There are few macOS utilities I’ve tried that take a potentially complex, multi-step process and boil it down to a simple task as well as Softorino YouTube Converter 2 does. That’s because it’s a difficult technical and design challenge to hide complexity without creating an inflexible app with too many compromises. Softorino YouTube Converter, also known as SYC, does an excellent job avoiding the pitfalls and striking a balance between utility and simplicity. It only takes a few steps to go from a URL to a downloaded video or audio file, but SYC still allows for just enough tweaking along the way that it preserves a level of versatility that should make it attractive to a wide range of users.
Apple has announced that Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg are joining the company to lead the company’s worldwide video programming efforts as part of Eddie Cue’s team:
“Jamie and Zack are two of the most talented TV executives in the world and have been instrumental in making this the golden age of television,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We have exciting plans in store for customers and can’t wait for them to bring their expertise to Apple — there is much more to come.”
Erlicht and Van Amburg were responsible for hits such as Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, The Crown, Rescue Me, and more while at Sony Pictures Television. Apple has been ramping up its video production efforts for quite some time now and if there was any remaining doubt that the company is serious about getting into original content creation, the hiring of Erlicht and Van Amberg should put those doubts to rest.
An excellent new utility called PiPifier was just launched by developer Arno Appenzeller. PiPifier may sound familiar, as it was originally released as a macOS app on the Mac App Store. But now the app had made its way to the iPad.
PiPifier is a tool that enables viewing any HTML5 video using the iPad's Picture in Picture feature. It works as an action extension from the share sheet that you run within Safari. Simply load a site containing a video, then run the PiPifier action extension, and the video will instantly enter Picture in Picture mode. This is tremendously useful on sites like YouTube that do not support Picture in Picture by default, and in my testing has worked perfectly.
PiPifier is a free download on the App Store.
Apple announced today that it is launching a new video app called Clips in April. The app lets users combine video, photos, music, and more and then share their creations with Messages, Instagram, Facebook, and other social networks.
Last night Facebook launched its first app for the Apple TV. Its technical name is simply 'Facebook,' since it's bundled with the Facebook iOS app, but marketing images dub it Facebook Video. The app provides the first native way to watch video content from Facebook on an Apple TV.
Last night Recode's Peter Kafka hosted an interview with Apple's Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services, who was joined by television producer Ben Silverman at Recode's Code Media Conference. The discussion centered around Apple's video ambitions, with new information and trailers being released for two of Apple's upcoming original shows: Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke. Additionally, Cue commented on work Apple's doing with Apple Music and in a variety of other areas.
I watch a lot of TV shows and YouTube videos on my iPad Pro. Thanks to the 12.9-inch iPad's large screen and four-speaker system, watching directly on the device is a pleasure (I tend to prop up the iPad with the Razer keyboard I reviewed here) but I've also been streaming to Google Chromecast and Apple TV depending on what I want to watch (Chromecast is great for YouTube).
Every time I want to watch something, I use Infuse. I've been an Infuse Pro customer for years now and I like the app because it can stream videos from my Synology NAS and it can play anything I throw at it without issues. Yesterday, Infuse graduated to version 5, which is a separate app with a new subscription model at $6.99/year. I don't mind paying $0.58/month for an app I use several times each day, and the new version brings some welcome additions that will save me a lot of time going forward.
Infuse 5 supports Split View and Picture-in-Picture, two features that were strangely missing since the launch of iOS 9. Infuse also uses iCloud now to keep shares, favorites, metadata, and other settings in sync between devices; I don't use Infuse on my iPhone, but it's good to know I won't have to set it up from scratch. In terms of other native iOS features Infuse 5 supports, there is integration with the document picker to download files from external apps and optimizations for video playback on iOS 10.
More importantly for me, Infuse 5 can automatically download subtitles from Open Subtitles and stream videos from a connected Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive account. The first option is welcome for those times when I have some friends over who want to watch a movie in English audio and subtitles, which I usually keep disabled. Now I don't have to go looking around the web for the right version of subtitles as Infuse seems to be doing a decent job at picking up the correct .srt file from the popular subtitle service. Cloud streaming means I have an easy way to beam work-related videos from my Dropbox to my Apple TV or Chromecast while retaining the benefits of Infuse's UI.
Infuse is the only video app I keep on my iPad Pro. Unlike other video apps, Infuse combines an elegant interface and intuitive controls with powerful functionalities and integrations, which is what I need when I'm done working and want to relax at the end of a long day. Infuse 5 is available on the App Store; a paid upfront Pro version is also available at $12.99 if you don't want to subscribe annually.
Cynthia Littleton writing for Variety:
Apple has emerged as the surprise buyer of the unscripted TV series based on the “Carpool Karaoke” segment of CBS’ “The Late Late Show with James Corden.”
The tech giant’s Apple Music service will distribute the series to its members in 100 countries worldwide. Apple sees the show as a natural vehicle to drive online activity for its streaming-music venture.
This is not Apple's first foray into original video content, and at this point it is quite clear that Apple is actively exploring the idea. For now at least, most of the focus (including today's announcement of Carpool Karaoke) has been on video content that can be part of Apple Music, but if these early projects go well it's likely that we'll see Apple's video ambitions expand in scope and scale. In the last year Apple has reportedly approved a scripted series from Dr. Dre, launched a music docu-series from Vice, partnered to produce the 'Planet of the Apps' reality competition series, and exclusively streamed a Taylor Swift concert from her 1989 world tour.
“We love music, and ‘Carpool Karaoke’ celebrates it in a fun and unique way that is a hit with audiences of all ages,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services. “It’s a perfect fit for Apple Music — bringing subscribers exclusive access to their favorite artists and celebrities who come along for the ride.”
It should be noted that James Corden, who has hosted the Carpool Karaoke segments as part of 'The Late Late Show' will not be hosting these standalone episodes of Carpool Karaoke for Apple - though he will be an executive producer. The new host and premiere date has not yet been announced, but Variety reports that production is expected to begin soon. Apple has licensed 16 episodes of Carpool Karaoke and they will air the episodes weekly to members of Apple Music in over 100 countries.
Apple released eight short, fifteen-second videos as part of its ‘Shot on iPhone’ series today. The videos highlight each of the seven continents, plus a bonus video set in the sky between North and South America. Each video highlights features of the iPhone camera or effects that can be accomplished in apps like iMovie such as image stabilization, slow motion, reverse playback, and time lapse.
The videos, which you can watch after the break, also feature snippets of an eclectic variety of music.