Posts tagged with "tv"

Carpool Karaoke: The Series Now Available on Apple Music

Last night Apple launched the premiere of its second original television series, Carpool Karaoke. Like Planet of the Apps before it, Carpool Karaoke will release new episodes every Tuesday for Apple Music subscribers. It can be accessed from the ‘TV & Movies’ section of the Apple Music app’s ‘Browse’ tab. Alternately, you can also find it in Apple’s standalone TV app, which Apple Music has a direct integration with.

The premiere episode of Carpool Karaoke is twenty minutes and features James Corden and Will Smith. The concept for the series comes from the popular segment on “The Late Late Show” where Corden rides around with a celebrity singing songs and exploring the city. Based on previews for the series, Corden will only appear in one other episode of Apple’s spinoff this season, while other episodes will contain a host of other celebrity groupings.

You can see a six-minute clip of the series’ first episode below, followed by an extended preview of the upcoming season.


Carpool Karaoke: The Series Launches August 8th

Apple announced today that its next original TV series, Carpool Karaoke: The Series, will premiere on August 8th and air new episodes every Tuesday from that point on. Like its first show, Planet of the Apps, Carpool Karaoke will be released exclusively for Apple Music subscribers.

A new promo trailer for the series was released today alongside the date announcement. It features short clips from many upcoming episodes, showing off a variety of guest star pairings including:

  • James Corden and LeBron James;
  • Ariana Grande and Seth MacFarlane;
  • Planet of the Apps advisors Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, and will.i.am;
  • Shaquille O’Neal and John Cena;
  • Alicia Keys and John Legend;
  • And several more.

Planet of the Apps Launches Worldwide with Season Premiere

Apple launched the premiere episode of Planet of the Apps last night, at the end of the second full day of WWDC. Planet of the Apps features app creators who compete to receive funding for their apps with the help of the show's celebrity mentors. The first episode runs just under 50 minutes, and is available free of charge for a limited time to all viewers on the show's website. Future installments of the 10-episode series will only be available to Apple Music subscribers, and will release weekly.

Timed to coordinate with the launch, the Apple Music app for iOS has received a new 'TV & Movies' section inside the 'Browse' tab. The section is headlined by Planet of the Apps, but it also features some of Apple's previously released original video content, such as Drake's 'Please Forgive Me' and the '808' documentary. If you tap through to the Planet of the Apps informational page, it contains more info about the show, a listing of all currently available episodes, and also a selection of bonus video content featuring the series' celebrity personalities.

If anyone sets out to locate Apple's new original series, they won't even have to visit the 'TV & Movies' section to find it. Apple is heavily featuring it in the top section of Apple Music's 'Browse' tab with six featured banners. The show is also being featured inside of Apple's TV app (assuming Apple Music has been given user permission to integrate with TV). Additionally, the show's website is linked to from the front page of Apple.com, and a wide array of press stories have been released in the last 24 hours covering the launch.

Clearly, Apple wants the world to know that Planet of the Apps is different from its original video work of the past; the tech company is now officially in the TV content business.


Carpool Karaoke Will Be Released Every Tuesday Starting August 8th

Apple announced that Carpool Karaoke: The Series will debut for Apple Music subscribers on August 8th. According to Apple’s press release, the show, based on James Corden’s popular segment from The Late Late Show with James Corden:

…will welcome a different group of superstars every Tuesday, with new episodes available exclusively to Apple Music subscribers in more than 100 countries. Celebrity pairings include Will Smith and James Corden; Miley, Noah, Billy Ray and the entire Cyrus family; Shakira and Trevor Noah; Game of Thrones stars Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams; Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith; John Legend, Alicia Keys and Taraji P. Henson; LeBron James and James Corden; and many more.

Originally anticipated to be released earlier, Apple pushed the debut of Carpool Karaoke back last month.

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iShows Adds ‘Watch Now’ Feature to Stream Episodes in Other Video Apps

A few days ago, I asked on Twitter for a TV show tracker that could sync with Trakt.tv and show where each episode could be legally streamed. I've been using Trakt.tv to organize my TV show library and keep track of new episodes for a couple of years now, but I couldn't find a Trakt-compatible app that also supported showing streaming sources for episodes – like Apple's TV app does, for instance. In the few weeks I spent using the TV app, I thought that was one of its best options.

Today, iShows – a longtime MacStories favorite – has added this feature, which is called Watch Now. After selecting the country you want to use for streaming (useful, for instance, if you live in Europe but use a VPN for American streaming services like HBO Now), iShows will display where each episode can be streamed or, alternatively, purchased or rented.

I tested Watch Now with the dozen of TV shows I'm tracking in iShows/Trakt, and it works as advertised; with one tap, iShows will open the link for an episode's streaming source, which thanks to Universal Links on iOS will deep-link directly into the associated video app (if installed). It couldn't be easier, and I appreciate that I don't have to look up each show's information on the web to learn where it can be streamed.

While there are a number of great Trakt-compatible apps at this point (some favorites of mine include Couchy and Television Time), iShows has regained a spot on my devices because of the addition of Watch Now.

You can get iShows 2.9 from the App Store.


YouTube TV Streaming Service Coming This Spring

Yesterday YouTube announced a forthcoming TV offering called YouTube TV. The streaming service consists of a bundle of over 40 networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN. YouTube Red Originals are thrown in too. When it launches this spring, the service will cost $35/month with no contracts or other commitments.

Upon launch, YouTube TV will be available as a new app, separate from the standard YouTube app. Yesterday's blog post mentions an iOS app, but there is no reference to an Apple TV app.

You can watch YouTube TV on any screen—mobile, tablet or computer—and you can easily stream to your TV with a Google Chromecast or Chromecast built-in TV. YouTube TV works on both Android and iOS.

While this could be a simple oversight, it appears that watching on the big screen will require a Chromecast device. We'll have to wait until launch to see for sure. Similarly, it's unknown at this point if the iOS app will support Picture in Picture or Split View on iPad. The lack of an Apple TV app or iPad-specific features would make the service much less appealing to someone who watches most video on those devices.

The full channel lineup for YouTube TV.

The full channel lineup for YouTube TV.

One of the biggest selling points for YouTube TV is that it includes a cloud DVR with unlimited storage. The freedom to record anything and never worry about storage space is nice. Especially since, unlike many traditional cable or satellite services today, I would expect YouTube's DVR to work flawlessly regardless of whether you're watching on a mobile device or your TV. One small string attached to the DVR is that content gets erased nine months after it's been recorded.

YouTube TV is the latest in a series of TV streaming offerings that bundles together big-name networks in a package resembling a traditional cable bundle. Sling TV was the first major player to dip its toes into the market, followed by PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now, and Hulu has announced they'll have their own offering available soon. One advantage YouTube TV may have over its current competition is the experience gained from serving a billion hours of video content every day. YouTube should have no trouble scaling the service to reach large numbers of users for things like major sporting events.

Recently I shared in a Club MacStories newsletter how I had cut the cord and ended my satellite service. Because of that, streaming services like YouTube TV are more appealing to me than ever. Though the potential lack of iPad features or an Apple TV app are concerning, YouTube's credentials make its service more appealing in my mind than any of its competition. YouTube knows what it's doing with streaming video, so I'm looking forward to checking this service out.


TV App Review

Today Apple released tvOS 10.1 and iOS 10.2, both of which bring several additions to the operating systems. Chief among all additions, the clear centerpiece of these updates is a brand new app called TV. When Tim Cook announced this app onstage earlier this fall, he plainly stated its purpose: TV exists to create a unified TV experience, one place to access all TV shows and movies.

Does it succeed? Is this the best television experience available today?

Before answering those questions, it's important to consider the history of underwhelming television endeavors that brought Apple to this point.

Steve Jobs introduced the first Apple TV set-top box over ten years ago, in September 2006. That product unveiling came at the tail end of a keynote focused on the iPod and iTunes, where Jobs announced the additions of Movies and TV Shows to the iTunes Store. At its birth, the Apple TV was not meant to revolutionize television; it was made to support the iTunes ecosystem Apple was building.

Throughout its first three iterations, the Apple TV was never a hallmark product like the iPod, Mac, or iPhone; it was simply a hobby for the company. It was Apple dipping its toes in the TV market. But the fourth generation Apple TV represented a shift. With modern hardware, a new operating system dubbed tvOS, and a vision that the future of TV is apps, Apple dove full force into the television market. It set out to create the best TV experience possible.

The newly released TV app is a significant step forward in realizing that goal.

TV is intended to address a modern issue. While the future of television may be apps, up until now Apple's implementation of that vision has been lacking; it's been lacking because the more video apps you have, the more navigating it requires to find the content you love. More time navigating means less time watching. TV was built to solve this problem.

The TV app on tvOS and iOS centralizes content from a wide array of video apps in one place, presenting that content in a simple and familiar interface. No one wants to juggle an assortment of video apps, jumping from one app to another to find the content they're looking for. We've all learned to tolerate it, but none of us wants it. So Apple built TV to be the new hub of our video-watching life.

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The TV App as a Supporting Actor

Joe Steel makes a good point in his look at this week's Apple TV announcements:

Why is TV the app an app and not the Home screen on the device? It’s obviously modeled after the same ideas that go into other streaming devices that expose content rather than app icons, so why is this a siloed launcher I have to navigate into and out of? Why is this bolted on to the bizarre springboard-like interface of tvOS when it reproduces so much of it?

You could argue that people want to have access to apps that are not for movies or TV shows, but I would suggest that that probably occurs less often and would be satisfied by a button in the TV app that showed you the inane grid of application tiles if you wanted to get at something else.

As I argued yesterday on Connected, I think the new TV app should be the main interface of tvOS – the first thing you see when you turn on the Apple TV. Not a grid of app icons (a vestige of the iPhone), but a collection of content you can watch next.

It's safe to assume that the majority of Apple TV owners turn on the device to watch something. But instead of being presented with a launch interface that highlights video content, tvOS focuses on icons. As someone who loves the simplicity of his Chromecast, and after having seen what Amazon is doing with the Fire TV's Home screen, the tvOS Home screen looks genuinely dated and not built for a modern TV experience.

I think Apple has almost figured this out – the TV app looks like the kind of simplification and content-first approach tvOS needs. But by keeping it a separate app, and by restricting it to US-only at launch, Apple is continuing to enforce the iPhone's Home screen model on every device they make (except the Mac).

That's something the iPad, the Watch1, and the Apple TV all have in common – Home screen UIs lazily adapted from the iPhone. I wish Apple spent more time optimizing the Home screens of their devices for their different experiences.


  1. The Watch is doing slightly better than the other ones thanks to watchOS 3 and its Dock, but the odd honeycomb Home screen is still around, and it doesn't make much sense on the device's tiny screen. ↩︎