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Posts tagged with "youtube"

Shortcuts Corner: Search YouTube, Preview Folder Contents, and Play Recent Music Albums

As I explained in today’s issue of MacStories Weekly for Club MacStories members, we’re bringing the newsletter’s Shortcuts Corner section to the site, with a twist: in this series, you’ll find simpler shortcuts that you can download for free, and which will be added to the public MacStories Shortcuts Archive; you’ll also get a preview of an exclusive shortcut available today for Club MacStories members.

In this week’s Shortcuts Corner, I share shortcuts to quickly launch a search query in the YouTube app, preview the contents of a folder in iCloud Drive, and start playback for one of your recently played albums in the Music app. Let’s dive in.

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Apple Highlights Arcade Titles in New Video

Today on its YouTube channel, Apple published a new video highlighting some of the titles coming to Apple Arcade once it launches next Thursday alongside iOS 13.

The video spends nearly two minutes providing quick glimpses at a lot of Arcade titles, while lingering for extended periods over a handful of titles that haven’t been seen much before, such as Earth Night, Hot Lava, Skate City, and more.

The demos Apple shared on-stage at its September event received mixed responses, but I would expect a much more enthusiastic response to greet this video. Everything showcased looks fantastic, offering interesting stories, gameplay mechanics, and visuals. If Apple really does have 100+ games like this at or near launch, Arcade is going to quickly become a very compelling service.


Apple Launches Dedicated YouTube Channel for Apple TV

Over the last few weeks Apple has quietly debuted a new YouTube channel dedicated to one of its services: Apple TV. The Apple TV channel is home to a variety of videos, like trailers for upcoming films and TV shows, exclusive behind the scenes clips and interviews tied to popular shows and movies, and, of course, videos highlighting Apple’s own original content efforts, like an Apple TV+ trailer and Carpool Karaoke previews.

Every video on the channel appears to be ad-free, which could offer a compelling reason to watch trailers for upcoming films, such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, through the Apple TV channel rather than a competing channel where ads are commonplace.

The launch of an Apple TV channel on YouTube is no big surprise, particularly as Apple moves further into the video and entertainment space. However, the channel does have an odd, yet interesting relationship with Apple’s own TV app. While the channel serves to promote the Apple TV service, its videos by and large aren’t available on that service’s app. The behind the scenes clips and interviews found on this new channel are not currently available in the Apple TV app, only on YouTube – though it’s certainly possible that will change in the future. Similarly, most of the trailers on YouTube are unavailable in the TV app, since unreleased films and shows don’t exist in TV’s content database.

Trailers for unreleased films have historically been served through Apple’s iTunes Trailers platform, which is still alive though somewhat stagnant – the iOS app hasn’t been updated for a year and carries many dated design conventions. However, the launch of an Apple TV YouTube channel may indicate Apple’s plans to slowly shutter that service.

As Apple’s redesigned TV app launches next month as part of tvOS 12.3 and iOS 12.3, and we draw nearer to the launch of Apple TV+ this fall, it will be interesting to see what kind of content Apple funnels through this new YouTube channel rather than the TV app itself. Will most videos continue to be YouTube-exclusive, simply serving to promote films and shows that can be watched in the TV app? Or will the TV app eventually house all of this content as well, with YouTube merely serving as a means of greater exposure for Apple’s TV efforts? We shouldn’t have to wait long to find out.


Latest iPad Pro Ads Highlight the Device’s Versatility

Today Apple published six new videos that focus on the iPad Pro. Five of them are continuations of the ‘A New Way’ series that debuted in January, highlighting the device’s versatility in tasks like video creation, wedding planning, and serving as the perfect travel companion. The final video, titled ‘Life on iPad,’ follows a man around town as he uses the iPad Pro during what’s presented as an average day – he uses the device to make a Group FaceTime call, do illustrative work while connected to an external monitor, email a file, and draft a document during a flight.

All five ‘A New Way’ videos do a great job showcasing real-life tasks being tackled on the iPad. Most are focused on getting things done, but the video about travel also highlights the iPad’s strengths as a video player and even coloring book. The task-focused videos offer step-by-step examples of workflows that can be helpful to users aiming to stretch their use of the iPad Pro.


As with the prior round of ‘A New Way’ ads, these all end by highlighting how they were filmed, edited, designed, and made entirely on iPad Pro, no doubt with similar workflows to the ones Apple previously documented.

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YouTube Stories Expand to Broader Base of Creators

YouTube’s take on the popular Stories format from Instagram and Snapchat was previously only available to select YouTubers, but starting today it’s rolling out to all accounts with over 10,000 subscribers. Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch:

YouTube is beginning to roll out Stories to a wider set of creators, giving them access to the new creation tools that include the ability to decorate the videos with text, stickers, filters, and more.

The feature is very much inspired by rival social apps like Snapchat and Instagram – except that, in YouTube’s case, Stories disappear after 7 days, not 24 hours.

The idea behind YouTube Stories is to give creators any easy way to engage with their fans in between their more polished and produced videos. Today’s creators are no longer simply turning a camera on and vlogging – they’re creating professional content that requires editing and a lot of work before publication, for the most part.

While I haven’t encountered any of my favorite YouTubers using Stories yet, I hope that changes after today. While Instagram’s IGTV seems like it hasn’t taken off very well, plenty of YouTubers remain heavy users of Instagram Stories. If YouTube Stories can offer a similar experience, without users needing to leave YouTube, it could be a really solid addition to the platform.

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Google Introduces YouTube Digital Wellbeing Features

If you’ve ever wondered how long you spend watching YouTube, now you can find out. With an update that hit the App Store today, Google has added ‘Time watched’ statistics to the iOS app’s Account view. Tap your avatar in the upper right-hand corner, then ‘Time watched’ for your total viewing time today, yesterday, and the past week, plus your daily average. The statistics are based on your YouTube Watch History, so they don’t include anything deleted from your Watch History or watched in Incognito mode. Nor does Google include YouTube Music listening statistics.

The new ‘Time watched’ section also includes the ability to set up reminders to take a break periodically, which can be set in 5-minute increments between 5 minutes and 24 hours. There’s also a toggle for batching the notifications YouTube sends. There are 10 categories of notifications available in the YouTube app, so batching them if you have several turned on is a welcome addition. Notification digests can also be accessed from the app’s settings. From ‘Time watched,’ you can turn off Autoplay and disable sounds and vibrations too.

Originally announced at Google I/O earlier this year, it’s nice to see watch time statistics added at the app level, even though similar information will be available from the Screen Time feature coming soon with iOS 12. If you haven’t been running the iOS 12 beta, taking a peek at your YouTube usage statistics now is an excellent way to get a feel for the utility of having an objective measure of how long you spend on the service.


Google Introduces YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Subscription Services, Retires YouTube Red Moniker

Google seems to have an affinity for constantly rebranding its products, and today is the latest example of that. Soon, YouTube Red will be replaced by the more costly $11.99/month YouTube Premium service – the good news is that Premium members will get all the benefits of YouTube’s new Music service thrown in too. And if you’re an existing Red subscriber, or sign up quickly before Premium launches, you can lock in the existing $9.99 monthly rate and still get all the benefits of Premium and Music.

YouTube Music is Google’s attempt at taking on streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify directly. Launching May 22nd, YouTube Music will have both a free tier and a paid, $9.99/month option. The main focus here is the paid plan though, as it will be the only way to enable background listening – a pretty important feature for music. Paid subscribers will also benefit from downloads and ad-free listening.

YouTube Music will launch with a new mobile app and desktop player, and use Google’s intelligence to power advanced search capabilities and an aggregation of different song versions you may not find elsewhere. In a confusing move, Google Play Music will continue to exist as a separate service from YouTube Music, but if you’re a subscriber to the former, you get the latter service at no extra cost.

As someone who uses YouTube regularly, but not enough to justify a Red subscription, the new Premium plan definitely seems like a more attractive all-around product, despite the price hike: you get a full-fledged music streaming service, YouTube Originals, and a better viewing experience on the largest video source in the world thanks to downloads, no ads, and background playback, all for $11.99. Spotify and Apple Music subscribers may be content with their chosen services for now, but if YouTube Music truly does become a legitimate contender in the streaming market, it will be hard to resist the allure of YouTube Premium for all the extra perks it offers.

At launch, YouTube Music and Premium will be available in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico, and they’ll arrive shortly thereafter in Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.