This week: ok sure, Apple may have forever shelved plans for a proper television, but reports of a souped-up Apple TV debuting at WWDC will make you forget all that. Plus: the good stuff in Apple’s first Watch update; new Macbook Pros and iMacs get faster specs and bigger price tags; and Steve Jobs teaches bad actors a lesson they shan’t forget.
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With SamMote, your TV controls are just a tap away. Photo: A-watch.fr
Keeping tabs on the TV remote control has been one of the greatest problems to plague man over the last 50 years. Apple Watch is finally solving that issue by slapping all the TV controls you need right on your wrist.
Apple TV is way more than just a “hobby” to Tim Cook. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac
The rumor mill has been quiet as of late regarding Apple’s plans to disrupt the TV industry. But now Recode is reporting that Apple is in talks with programmers about doing its own Internet-based TV service for cord-cutters.
Similar to the way Dish’s Sling TV bundles channels together at an attractive cost, Apple would design its own experience around delivering content without the use of traditional cable companies.
The Samsung S9W designed by Yves Behar. Photo: Samsung
LAS VEGAS — The first full day of CES if starting to wrap up and if there’s one trend starting to emerge, it’s that there are no trends. Nowhere was this more apparent than Samsung’s keynote, where the company threw everything and the kitchen sink into its announcement of new home appliances, a vacuum, a Virtual Reality service called Milk, a cute portable SSD, and of course, one of the craziest TVs we’ve ever seen.
Dropping ridiculous TVs has become something of a tradition for Samsung at CES, and this year is no different with the SUHD S9W TV that’s touted as ‘the most seductive TV ever made.’ It’s just too bad you’ll never get to use their beautiful gimmick.
A great TV commercial will often be remembered for a lot longer than the product it’s trying to sell, so it’s no wonder companies spend hundreds of millions every year in pursuit of that one ad that will be a huge success. Some of the best ads we’ve seen this year come from the likes of Budweiser, P&G, Save The Children, and of course, Apple — and you’ll find them in the roundup below.
Prepare to meet — and subsequently love — Ron Swanson. Photo: NBC
A lot of TV happens every day, and it’s understandable if you can’t watch all of it. Maybe you have a job or read or something. But now, the holidays have given you the gift of several days off with nothing to do but open presents, eat and watch television, so you might as well make up for lost time.
Here are five TV shows you should cram into your face like so much Christmas goose before you have to go back to work.
The death of cable TV bundling is nearly upon us, as signaled by HBO’s announcement today that it will offer an internet-based streaming subscription in 2015.
“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped,” said HBO CEO and chairman Richard Plepler. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.”
That’s big news in an industry that has been incredibly resistant to disruptors like Apple. And the Apple TV specifically stands to gain immensely from this shift towards Hollywood finally selling premium content unbundled.
Widget, widgets, widgets. Boy, have we got some widgets for you. And text. Plain text. Plain old text, turned into a calculator. And widgets. Did I mention those? Weather widgets. Battery widgets. And yes, text widgets.
Read all about these new widgets and other new apps in this week's App Watch.
WunderStation from Weather Underground hooks into thousands of privately owned weather stations and presents their data in an iPad app. The smoothly animated graphs are beautiful and can tell you way more than you’d ever want to know about rainfall, barometric pressure and even UV. If you have stations near you, it’s pretty rad. If not, no biggie – the app is $Free
Filthy name, great app. Droool is a “photo gallery for your social networks.” Browse pictures from Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and more, and index pictures from iCloud and other local folders without moving or copying the files. It’s fast, simple and looks great, and it’s free with in-app purchases. $Free
Terrible name, great app. iBetterCharge monitors your iOS devices’ battery level over your Wi-Fi network, using the same connection that iTunes Wi-Fi sync would use, if you still synced your iPhone with your computer in the space year of 2014. It can pop up warnings when the battery drops to a preset level, and a click on the menu bar shows you the level of all the devices on the network. $Free
This is what the Internet is made for. Photogrammar puts 170,000 Depression-era photos in a searchable, browsable archive. Explore on an interactive map, search or get into the Labs section and browse by metadata sourced from the U.S. Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information archives. Warning: serious time-sink. $Free
PlainTextMenu takes the text on your Mac’s clipboard and transmogrifies it into something useful. It strips out formatting, so you never get big ugly Comic Sans when pasting from a colleague’s Word report, and it can turn the text to uppercase, lowercase or title case along the way. From the school of One Thing Well. $1
Web service re/spin takes Spotify playlists and transforms them into Rdio playlists. If someone’s going to share a playlist, it usually comes from Spotify, and re/spin works with published Spotify playlists. Or you can just paste in a track list copied right from the app. It also works with Last.fm. Remember when PCs couldn’t read Mac floppy disks? It’s like fixing that all over again. $Free
You know all those hard drives grafted onto your Mac? Keep a close eye on them with StorageStatus, an app that turns hard drives into traffic lights in your menu bar and changes their colors when they do something. It knows when they are sleeping, it knows when they’re awake, and it knows when they’ve been good or bad. $3
Not new, but awesome nonetheless. Calca is as close as you’ll get to a plain text calculator. Tap in complex formulas or simple sums and see the results right there in a plain text document. Set variables or just add numbers. And see all your pages synced over iCloud between Mac, iPhone and iPad versions, as well as Windows(!). I love Calca for its balance of simplicity and power. From $3
Finally, a version for the iPad. TVShow Time tracks your favorite TV shows and tells you when they’re on. Browse shows and show synopses, and get notifications when something is about to air. See the shows on a calendar, view news about your shows and read about new shows. It’s pretty comprehensive, and looks great on the big iPad screen. $3