Posts tagged with "video"

Apple Posts New iPhone 4S Camera, iCloud and Siri Ads

Following the first Siri ad that was released last week, Apple uploaded three new commercials on its website and YouTube channel earlier today, showcasing once again the capabilities of the iPhone 4S' voice assistant, as well as the improved camera and iCloud support.

The new commercials cover a wide range of hardware and software features of "the most amazing iPhone yet", albeit some of them are also available on older generation models like the iPhone 4. The camera is described as "all new" with 8 megapixels and "advanced optics", but the ad also focuses on what's possible to do after a photo has been taken on an iPhone, showing the built-in photo editing functionalities that "no ordinary camera can do". From the YouTube description:

With 8 megapixels, advanced optics and more, the all new camera on the iPhone 4S may be the only camera you need.

The second Siri commercial is similar to previous one, featuring different input requests from iPhone 4S users such as map directions, weather conditions, calendar appointements and Messages. Apple describes Siri as your "personal assistant for everything".

The iCloud ad goes a little more technical -- although with Apple's usual clear and friendly style -- to show iBooks and document sync across devices, Purchase history on iTunes, Photo Stream and Automatic Downloads for songs. "Now the things you do on your phone are everywhere you want them".

Check out Apple's new ads here, or watch the YouTube video embeds below.
Read more


New Apple TV Model References Found in iOS 5

In our "Let's talk iPhone" event rumor roundup, we noted Apple could announce a new Apple TV on stage. Earlier this year, a number of separate reports have suggested Apple was working on a new Apple TV with A5 CPU (the same of iPad 2 and iPhone 4S) to enhance the device's processing capabilities and allow for full 1080p playback. The current Apple TV model packs and A4 processor (iPad, iPhone 4) and plays back video up to 720p, but as we know the October 4th event didn't see any Apple TV updates among iPod, iOS 5, iCloud and iPhone 4S announcements. A rumor from July even suggested Apple was working on a new video format called HD+ to launch this fall in the iTunes Store alongside a new Apple TV model.

According to a code string found in iOS 5 by 9to5mac, a new AppleTV3,1 is in the works, and it should be an updated version with upgraded internals such as the aforementioned A5 processor. The existing Apple TV model is referenced as AppleTV2,1 -- Apple typically uses this kind of references to prepare iOS for upcoming devices. References in the iOS filesystem are never 100% accurate, but new devices found in the past through code strings have turned out to be real most of the time.

With Apple pushing towards 1080p video content with the new iPhone 4S camera and AirPlay Mirroring made possible by the A5 CPU, it wouldn't be a surprise to see a refreshed Apple TV with faster CPU and more powerful video processing capabilities. As a side note, Apple recently started selling the current-gen Apple TV in more European countries.


“Let’s talk iPhone” Keynote Video Now Available for Streaming [Update: Download Too]

As usual after every keynote, Apple has posted a first video of the event, available for streaming on Apple's website. You can reach the video here, or by pasting this link in your browser's address bar: apple.com/apple-events/october-2011. Apple notes "streaming video requires Safari 4 or 5 on Mac OS X Snow Leopard or Lion, Safari on iOS 3 or later, or QuickTime 7 on Windows.".

A downloadable version of the keynote should be made available on iTunes in a few hours.

Update: The October 4th keynote is now available for download on iTunes through Apple Keynotes' feed.


ClickToPlugin Brings AirPlay Support to Safari for Mac

ClickToFlash, the popular plugin to block Adobe Flash content in Safari and make videos play in higher quality through HTML5, had to go through a series of changes after Apple released Safari 5.1, which dropped support for WebKit Plugins. Those of you who use ClickToFlash on a daily basis may have noticed that ClickToFlash for Safari 5.1 recently got a new home, and it's been developed by Marc Hoyois as a Safari extension called ClickToPlugin.

Marc Hoyois actually offers both ClickToPlugin and ClickToFlash rewritten as a Safari extension -- the former is simply a broader version of ClickToFlash that doesn't stop at Flash content, but prevents Safari from launching a variety of plugins, including Facebook Video Calling and Java. The same functionality of ClickToFlash is still there, only it's been split in two versions depending on what you need (if you only want to block Flash, get the new ClickToFlash extension) with a new settings page. As usual, the extension replaces content with a placeholder that doesn't load automatically and, when possible, allows for a direct plugin-to-HTML5 conversion that, in the case of YouTube, will allow you to load a video's source in higher quality. ClickToFlash/ClickToPlugin comes with several preferences to tweak and support for many video websites -- you should check out the complete list of features and screenshots of the settings at the developer's website.

An update released earlier this week for the ClickToPlugin/ClickToFlash extensions adds a feature Mac users have been requesting since the introduction of iOS 4.2 last year -- AirPlay support in Safari for Mac. While AirPlay had been enabled first in Apple's iOS apps, then the Mobile Safari browser and third-party apps, Mac users were only given AirPlay support for audio in iTunes, but nothing related to video streaming on OS X. A number of hacks and utilities surfaced to send Mac video to an Apple TV or AirPlay receiver and even turn a Mac into an AirPlay-compatible device, but there's never been a way to easily select a video in the browser, and instantly beam it to an Apple TV with the click of a button.

The latest ClickToPlugin adds exactly this feature in combination with its built-in HTML5 video recognition and a second utility available on Marc Hoyois' website called Media Center. Version 2.5.2 of Hoyois' extension adds a new "AirPlay" option in the HTML5 media player (the one you get if you, say, decide to replace Flash content on YouTube with HTML5 video), enabling you to send video to an Apple TV on your network. The Apple TV's hostname or IP address needs to be specified in ClickToPlugin's settings, but it's set by default to apple-tv.local, which is what Apple gives you with an Apple TV out of the box. The default hostname worked for me and found my Apple TV (connected with WiFi first, then via Ethernet to my AirPort Extreme).

Once ClickToPlugin is set to fetch HTML5 video instead of Flash (you can optionally choose a default resolution -- I picked 720p) and the Apple TV is configured to accept incoming AirPlay streams (the extension has support for AirPlay passwords, too), you'll be able to try AirPlay in Safari by opening a YouTube video, like this one, and choose AirPlay from the source selector on the top left. If your settings are correct, the video should start playing on your Apple TV.

Media Center works in conjunction with the latest ClickToPlugin in that it adds a contextual menu item to links and HTML5 media to download a video file, open it in QuickTime, or send it to an Apple TV via AirPlay. Some of these functionalities are already provided by ClickToPlugin, but I like Media Center's AirPlay action on right-click and, more importantly, the toolbar button that allows you to stop a a video from being streamed to the Apple TV.

In my tests, ClickToPlugin and Media Center have been fairly reliable, streaming 720p content from YouTube to my Apple TV, although I've experienced some connection drops (the video would stop playing after a few minutes on the Apple TV) and errors with the Vimeo website. I need to mention, though, that I'm running OS X, Safari and Apple TV beta software, so that might be the culprit. Even with these betas (OS X 10.7.2, Safari 5.1.1, Apple TV Software beta 6), ClickToPlugin's AirPlay support worked fine most of the time, and I'm sure optimizations for the new OS and Safari will be available once Apple publicly releases the updates. I've also noticed you don't have to keep a tab open after the video starts playing with AirPlay, but Safari can't be quit or you'll lose the AirPlay stream.

I wouldn't be surprised to see native AirPlay support by Apple in a future version of Safari for Mac (or, even better, systemwide AirPlay support on OS X), but right now, ClickToPlugin and Media Center provide an interesting solution for those who want to comfortably enjoy video from their web browser on a widescreen TV. The extensions surely need some work and refinements, and it would be great to see them land on Chrome someday (if it's even possible, I don't know).

Go download ClickToPlugin and Media Center on Marc Hoyois' website.


Apple Releases Updated ProApps QuickTime Codecs

Following the release of Final Cut Pro 10.0.1, Motion 5.0.1 and Compressor 4.0.1 earlier today on the Mac App Store, Apple has pushed a separate update for ProApps QuickTime Codecs. This download is recommended for all users of Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, or Compressor 4, and it adds the following codecs to QuickTime-based apps:

  • Apple Intermediate Codec
  • Apple ProRes
  • AVC-Intra
  • DVCPRO HD
  • HDV
  • XDCAM HD / EX / HD422
  • MPEG IMX
  • Uncompressed 4:2:2

The update is available now through Apple's Downloads website. Updates to FCP X, Motion and Compressor are available now on the Mac App Store.

ProApps QuickTime Codecs (1.1 MB)



Apple “Discussing” TV Subscription Service with “New Technology To Deliver Video”

As reported by The Wall Street Journal in an article detailing some of the challenges Apple's new CEO Tim Cook will have to face in the post-Jobs era and many of the achievements of the company's former chief executive, Apple is allegedly working on a new technology to deliver video to televisions:

An immediate challenge for Mr. Cook will be to advance Apple's plans in what is expected to be a key market for growth: digital video. Apple is working on new technology to deliver video to televisions, and has been discussing whether to try to launch a subscription TV service, according to people familiar with the matter. Unlike the iPod and music, where Apple has a commanding position, the battle to rule online video remains wide open and the company faces fierce competition.

No additional details are provided in the report, although speculation of new TV products from Apple has increasingly suggested in the past months that, just like with the iPod, iPhone and iPad before, the company is now aiming to disrupt another market that's long been dominated by services, corporations and standards that don't make it easy for consumers to have an optimal user experience. Specifically, rumors of an HDTV from Apple have been circulating for years, pinpointing what turned out to be incorrect release dates, tech specs, and prices. However, these rumors have a reason to exist, as they've been subtly backed by Steve Jobs' public criticism towards the current TV business model and cable companies, described as clumsy, complicated, and ultimately bad for consumers. At the D8 conference last year, when asked about whether Apple could get into the television business, Jobs replied:

The television industry fundamentally has a subsidized business model that gives everybody a set-top box for free, or for $10 a month, and that pretty much squashes any opportunity for innovation, because nobody's willing to buy a set-top box. Ask TiVo, ask ReplayTV, ask Roku, ask Vudu, ask Google in a few months. So all you can do is add a box onto the TV system. [...] The only way that's ever going to change is if you can really go back to square one and tear up the set-top box, and redesign it from scratch with a consistent UI, across all these different functions, and get it to the consumer in a way that they're willing to pay for it. Right now there's no way to do that. So that's the problem with the TV market.

The Wall Street Journal's report doesn't mention any new hardware from Apple, focusing on subscription services and technologies to stream video to televisions. However, as Apple is known for driving innovation by integrating software with their own hardware, it's likely that when the company will find it "viable" to get into the TV market, they'll do so by releasing their own hardware tightly integrated with a "new technology" and "subscription TV service". Apple currently sells the Apple TV 2nd-gen -- described multiple times by Jobs and Cook as a "hobby" -- that runs a modified version of iOS and comes with a native Netflix app for instant movie streaming; recently the company added the possibility to stream any previously purchased content from the iTunes Store to the Apple Tv through their new iCloud platform. It was reported back in April that Apple added 12 petabytes of storage to their server farms for serving iTunes Store video, and a separate report mentioned Apple could soon launch a service similar to Netflix to stream movies and TV shows for a monthly fee.


Flipboard Considering TV Shows and Movies, iPhone Version Launching “In A Few Weeks”

According to a report by Reuters, the iPad app of the Year 2010, Flipboard, might add support for movies and TV shows by the end of the year. If the company and its CEO, Mike McCue, will manage to cut deals with studios and other content providers, Flipboard will expand beyond aggregating articles from social networks such as Twitter and Facebook or RSS services like Google Reader, becoming an all-in one solution to read, share, and watch.

Flipboard mixes articles from a growing list of brands like Oprah.com and the Economist with social media feeds from sites like Facebook into a personalized online magazine. It has received $60.5 million in venture capital funding and its app has been downloaded 3 million times.

Chairman and Chief Executive Mike McCue said he will tackle the video project at the end of the year. He declined to say which studio partners he has approached. He also hopes eventually to cut deals with publishers to sell electronic books through Flipboard.

Just when the concept of "consuming content" starts making less sense now that the iPad has turned into a full-featured platform and device capable of doing things like reading, writing, sharing news, and watching movies, the evolution of Flipboard towards broader audiences and media seems appropriate. The app was launched in 2010 featuring direct Twitter and Facebook integration to display stories from these networks, visualized through an elegant layout with beautiful typography that made great use of the iPad's screen to present multiple stories at once, and allow readers to re-share them or comment of them without opening a separate client. The app went through a series of updates to further refine the interface, add more services like Google Reader for RSS feeds and Instagram for photos, recently receiving another major revamp to introduce visual search, a popular section, and a completely new UI to browse popular articles and get recommendations from the Flipboard team's curated list of stories and sources.

We're big fans of Flipboard here at MacStories, and I believe choosing to diversify the app's offerings to include more content is step in the right direction. Obviously, as Reuters says, this may never materialize if deals aren't reached with studios, but it's reassuring to know Flipboard has been considering video as the next major addition to their social magazine. In the same report, Reuters also says the iPhone version of Flipboard is expected to hit the App Store in a few weeks, although no further details are available.

You can read more about Flipboard and our thoughts on it in our previous coverage, and check out the fantastic original promo video featuring Adam Lisagor below.
Read more


VUDU Brings Its Video-On-Demand Service To The iPad Via A Web App

Amazon wasn’t the only content provider to launch an iPad web app today, with VUDU also bringing its video-on-demand service to the iPad via a web app. VUDU, which is owned by Walmart and claims to be “a leading subscription-free, video-on-demand movie service” chose to optimise the site for the iPad and now streams videos in h.264 - although unfortunately the videos are only in standard definition due to licensing restrictions (some Disney films are also missing from the catalogue).

VUDU, a leading subscription-free, video-on-demand movie service and wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart stores, has optimized the navigation experience of VUDU.com to enable millions of iPad owners to rent or buy entertainment content and then stream it easily through any iPad browser.

Edward Lichty, General Manager of VUDU, said of the iPad launch that it “plays into that vision as we're committed to offering the VUDU experience on as many devices as possible so customers can shop for and access their favorite movies and TV shows however they want, whenever they want”. What this means in part is that any movie rented or purchased on the iPad VUDU website is also viewable on any other device that supports VUDU - which Walmart claims is more than 300 consumer electronic devices. According to Engadget, you can watch VUDU on the iPhone through this same web app despite the UI not yet being optimized for it - but don't be disappointed if this doesn't work well or if VUDU stops this soon.

Just head to the VUDU website on your iPad and follow the prompts to start using the VUDU iPad interface.

[Via Engadget]


Boxee Releases Their iPad App: Social Video Sharing & Streaming

Earlier this year at CES, Boxee announced it was developing an iPad companion app to complement the Boxee Box and Boxee installations on PC’s and Macs. Today Boxee has finally delivered and released their iPad app after postponing the initial release date from May.

The main screen of the Boxee iPad app will remind many of the familiar Boxee experience with three streams of videos shown, one is a collection of videos from friends, another is the featured video feed and the last is a stream of videos that you have selected to ‘Watch Later’. Beyond this however, the Boxee iPad app has some more interesting features including what Boxee has dubbed ‘PC to iPad’ and ‘Send to TV’. The former allows any PC/Mac to stream videos directly to the iPad without any syncing or converting (similar to Air Video or Plex) - this feature is enabled with the new Boxee Media Manager which is a lightweight app that allows the streaming from PCs and Macs.

The ‘Send to TV’ functionality incorporates the ability for the iPad to stream video directly to a Boxee Box. What is even cooler is that the Boxee Box (which is also receiving an update from today) now includes an experimental feature where it can now receive AirPlay streams from any iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch - just like an Apple TV can.

You can download Boxee's iPad app for free on the App Store. Jump the break for the release notes of Boxee for iPad and for a selection of screenshots.

Read more