Sarah Perez, reporting for TechCrunch:
Media software maker Plex is preparing to take on The Roku Channel and Amazon Prime Video Channels, possibly as soon as this year. The company is in discussions with rights holders and content providers, with a focus on bringing free, ad-supported movies to the Plex platform – similar to how The Roku Channel got its start. It’s also talking to premium networks and content providers about offering their programming and subscriptions through Plex.
Although I’d prefer they focus their efforts on improving the music playback experience on iOS, I certainly won’t mind having access to more content. Especially since it will be available through a media application that I already use — if it’s not in YouTube, Plex, or the TV app, I’m probably not watching it.
Nick Statt, reporting for The Verge:
Anker, once known as a leading accessory maker and now a multi-faceted consumer electronics company, hasn’t abandoned its roots as a supplier of some of the fastest and highest-quality chargers around. The company’s newest line of ultrafast chargers, the PowerPort Atom series, is set to start shipping its first device later this month, the company announced today during CES. The Atom PD 1, as it’s called, was originally announced back in October, but the product was ultimately delayed a few months. The company now says it should be available for the same price of $29.99 later in January, though a concrete ship date has not yet been set.
This looks like it’s going to be a killer product. And I couldn’t be more excited that it’s capable of powering my MacBook Air.
But I suspect the model coming out later — the PowerPort Atom PD 2 — is going to become my go-to charger while traveling. The PD 2 is a 60W charger with two USB-C ports, which will feel right at home inside of my tech bag that’s slowly transitioning to USB-C everything.
From Apple’s AirPlay webpage:
Leading TV manufacturers are integrating AirPlay 2 directly into their TVs, so now you can effortlessly share or mirror almost anything from your iOS device or Mac directly to your AirPlay 2–enabled smart TV. You can even play music on the TV and sync it with other AirPlay 2–compatible speakers anywhere in your home.
Samsung was the first to announce support for AirPlay 2 alongside the ability to stream iTunes movies and TV shows on their smart TVs, but I expect we’ll be seeing more television manufacturers announcing support soon too.
A great piece by my buddy Josh Ginter running down all of the apps on his iPad Pro’s home screen. I especially like this bit regarding the App Store:
I simply don’t like auto-updating apps. I jump into the App Store each day to see if there are app updates and I update them one by one. Like an animal.
Like Josh, I too partake in this animalistic process of updating each app individually. I like glancing through the release notes to see if there are any notable features.
Bradley Chambers, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:
When Apple was selling home routers for $199, they were ahead of their time. They had built a router that was high-end, easy to manage, and worked well. Around the rest of the industry, companies were selling home routers that were hard to manage (if step #1 is to log in to an IP address, you missed it), required rebooting, and couldn’t handle the load.
Since Apple took its eye off of the home router business (The AirPort lineup was dead for many years before the announcement), users have started to buy more expensive solutions. Solutions like Eero, Google WiFi, and AmpliFi have shown that people will invest in their home Wi-Fi. Even solutions from ISPs like Comcast have gotten into the business of upgrading your home Wi-Fi.
I’ve written about this idea before, but I’m glad Bradley is bringing it back to the conversation — AirPort was a huge missed opportunity for Apple. They could have integrated mesh networking into the HomePod and Apple TV, which would have increased their functionality in a meaningful way when compared to competing devices. I bet there are a lot of people that would have purchased an Apple TV or a HomePod to be used as their home’s primary base station.
But Apple could have gone further, releasing an updated Time Capsule that allowed for local backups of iOS devices. And even introduced a new AirPort Extreme with an integrated cable modem.
Between HomeKit devices, iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, your home’s Wi-Fi network has never been more important than it is today. And I think it would have served Apple well if they continued to offer a home networking solution that integrated with all of your existing devices in ways that only Apple could.
I know that Netflix is big enough to pull this off, but between this and not supporting Apple’s TV app, I just can’t see myself signing up for Netflix again.
This month I’ve adjusted the order in which I discuss each device’s home screens to better reflect the frequency with which I use them. But within the update I cover a meditation and deep breathing app, a new note taking app, a new white noise app, and more.
On a sort-of programming note, I failed to publish a home screens update in November and am quite a bit late for this month. The future of these is a bit in flux at the moment. I’d certainly like to continue doing them, but my time has been at a premium lately.
Between my new job — where I’m having a blast — and social engagements around the holidays, I haven’t had much time for writing. While this is something I plan on spending more time on in the new year, I’m not sure what form it will take exactly. My highest priority is to start publishing link posts and feature articles more regularly again while additional projects like the home screens updates are quite a bit lower on my list.
That doesn’t mean that these are going away entirely, I just need to make sure everything else that I have on my plate is going smoothly before I jump back on these sorts of projects. My hope is that this temporary hiatus will be short, but I think it’s also worth considering whether these updates are something that continue to add value to my life and yours. If you have any feedback regarding this — good or bad — I would very much appreciate you dropping a note in my Twitter mentions to share your thoughts.
I started using this app recently to track my sleep habits. I had previously used Sleep++, but as far as I know, that app requires you to wear your watch in order to record data. When testing the app, I determined that I really don’t like sleeping with a watch on.
AutoSleep is much more flexible, letting you choose whether you prefer to wear your watch to sleep or not. If you do, it uses the data collected by your watch to track your sleep. But more importantly for me, if you don’t wear your watch to sleep, it keeps track of when your watch is placed on its charger and combines that with data from your iPhone’s motion tracking chip to intelligently guess when you’re sleeping.
While I don’t expect this method is quite as accurate as tracking your sleep entirely from your watch’s data, it can certainly give you an idea of your sleep trends and offer suggestions about how you can improve. If you’re looking for a sleep tracking app, AutoSleep seems like the absolute best in the market.