entirely from parts I bought in the public cell phone parts markets in Huaqiangbei. And it works!

I've been fascinated by the cell phone parts markets in Shenzhen, China for a while. I'd walked through them a bunch of times, but I still didn't understand basic things, like how they were organized or who was buying all these parts and what they were doing with them.

So when someone mentioned they wondered if you could build a working smartphone from parts in the markets, I jumped at the chance to really dive in and understand how everything works. Well, I sat on it for nine months, and then I dove in.

Interesting video He said he spent about 2 months looking for parts and spent $1000 on tools and parts that didn't go towards the final build. He said he figures the cost of the parts he actually used was about $300. He also purchased assembled recycled components, so it was completely built from scratch.

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Nvidia releases beta Pascal GPU drivers for old Mac Pros and Hackintoshes
Ars Technica:
The driver should support all Pascal-based graphics cards under macOS Sierra, including the GTX 1050, 1050 Ti, 1060, 1070, 1080, and 1080 Ti, as well as the Titan X and Titan Xp. It also supports many older GeForce and Quadro GPUs going all the way back to the GeForce 8000 series.

It's noteworthy this includes the new Titain Xp card with 3,840 cores.

This is great news for older Mac Pros that use PCIe slots and the hackintosh community using common PC motherboards. While older Mac Pros and generally less powerful Intel Core processors used in hackintoshes won't beat Xeon CPUs in current Mac Pros, the graphics processors greatly outpace what is currently available. As macOS and applications utilize ever-more powerful graphics, GPU speed over the years has become important beyond just gamers.

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Evernote adds Touch Bar support on Mac
Evernote 6.11 released today brings TouchBar support for the new MacBook Pros. The update brings colorful contextual buttons to the touch interface.

Similar to the iOS, a New Note feature is now quickly creates new notes. Similarly there's a new search button. Tags will now also display it seems similar to auto-correct popups. This should allows for quicker tagging of notes. The update also utilizes the Touch Bar to select colors using a slider. The other promoted feature is an annotation toolbar.

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YouTube to limit ad displays on new channels
YouTube last week announced a new advertising restriction for new content creators in its YouTube Partner Program (YPP). The move is geared towards people who set up channels to repost other's content, however, I suspect the policy will also help YouTube get a handle on content it may not want participating in its ad network.

Starting today, we will no longer serve ads on YPP videos until the channel reaches 10k lifetime views. This new threshold gives us enough information to determine the validity of a channel. It also allows us to confirm if a channel is following our community guidelines and advertiser policies. By keeping the threshold to 10k views, we also ensure that there will be minimal impact on our aspiring creators. And, of course, any revenue earned on channels with under 10k views up until today will not be impacted.

This shouldn't be a big factor since ad rates are so low creators aren't really missing out much that early on. On the flip side, it can take a while to build a channel and reach that threshold.

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Walt Mossberg announces retirement
Well regarded tech journalist Walt Mossberg announced he will retire in June. This follows 47 years of journalism, over half of that as a technology reporter. Mossberg was first to report on technology as a subject and not just in the business pages. He famously had a close professional relationship with Steve Jobs.

And, in the best professional decision of my life, I converted myself into a tech columnist in 1991. As a result, I got to bear witness to a historic parade of exciting, revolutionary innovation -- from slow, clumsy, ancient PCs to sleek, speedy smartphones; from CompuServe and early AOL to the mobile web, apps, and social media. My column has run weekly in a variety of places over the years, most recently on The Verge and Recode under the Vox Media umbrella, where I've been quite happy and have added a podcast of which I'm proud.


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Apple's Clips video sharing tool now available
Clips is a new app for making fun videos to share with friends, family, and the world. With a few taps you can create and send a video message or tell a quick story with animated text, graphics and emoji, music, and more.

Clips extends iOS 10's new whimsical stickers, emojis, and other features in Messages with a video editing app. The app feels similar to sharing apps like Instagram, Snapchat, etc. It allows you to do basic editing and add in titles, effects, graphics, and music.

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OmniOutliner 5 for macOS now available
The OmniGroup released a major upgrade for the macOS version of OmniOutliner. Version 5 brings a bunch of enhancements, but most interesting may be the change in pricing:

OmniOutliner now comes in two editions: Pro and Essentials. The Pro edition has all the power that we've always brought to OmniOutliner, with support for multiple columns, attachments, focus, automation, and so on--and for version 5 we've added even more, with advanced filtering, word count, typewriter mode, customizable keyboard shortcuts, and so on.


If you don't use an outliner app, I'll guess the Essentials will be sufficient. The new $10 price is great and well worth it, I think. A 14-day demo version is available to try out either way.

I regularly use OmniFocus and OmniGraffle, but I forget about OmniOutline. Using a dedicated outliner app can make entry very fast. More importantly, I find manipulating your outline much easier. I do a lot of lists in excel and Evernote that probably could be better handled by OmniOutliner.

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Apple promises revamped Mac Pros
Buzzfeed:
"We are completely rethinking the Mac Pro," Phil Schiller, Apple's SVP of worldwide marketing said during a recent roundtable with a handful of reporters at the company's Machine Shop hardware prototyping lab. And it won't just be the computer. "Since the Mac Pro is a modular system, we are also doing a pro display. There's a team working hard on it right now."

The quote regarding shipping was "not this year," so presumably that means next year. It's interesting Apple pre-announced this update. The Mac Pro hasn't been updated in over three years and obviously has taken a back seat. It seems Apple's bet on Thunderbolt over internal expansion, plus its unconventional graphics cards didn't pan out.

It's been I guess 10 years now that I've been hoping Apple would release a more conventional mini-tower design. Basically a computer that can take a range of full-sized PCIe graphics processors and be equipped with an affordable i7 CPU. Essentially an iMac with a real graphics processor, expandable internal storage, and your display of choice.

The old silver Mac Pros were basically there, but came with high-priced Xeon CPUs. That's nice, but really expensive for the only option for high-end GPU on a Mac.



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Spotify to offer premium-only window on some new releases
Spotify CEO Daniel EK:
Starting today, Universal artists can choose to release new albums on premium only for two weeks, offering subscribers an earlier chance to explore the complete creative work, while the singles are available across Spotify for all our listeners to enjoy."

Artists and labels have been pushing for paid exclusive streaming from Spotify. It will be interesting if the free users are willing to wait or will be motivated to pay. And if they pay, will they go with Spotify?

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Report: Apple looking to bundle premium cable streaming
Recode:
Here's the company's latest proposal: It wants to sell consumers a premium TV bundle, which combines HBO, Showtime and Starz.

Apple already sells each of those channels individually. But it has approached the three networks about rolling them up into a single package, as conventional pay TV operators sometimes do.

Those are three premium cable channels that have gone over the top to deliver subscriptions directly to streaming customers. Cable operators also usually force customers to subscribe to basic tiers of service to add on those channels via cable.

So, that seems a good opportunity for Apple with providers willing to break off from cable and a way to save customers money. Key part to make this more attractive than just subscribing to individual services is a bundle deal.

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Apple appears to be stepping away from PowerVR GPUs
The Verge:
Imagination Technologies, the British chip designer that provides PowerVR graphics processors for use in the iPhone and iPad, has said that Apple will no longer be licensing its technology in less than two years' time. In a statement, Imagination says that Apple has notified the company that it's "working on a separate, independent graphics design in order to control its products and will be reducing its future reliance on Imagination's technology."

PowerVR GPUs have pushed Apple's graphics horsepower ever higher each year. It will be interesting to see Apple's next move. Apple switched to making its own CPUs based on ARM's licensing as a competitive advantage. Good guess Apple is aiming to continuing on this path for its graphics needs.

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Ford, GM take lead in self-driving car report
Wired:
That may sound all kinds of wrong to anyone who has seen Uber, Waymo, and Tesla flaunt their tech, and regards Detroit's old guard as ill-prepared for the robotic future. But it's the state of the race according to Navigant Research, whose newly released "leaderboard" report ranks these players not just on their ability to make a car drive itself, but on their ability to bring that car to the mass market.


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PicoBrew announces lower cost brewery, new app
USA Today:
As part of a Kickstarter campaign, beginning today, early contributors can get the new Pico Model C by pledging $279 or more. When the brewing appliance hits stores this fall, its retail price will be $549.

PicoBrew launched its first brewing device, the Zymatic ($1,999) in 2013 and brought the Pico appliance to market last year for $799. This new Pico C model retains roughly the same 12-inch footprint, but has a dishwasher-safe keg and simplified hose connections.

This is a nifty system for those without the space or inclination to build their own home brewery.

PicoBrew is also launching an app called PicoBrew BrewPulse that will monitor a brew session and also order supplies. It sounds like there will also be a social aspect where people can browse other's creations for inspiration.

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