Apple has just finished giving their highly-awaited press conference, and the company revealed updates to their iPad, AppleTV, and iCloud products. Apple started off their presentation talking about iCloud now supporting movies. For the AppleTV, you’ll be able to re-download movies you’ve purchased on any device, and now movies and TV shows can be viewed in 1080p. There’s also a new user interface, but it’s not in the traditional iOS design. I don’t have an AppleTV so I can’t comment on whether the UI needed an update, and I don’t know if this redesign will be any better. For me, iCloud supporting movies was the big deal. The new AppleTV will cost $99 (same as the current model) and be released on March 16th.
Hit the jump for a recap on the new iPad, the release date, and pricing info.
Earlier this year, Apple unveiled its cloud computing service called (unsurprisingly) iCloud. For those unfamiliar with cloud storage and computing, it allows a user to store their files online and then stream them to home and mobile devices. iCloud is currently only available for streaming music, but the LA Times reports that Apple is planning to expand the service to include movies. Apple won’t be the first to offer users this service as all the major studios except for Disney are now working on the cloud service “Ultraviolet”, which began this past week with Warner Bros’ release of Green Lantern and Horrible Bosses. Other upcoming titles planned for Ultraviolet include The Smurfs and Cowboys & Aliens.
Of course, Apple will instantly become a competitor, but the iCloud is restricted to PCs, Apple computers, iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone since Apple wants to keep consumers buying Apple. Android devices are shut out of iCloud and will have to use Ultraviolet or wait until another company, such as Amazon, steps up with its own service. It’s worth mentioning that Ultraviolet and iCloud will probably not compete with each other since studios are more than happy to find a new avenue to sell their product and they can’t do much better than Apple. The service will most likely launch in late 2011 or early 2012.
As most of you have already heard, Steve Jobs passed away this morning at the young age of 56 from pancreatic cancer. As someone who has enjoyed the products that Jobs helped to create, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. While society all too often uses the words genius and ahead of their time, Jobs was someone who eclipsed whatever you called him and was a once in a generation inspiration. Not only did he build Apple into the most prominent player in technology, he helped turn Pixar into a brand synonymous with amazing movies. To quote Patton Oswalt:
“Steve Jobs. Closest thing we had to Tony Stark.”
To help remember Jobs, after the jump I’m posting two great videos. The first is Jobs introducing the first iPod back in 2001, before Apple took over the music business and digital downloads. The second is a video a lot of you have already seen…it’s Job’s delivering a commencement speech to the graduates of Stanford University in 2005. In the great speech he talks about getting fired from Apple in 1985, life & death.
Since the future is here, it’s only right that we start referencing it in our technology as much as possible. CBS Interactive has created a must-own app for Star Trek fans who own an iPad. Using the LCARS (Library Computer Access/Retrieval System) interface that was first used in The Next Generation, the app turns your iPad into a PADD (Personal Access Display Device) and puts the entire encyclopedia of Trek knowledge at your fingertips. Not only does the App change the interface to the PADD style, it even has a voice similar to the one made famous by the late Majel Barrett Roddenberry. The App also features integration with the official Star Trek Facebook of Twitter pages. If I don’t see someone at Comic-Con using this app, I’ll be disappointed.
Hit the jump to check out videos of the PADD in action.
Warner Bros. is taking an innovative step in their home distribution market by releasing two of their hit movies, The Dark Knight and Inception, as “App Editions” for the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. In a press release, WB announced that the App Edition will enable “downloading and unlimited streaming, as well as access to the entire array of bonus content available within the App.” The App Editions will also utilize social networking features so that you can let all your friends know you’re watching Inception and all your friends will let you know that they don’t care.
The App Edition of Inception will cost you $11.99 while The Dark Knight will run you $9.99. Hit the jump my thoughts on this new distribution method, a photo gallery of the apps, and the press release, which includes the special features for each film.
Apple has been working on a device that allows the viewer to view a 3D image without those pesky glasses. The invention uses a screen that deflects images taken from slightly different angles into each eye to create a stereoscopic image which the brain converts into three dimensions.
The technology will likely first be implemented with computer displays, and the iPad seems like the ideal launching… pad. The brass ring is an entirely holographic live-action movie, though such a feat will require new filmmaking techniques to capture the actors from all the necessary angles.
Hit the jump for an excerpt from a recently granted patent, which offers a level of detail way beyond my technological comprehension.
At their keynote today, Apple has announced a new version of their Apple TV hardware. The new Apple TV is much smaller than the previous version (about the size of a hockey puck) and costs $99 compared to the current model’s $229 price tag. The device will be able to stream movies available to “Watch Instantly” on Netflix. You can also stream content from YouTube, MobileMe, and Flickr.
More controversial is Apple’s decision to make the device “streaming only”, so unlike the current version you can’t purchase a TV show or movie and store it on Apple TV. ABC and Fox are offering HD rentals of their shows for $0.99. HD movies will also be available to rent starting at $3.99 a pop. The question when it comes to the TV shows is why rent a half-hour of television when you could buy it on iTunes for a buck more (two bucks if you want to own the episode in HD)? You’ll also be able to stream movies from your computer, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Video on Apple TV will stream at 720p. The new device will be available to buy in four weeks. Hit the jump to see images of the new Apple TV.
Although I wouldn’t watch a movie on an iPod Touch or an iPhone, you can now do so if you wish if you own one or both of the apple products and have a Netflix membership. Netflix announced today via its blog that the free Netflix app that was announced back in June is available starting today. Netflix released an app earlier this year for the iPad when the device first launched. I thought the app looked very slick and cool, and I could easily see myself using a lot if I owned an iPad. Having said that, there are a couple of differences in inches between an iPad screen and an iPhone/iPod Touch screen and I really think that viewing something on such a little window is robbing you of a film’s full enjoyment.
However, I know that a lot of people are fine with watching stuff on their iPhone and if you’re one of those people all you have to do is visit the app store, download the free app, and within a few seconds you will be able to stream any of the films and TV shows that are available in their massive Watch Instantly section. Even if I’m not a fan of watching movies on your phone, you can’t deny that this is pretty cool and another indication that being able to stream movies and TV shows will only become more and more popular in the future. After the jump, you can watch the classic video of David Lynch giving his thoughts about watching a movie in the palm of your hand.
Whether you’re a god-like Mac-user of a filthy leper with a PC (I’m the latter; damn one of my lips just fell off), Apple may soon be offering you the opportunity to watch TV via its iTunes service for only $30/month. Therefore, while you wouldn’t own any of the TV programs you watch, you would have the ability to watch all the TV programs you want…provided that TV networks decide to once again join forces with the brushed-aluminum side. Hit the jump to see if you’ll be changing the channel to Apple (hopefully without their snide, condescending ads).