Apple aired two new iPhone 6s commercials earlier today, highlighting the 4K video shooting capabilities of the device, as well as the Touch ID sensor with various iOS app integrations.
In the 1-minute 4K ad, dubbed 'Onions', Apple imagines a scenario in which a young girl shoots a close-up video of her mother cutting onions that somehow turns into a movie phenomenon. In the ad, the 'Onions' movie even goes on to win an award (with a ceremony hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris) with a tongue-in-cheek tone that, presumably, wants to communicate how the iPhone's camera can be used to shoot high-quality footage – whether it's an onion or an actual movie.
In the second ad, Apple follows the style of its previous, fast paced iPhone 6s commercials to focus on what can be done with Touch ID on iOS 9. The ad shows people paying for products with Apple Pay, starting a car with Touch ID in a dedicated iPhone app, logging into bank accounts, and more.
During these first two weeks, MLB fans spent 20 percent more minutes per day, on average, watching live video on iPad compared with the 2015 season, when multitasking was not available. (MLB says that any form of multitasking behavior was counted here, not just spilt-screen viewing.)
In addition, fans who were using the new multitasking features and watching live video of MLB games in the At Bat application were spending 162 minutes per day on average consuming MLB.TV on iPad. That’s an increase of 86 percent from the 2015 season.
Ghost Digital Cinema released a documentary about professional skateboarder Sean Malto that was shot entirely on an iPhone using an app called FiLMiC Pro, which is just $9.99 on the App Store. The filmmakers supplemented the iPhone with equipment like professional lenses, a gimbal and a drone, but the heart of the operation was an iPhone and a $10 app.
In addition to the documentary, Ghost Digital Cinema posted a behind the scenes video explaining how they made the Malto documentary. The amazing things that people make on their iPhones never never ceases to amaze me.
Control Center was introduced with iOS 7 in 2013, since then, it has benefited from minor visual tweaks and the recent inclusion of a Night Shift toggle with iOS 9.3. In future updates, it would be great to see Control Center gain more hardware and system toggles, along with the ability for users to customise which toggles they require and where they are positioned. An enhanced Control Center could also add support for 3D Touch for additional options and introduce a new system-wide dark mode.
I don't typically publish iOS concepts on MacStories, but Sam Beckett's latest video is so close to my idea for a customizable Control Center (see last year), I just couldn't resist. Tasteful, well researched, and with some great ideas for integrating 3D Touch, too.
I find the iOS Videos app frustrating to use. It’s almost unbelievable that in the 9th major version of the OS it’s missing what seem to be some pretty basic features. However, this also means that it should’t be hard to make it a lot better:
The Videos app strikes me as one of the most outdated Apple apps across iOS – it was updated with a basic UI refresh for iOS 7, but its functionality largely remained unchanged. There's a chasm between the video experiences on Apple platforms – with the new Apple TV now out of the door, I think a complete revamp of the iOS Videos app should be taken in consideration this year.
Vidyo, a screen recording utility for iPhone and iPad available at $4.99 on the App Store, seems like one of those apps that will soon be removed by Apple. By simulating an AirPlay Mirroring connection to the app itself, Vidyo allows you to capture your device's screen even when you're not using the app – which means you can record your Home screen as well as other apps, saving everything to a video file on your device.
While we’ve known it has been hosting videos for artists using its own video player inside Apple Music, Apple quietly started adding an embed button to the video player that takes it out of Apple Music and makes it sharable across the rest of the web. The feature is notable for a few reasons and could mean big things to come for Apple, video, and its relationship with YouTube and other competitive music and video services…
The new sharing option began appearing sometime in recent weeks as new videos from Drake and the company’s latest Apple Music ad featuring Kenny Chesney included an embed button on Apple’s usual video player. It’s currently hidden, only appearing on the videos in some locations and only when videos are copied from raw webpage code, but it looks to be something Apple could really exploit.
I've come across Apple Music embeds a couple of times already when reading news on some music blogs I follow, and I thought they were part of special publisher or artist features (here's an example, which I can only watch on OS X). It's interesting to imagine how video embeds could signal a proliferation of ad-free music videos available anywhere, hosted by Apple.
While I understand that many people are deeply against vertical videos, the reality is that vertical video makes sense for some cases in the age of smartphones. The ergonomics of big phones make it easier to start shooting in portrait mode without having to rotate the device and wait for the interface to adjust. On the iPhone, for instance, there's no landscape Lock screen, and a camera shortcut is right there in the portrait Lock screen. Vertical video is ideal for framing people or faces with the front-facing camera – just see how people are watching videos in Snapchat, and you'll get the idea.
On iOS, FaceTime, selfies, and the majority of the iPhone UI are mostly portrait experiences, and that has changed how people approach media content created on mobile.
TVs and computer monitors are horizontally oriented and horizontal video is how movies and other videos are best experienced – I get that. But, like it or not, we live in an era where a lot of video content is also created by people with phones oriented vertically because it's faster, easier, or simply better to record that way in some scenarios.
For this reason, I welcome YouTube adding support for full-screen vertical video playback on their platform.
Today, Instagram has officially introduced video. With a new camera interface, users can now take videos up to 15 seconds long, choose between 13 custom filters, and post quick videos alongside photos in the main Instagram feed. Videos can be viewed on the web and through the just-updated iPhone app; third-party apps with access to the Instagram API, like Tweetbot, will have to be updated to support inline video viewing.
Video on Instagram is obviously reminiscent of Vine, Twitter's service for 6-second videos. While there was no explicit mention of Vine at Instagram's press event, it was clear that founder Kevin Systrom was presenting a product aimed at doing mobile video sharing better than Vine -- which has been growing but isn't quite as mainstream as Instagram is. For the past couple of years, finding the "Instragram for video" has been a recurring theme on the Internet, and I find it curious that Instagram decided to tackle this just when Vine was starting to take off.
The 4.0 update to the iOS app is nicely built and put together. I like how video capture sits right next to the standard camera interface (you can tap a button or swipe to access it), and I also appreciate the options to delete clips (portions of a video) and choose a cover thumbnail -- two features that I always wanted to see in Vine. Instagram is setting a minimum duration for videos, which is displayed through segments in the video interface's progress bar.
I do wonder if, with the addition of video, some of Instagram's immediacy has been lost. Three years ago, when I first reviewed Instagram for iPhone, I predicted how it would become a new paradigm for camera apps. While the Instagram team has tried to keep the new experience as simple as possible, there is an intrinsic complexity about video that will likely be frowned upon by Instagram purists -- this is exemplified by Instagram's approach to video editing, which only allows you to delete entire clips and not individual frames. And Instagram's upload speed, a marquee tenet of photo sharing, will inevitably be affected by videos.
Overall, from what I've seen so far, I think Instagram for video is polished and nice -- an obvious addition perhaps, but it'll be popular in the short term. It'll be interesting to see how much Instagram's nature and community will change with videos.