Todd Spangler, reporting for Variety:
Disney is ending its distribution agreement with Netflix for new movie releases, while it’s also buying majority ownership of BAMTech — the streaming-video company founded by Major League Baseball — in a $1.58 billion deal.
The moves set a clear course for the media giant to launch Netflix-style direct-to-consumer internet services from ESPN and Disney. Disney said will end its distribution agreement with Netflix for subscription streaming of new movie releases, beginning with the 2019 theatrical slate.
I’m certain Netflix customers aren’t happy about the service losing a major content provider, but I think this is the right move for Disney. They own the rights to a massive library filled with high quality video content — they’d be foolish for not building their own streaming service. It’s kind of amazing that they hadn’t built one already.
(Via Nick Heer.)
So, after ten years, the Home button is going virtual. Our beautiful new 812pt OLED display will have a function area carved out of the bottom, with Home in the middle. There are many things Apple could put on either side of the Home button – Android-like multitasking buttons I suppose – but iOS 11 gives us a giant clue.
He believes that app navigation elements — like “back” and “edit” buttons — will be moved to the bottom of the screen, on each side of the virtual Home Button. I can’t argue with his thesis — this does seem like the kind of change that Apple would make. I guess I’m just not sold on the whole virtual Home Button thing. I’m almost certain that it’s going to happen, but I expect I’m going to be one of those people that sorely miss physical buttons and white space on the front of my device.
Chance Miller, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:
Last week, Apple released the first build of the upcoming HomePod’s firmware, allowing curious developers to unpack the code and learn a few additional details about the smart speaker. Now, developer Steve Troughton-Smith has discovered code that seemingly confirms that the upcoming iPhone will support face unlock…
Smith explains that the code indicates the existence of infra-red face unlock in BiometricKit, which is the framework responsible for Touch ID. The code further suggests that Apple’s face unlock feature will be able to detect partially occluded face and faces from various angles. The codename for the project Pearl ID.
The HomePod firmware also includes an image depicting, what we assume to be, the design of the upcoming iPhone Pro, which was discovered by Guilherme Rambo.
Both of these discovered in a file that an Apple employee uploaded to a publicly available server. Hashtag double down on secrecy.
Dan Moren, writing for Macworld:
I’m skeptical we’ll see any major changes to the Apple TV line this fall, but what I’m hoping for is this: a return to a lower cost Apple TV, somewhere in the $70-$99 range, with a modicum of storage, and perhaps a traditional remote with buttons. Instead of building Siri functionality into the remote, the Apple TV should have built-in mics that support “Hey Siri” (or, if you prefer to avoid collisions, “Hey Apple TV”). The Amazon Echo, Google Home, and yes, HomePod, have proved that both technology and people can handle this kind of functionality. If you prefer the Siri Remote, no problem: just buy it as an add-on.
I think Apple will offer a lower priced Apple TV soon. There’s already historical precedent for reducing the price of the previous model when a new model is introduced — the third-generation Apple TV was available for $69 for a period of time after the current Apple TV was released. I think they’ll do the same when a more powerful, 4K-capable Apple TV goes on sale this fall.
I don’t think they’ll reduce the price of the current Apple TV to $69, but maybe they could if they listen to Dan Moren’s advice and no longer include the more costly Siri Remote with this model and bundle their inexpensive Apple Remote instead. Even with that change, though, I think $99 would be more likely.
This would give Apple a fairly robust lineup — the current, fourth-generation Apple TV with the older Apple Remote for $99 alongside a more powerful, 4K Apple TV with the Siri Remote for $149. This would give customers a more affordable offering while continuing to position the Apple TV as premium products.
I’m not sold on Moren’s idea of integrating a microphone into the Apple TV, though. I’d certainly have to see how it was implemented before passing judgement on it, but it doesn’t seem like an elegant solution to me. Quietly speaking directly into the Siri Remote is so much less abrasive than yelling at your TV from across the room. I don’t know, maybe it would be great, but my initial reaction is that it would be worse in almost every way.
If you’ve been searching for a way to bypass the Wall Street Journal’s paywall to read Christina Passariello’s recent piece on Apple Park and Jony Ive, the full article is available on Apple News. Of course, that means you’ll have to read it on an iOS device, since Apple hasn’t released a News app for macOS yet.
Given this progress, and in collaboration with several of our technology partners – including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla – Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.
I haven’t had the Flash plug-in installed in my primary browser since 2010. And, with my transition to iOS over the past few years, I haven’t missed it one bit. I’m glad they’re finally pulling the plug on it. Although, I think they should have done it sooner.
Apple Maps now has lane guidance in iOS 11 and it works perfectly. I haven’t taken a trip to LA since I’ve been using it, but I have gone to a couple of places I hadn’t been before and it worked just as I expected.
Maps now also shows you what turn is coming up next. For example, on the top of the mapping screen it will show that you need to make a left hand turn—directly under that, it will show you that your next turn is a right. This helps you determine which lane you should be in.
My wife and I take several road trips throughout the year and rely on Apple Maps for turn-by-turn navigation. These improvements will make for a much more enjoyable experience while driving. I can’t wait to use them.
A great piece by Joe Cieplinski on the frustrating transition to iOS 11’s Flick Keyboard. I’ve had iOS 11 on my iPad since the public beta went live a few weeks ago and I’m still having trouble with the new keyboard. The biggest pain points for me have been hyphens, asterisks, and square brackets. Basically, if it’s commonly used while writing in Markdown, I’m probably having a hard time remember where it has been moved to.