Will 'Free as a Bird' be Enough to Make Peacock a Success?

· Charlotte Henry · Link

NBCUniversal Peacock Logo

NBCUniversal is set to fully enter the streaming wars next week. Variety took a look at the story behind the Peacock service, which has suffered delays to some of its major launch productions.

Most of the Peacock originals slate has been delayed by COVID-19. The service will come out with just nine originals, which include a slick series adaptation of “Brave New World” and U.K.-set workplace comedy “Intelligence,” starring David Schwimmer. The Summer Olympics were postponed until 2021, depriving the launch of some valuable promotional real estate. And with two weeks before go time, Peacock had deals for Apple, Google, Xbox and Vizio and LG TVs, but still had not clinched distribution pacts with Roku or Amazon Fire TV, the two biggest over-the-top TV device makers (which also have been holdouts on HBO Max). But Strauss remains undeterred, convinced that Peacock’s greatest potential lies in the free-to-watch tier with a light advertising load that promises no more than 5 minutes of commercials per hour. NBCU’s theory is that “Free as a bird” will resonate with millions of Americans who are financially strapped or just too maxed out to pay for yet another streaming package.

Google+ is Officially no More - Replaced on iOS and Android

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Google+, the search giant’s ill-fated social network, is officially no more. It has been replaced on iOS and Android with Google Currents, reported 9to5Mac Google.

This launch is starting with a rebrand of Google+ for Android and iOS to Google Currents. The latest version introduces the blue waveform-like icon and gives the application a Google Material Theme redesign. The core UI is mostly unchanged with a home stream ordered by relevance (or chronology), while posts from company leadership can be given priority with a sparkle icon. Text, links, images, and other content from Drive can be shared, along with polls. Otherwise, this internal community tool carries over the concept of “tags” and “streams” from Google+.

H.266 Video Codec Uses Half the Data to Stream 4K

· Andrew Orr · Link

The H.266 video codec was recently revealed, and it was designed for 4K and 8K video streaming. It can steam at these resolutions using half the data as previous codecs.

Fraunhofer said that if a 90-minute, H.265/HEVC-encoded movie is about 10GB, it would only be 5GB for the same quality when encoded with the new codec. “Because H.266/VVC was developed with ultra-high-resolution video content in mind, the new standard is particularly beneficial when streaming 4K or 8K videos on a flat screen TV,” Fraunhofer said. At the same time, it will support all formats from 480p on up.

Logitech Launches Mouse and Keyboard for Apple Devices

· Andrew Orr · Link

Logitech Mx master 3 Mx keys

Today Logitech has launched the MX Master 3 mouse and MX Keys keyboard for Macs and iPads.

Our newest additions to the Master Series and multi-device Bluetooth keyboard lineup have been re-imagined for advanced content creators who need the best tools for their craft and value Apple aesthetics, alongside increased productivity and performance.

Both products mention “For Mac” in the name, but of iPadOS now supports mice and keyboards.

Apple Patent Shows Folding Device With TouchBar

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image from Apple folding device patent

A patent application filed today shows a folding Apple device with a TouchBar and an exposed strip for notifications.

If desired, touch sensors (e.g., a two-dimensional touch sensor), buttons, or other input-output devices may be formed in a region such as region on rear surface R of housing (e.g., so that a user may supply input to one of these regions in response to adjacent content being displayed on protruding portion.

This is probably my own bias showing (because I think folding phones are gimmicks) but I think Apple is going for a folding iPad. That makes sense to me.

Secret Service Warns of Hacking Increase to Managed Service Providers

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image of locks to suggest security and encryption

The U.S. Secret Service sent out a security alert to warn of an increase in hacking to Managed Service Providers. These provide remote management software for companies, like file-sharing systems.

In a security alert sent out on June 12, Secret Service officials said their investigations team (GIOC — Global Investigations Operations Center) has been seeing an increase in incidents where hackers breach MSP solutions and use them as a springboard into the internal networks of the MSP’s customers.

iPadOS 15 Wishlist - Proper Second Screen Support And More

· Charlotte Henry · Link

We learned at WWDC 2020 what will be the upcoming version of the iPad’s operating system. On Cult of Mac, Ed Hardy look to the future and offered his iPadOS 15 wishlist. Full second display support? Yes, please.

You can mirror the iPad’s display onto a larger screen, which is very convenient for presentations and gaming. The videos from streaming services like Netflix can take full advantage of a big-screen TV. And a few drawing apps have embraced external displays. But there’s little to offer the average person to get day-to-day work done. It’s high time that changed. An iPad can show two applications side by side, or two windows from the same app. The feature should extend to moving app windows to an external display. An Apple A-series processor can easily handle displaying four open applications at once.

CleanTray UV Light Sterilization Case: $69.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

CleanTray UV Light Sterilization Case

We have a deal on the CleanTray UV Light Sterilization Case. Using 4 UV-C LED lights, this case kills 99.99% of germs and bacteria in just 5 minutes. You can get this device through our deal for $69.99.

‘FindTheMadness’ Safari Extension Alerts You to Fake Clicks

· Andrew Orr · Link

Findthemadness

FindTheMadness is a new Safari extension from Jeff Johnson. It gives you an alert when a website tricks you by running JavaScript triggered by a click.

FindTheMadness detects when JavaScript on websites overrides the normal expected behavior of your mouse and keyboard […] You may be astonished to discover how often you click what you think is a link on a page, but you’re actually running JavaScript triggered by a click.

Sounds like a nice tool, and it’s free.

‘Hamilton’ Gives Disney+ Holiday Weekend Subscriber Boost

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Lin Manuel Miranda in Hamilton on Disney+

It looks like ending free trials didn’t deter users signing up to Disney+. The streaming service got a nice boost over the holiday weekend, thanks to the arrival of Hamilton. The hit musical helped the service get.a 74 percent increase in subscribers from the four previous weekends, according to TechCrunch.

According to new data from app store analytics firm Apptopia, Disney’s streaming service saw a big jump in downloads over the July 4 holiday weekend in the U.S., following the worldwide debut of “Hamilton” on Friday, July 3rd. Between Friday and Sunday, that translated to over half a million new global downloads (752K+) for the Disney+ mobile app, excluding India and Japan. Some 458K+ of those downloads were in the U.S, the firm estimated. These figures represent a 46.6% increase over the average seen during the previous four weekends in June (Friday through Sunday), Apptopia noted.

The Story Behind Apple PowerBook’s Design

· Charlotte Henry · Link

PoweBook

Gavin Ivester is currently VP of Design at Bang & Olufsen. He started his career at Apple though, working on the PowerBook. He told TechRader how the product took shape.

The ergonomic goal was to get that front edge to be as thin as possible, for comfort, assuming you would use the laptop on a desk.  The breakthrough came from a system integration engineer named Jonathan Krakower, who proposed we push the keyboard back, and then put the battery in one of the now-empty front corners, and the disc drive in the other corner.  That left a space in the middle for some kind of cursor control, and trackballs were the best solution at that moment… My challenge was then to design options to bring that layout idea to life as a product, prototype them, test them with real users, and design better ones until we either had a final design or proved it would never work.   

Double-Spending Flaw Found in Major Bitcoin Wallets

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Bitcoin sitting on gold nuggets

Israeli researchers at wallet startup ZenGeo have found a vulnerability affecting at least three major crypto wallets – Ledger Live, Edge, and Breadwallet. The flaw allows hackers to spend Bitcoin more than once,  Coindesk report,Ed.

The bug, which the Tel Aviv-based firm calls BigSpender, allows a hacker to double-spend a user’s funds and possibly prevent them from ever using their wallet again. It works by exploiting how certain wallet’s handle Bitcoin’s replace-by-fee (RBF) function, a failsafe that enables users to swap an unconfirmed transaction with one that has a higher fee. “[BigSpender] can lead to substantial financial losses and in some cases to make the victim’s wallet totally unusable, with no way for the victim to protect themselves,” ZenGo CEO Ouriel Ohayon said in an email. “So this can be seen as a high severity attack.”

Foxconn Imports Disrupted by India-China Tensions

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Foxconn factory

Imports to India by key Apple supplier Foxconn have been slowed as a result of escalating tensions between the country and China. Reuters reported that Apple is amongst the companies seeking to free its shipments.

Customs officers at Indian ports have held back shipments from China and sought additional clearances after deadly clashes at the disputed Himalayan border last month. The checks have been imposed without any formal order. While several companies such as Apple (AAPL.O) and Dell (DELL.N) have been battling to free stuck shipments, hundreds of employees at Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn’s two plants in the south had no major work to do this week as shipments were delayed, sources said.

The Complete Cartoon Animator 4 PRO Mac Bundle: $69.99

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

The Complete Cartoon Animator 4 PRO Mac Bundle

We have a deal on the Complete Cartoon Animator 4 PRO Mac Bundle, which includes Cartoon Animator 4 PRO and 6 hours of training on 2D animation, including 55 lectures. The bundle is $69.99 through our deal.

macOS Big Sur and the Return of Whimsical Design

· Andrew Orr · Link

macOS Big Sur app icon examples

Designer Michael Flarup writes about how macOS Big Sur will bring back “fun in visual design.”

With this approach Apple is legalising a visual design expressiveness that we haven’t seen from them in almost a decade. It’s like a ban has been lifted on fun. This will severely loosen the grip of minimalistic visual design and raise the bar for pixel pushers everywhere. Your glyph on a colored background is about to get some serious visual competition.

I don’t miss pre-iOS 7 skeuomorphism, but I don’t think I’ll mind some of that era’s icons coming back (just without the gloss). I also wonder if we’ll see them on iOS, or just macOS.

Albaro Air Posture Corrector: $99.95

· Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Albaro Air Posture Corrector

We have a deal on the Albaro Air Posture Corrector, a device designed to help you improve your posture. It uses a patented ergonomically-designed air pressure cell to fit your unique body, it adjusts the air pressure and creates the most comfortable back support while effectively realigning your balance. The Albaro Air is $99.95 through our deal.

Imagination Hopes for Closer Relationship With Apple

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Imagination Technologies

British chip designer Imagination sees the possibility of a closer relationship with Apple, according to its interim CEO. Ray Bingham made the comments in an interview with

The company’s new licensing agreement with Apple “certainly opens the door for more engagement with that company,” interim Chief Executive Officer Ray Bingham said in an interview. They announced in January they’d signed a multi-year license deal giving the Silicon Valley company access to a wide-range of Imagination’s designs. Imagination isn’t allowed to discuss its relationship with Apple beyond saying the Cupertino, California-based company is a licensee, but news that the computer maker is planning to start making more of its own chips doesn’t affect “our relationship with Apple in any negative way,” Bingham said.

Spotify Duo Launches in U.S. And Apple Music May Follow Suit

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Spotify logo

Spotify launched its Premium Duo option in the U.S., UK, and other countries on Wednesday. It means a couple or two flatmates can each have a premium account for a total of $12.99 per month. That’s a $2 a month reduction on the family bundle. As 9to5 Mac notes, Apple Music tends to not be so far behind in making such moves.

In addition to each getting individual premium accounts, Spotify says Duo also gives you a joint playlist selected by Spotify on the basis of your joint tastes…. The Duo Mix allows you to choose between Chill and Upbeat playlists, and you can also opt to filter out explicit songs. You can check whether your country is included by visiting spotify.com/duo. Historically, Apple Music and Spotify have mirrored each other’s membership types, so it is at least possible that Apple will choose to offer a similar account for couples.

Google Staff Told to Work From Home Until Labor Day After COVID-19 Spikes

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Google spokesperson Katherine Williams confirmed to Reuters that the company will not reopen its U.S. offices as planned. The decision comes in the midst of a spike in COVID-19 cases in various states.

Williams confirmed a Bloomberg report that cited an internal memo to employees sent by a Google executive. “For all of you that are working from home, please continue to do so unless you are told otherwise by your manager,” Chris Rackow, Google’s vice president of global security, said in the memo. “We don’t expect this guidance to change until Monday, Sept. 7 (Labor Day) at the earliest,” Rackow wrote, adding that the recent rise in coronavirus cases in the United States demonstrates that “COVID-19 is still very much alive”.

Jamf Files For U.S. IPO With $100 Million Valuation

· Charlotte Henry · Link

Jamf logo

Jamf, which makes software that allows organizations to manage Apple devices, filed for U.S IPO on Tuesday. The initial valuation of the firm was $100 million, Bloomberg News, reported, although this will likely change.

The company was aiming to be valued at about $3 billion in the listing, Bloomberg News reported in January. Jamf, founded in 2002, makes MDM — mobile device management — software that lets organizations manage large numbers of iPhones, Macs, Apple TVs, and iPads. One of its features allows a company to update the software on all of its Apple devices at the same time. Apple itself has been a customer since 2010, the filing shows. Jamf’s dependence on the $1.6 trillion tech giant also features prominently in the section of the filing that outlines potential risks to its business, along with the potential financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, Apple represented less than 1% of Jamf’s total revenue.