Apple Registers xrOS, Likely to Power Mixed Reality Headset

Apple has reportedly registered the name xrOS in association with its upcoming extended reality eyewear, expected to be released in 2023. The xrOS moniker represents a switch from another operating system’s name, realityOS, that had been used internally with regard to the device. Whatever the new system is eventually called, the highly anticipated gear will be Apple’s first major debut in a new product category since the Apple Watch was introduced in 2015. Apple’s wearables division contributed more than $41 billion to the company’s bottom line in the last fiscal year, accounting for about 10 percent of its overall sales revenue. Continue reading Apple Registers xrOS, Likely to Power Mixed Reality Headset

Mark Cuban’s Fireside Acquires Stremium to Gain TV Access

Fireside, a streaming platform co-founded by Mark Cuban and Falon Fatemi, has acquired Stremium, which it will use to leverage Fireside onto Amazon Fire TV, Roku and other connected smart TV devices. Fireside is a streaming app that offers members an opportunity to interact with the platform’s founding talent, including Jay Leno, Craig Kilborn, Melissa Rivers and “Entourage” creator Doug Ellin as they appear live on their Fireside networks or shows. Stremium is a cloud DVR and live TV platform that lets consumers link their live channel providers through a single portal. Continue reading Mark Cuban’s Fireside Acquires Stremium to Gain TV Access

New Apple TV 4K Touts Upgrades Including A15 Bionic Chip

The new Apple TV 4K went on sale online and in stores last week, offering improvements over what some say is the best streaming hardware available. The 2022 model has an A15 Bionic processor, a significant update over the A12 inside the previous model, which shipped in May. A 16-core neural engine and added RAM are among the upgrades. Starting at $129 for Wi-Fi only with 64GB of RAM, there is also a higher-end $149 version with 128GB that is Wi-Fi and Ethernet compatible and has a Thread IoT modem that supports Matter. Continue reading New Apple TV 4K Touts Upgrades Including A15 Bionic Chip

Big Tech to Face Increased EU Scrutiny as DMA Takes Effect

Next week, the EU’s Digital Markets Act takes effect, and U.S. tech giants are preparing for headaches. Among the DMA’s goals is making companies like Amazon, Google and Meta Platforms more open and interoperable in 2023. Last month, veteran EU official Gerard de Graaf, who helped create the DMA, was installed as director of a satellite office in San Francisco. There, he will help Big Tech prepare for breaking out their wallets and breaking open their walled gardens as the result of  “significant” changes to how they’ve been doing business in Europe. Meanwhile, telecoms in Europe are looking for tech firms to pay new fees based on bandwidth issues. Continue reading Big Tech to Face Increased EU Scrutiny as DMA Takes Effect

Google, Amazon Reach an Accord in OS Battle for Smart TVs

Google and Amazon have struck a deal to end simmering hostilities over a battle for control of smart TVs. After a particularly damning report by the Competition Commission of India last week, Amazon announced that TCL — a major player in the drama — will this fall release in Europe two new models equipped with Amazon Fire TV software. The new pax has also paved the way for Amazon to work with consumer electronics companies including Hisense, Xiaomi, and more, who were previously forbidden from using the Amazon OS under Google’s licensing terms. Continue reading Google, Amazon Reach an Accord in OS Battle for Smart TVs

Apple Has Record Quarter but Slowed Growth Worries Some

Bolstered by iPhone 14 sales, Apple reported fiscal Q4 revenue up just over 8 percent, to $90.1 billion, with a 7.8 percent increase to $394 billion for the 12-month sales session that ended September 24. “We set an all-time revenue record for Mac and September quarter records for iPhone and wearables, home, and accessories,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts, noting “services notched a September quarter record as well, with revenue of $19.2 billion and more than 900 million paid subscriptions.” Even so, the company’s earnings produced a Rashomon effect as peak performance triggered pique among some. Continue reading Apple Has Record Quarter but Slowed Growth Worries Some

Meta, Spotify Blast Apple Over App Store Fee Enforcements

Apple announced various App Store developer updates last week, and one change getting lots of attention is that which specifies “sales of ‘boosts’ for posts in a social media app must use in-app purchase.” That means Apple will be taking its customary 30 percent fee for paid boosts on iOS devices, a move that will primarily affect Meta Platforms’ Facebook and Instagram, since they hadn’t previously been processing such transactions through Apple’s in-app purchase system, like Twitter and Tiktok have. Apple says its “guidelines have been clear” that in-app sales are required to use its In-App Purchase. Continue reading Meta, Spotify Blast Apple Over App Store Fee Enforcements

Microsoft’s New Gaming Strategy Includes Xbox Mobile Store

Microsoft is reportedly building an Xbox mobile store, challenging Apple and Google. The Redmond company’s pending Activision Blizzard deal is key to successful implementation of its mobile gaming strategy, which was previously hinted at and now comes to light in a filing with the UK Competition and Markets Authority, which requested additional information from Microsoft as part of its analysis of the $68.7 billion deal. In its filings, Microsoft says a “next generation” game store that “operates across a range of devices, including mobile” is significant impetus for the acquisition. Continue reading Microsoft’s New Gaming Strategy Includes Xbox Mobile Store

TikTok’s New Toolkit Adds Photo Carousel, Allows More Text

TikTok is debuting new editing tools and one of them, Photo Mode, is drawing comparisons to Meta’s popular Instagram app. “For when you’d prefer to express yourself in formats other than video, we released Photo Mode, a new carousel format available on mobile for photo content that’s ideal for sharing high quality images on TikTok,” the company writes. The launch occurs just as Instagram has begun shifting its emphasis to video, to the consternation of many users, disapproval TikTok may have noticed as it seeks to pick up market share. Continue reading TikTok’s New Toolkit Adds Photo Carousel, Allows More Text

Developers Criticize Meta Platforms for Costly VR App Fees

Meta Platforms is facing a backlash based on the fees it is charging virtual reality developers for access to its Meta Quest Store, which uses a financial model similar to that of leading mobile app stores. The Meta Quest Store supports the leading consumer market VR headset, the Quest 2, and reportedly demands 30 percent from digital purchases and anywhere from 15 percent to 30 percent on subscription sales, which is comparable to Apple and Android store fees. Because Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously criticized those companies’ fee structures, he’s being labeled a hypocrite by those opposing the charges. Continue reading Developers Criticize Meta Platforms for Costly VR App Fees

Pinterest Launches TV Studio App for Creator Live Streaming

Pinterest has launched a new app that makes it easier for creators to live-stream content. Pinterest TV Studio for iOS and Android lets select creators stream live on Pinterest from multiple devices, in order to achieve different camera angles. Initially available in limited release, creators must obtain a special code from Pinterest in order to unlock the Studio functionality. As part of its latest quarterly earnings, announced April 27, Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silverman said the company grew global revenue 18 percent year-over-year, “despite a challenging macroeconomic and geopolitical environment.” Continue reading Pinterest Launches TV Studio App for Creator Live Streaming

EU Hits Apple with Antitrust Objections Over Mobile Payments

European regulators on Monday hit Apple with an antitrust charge, alleging it has created a “closed system” for contactless mobile payments. The so-called statement of objections says the iPhone maker has abused its market power by favoring its Apple Pay for mobile contactless payments to the detriment of third-party services like PayPal, which reportedly helped initiate the charges. The European Commission says it has reason to believe Apple withheld access to its NFC inputs in order to suppress other mobile-wallet app developers from competing with Apple Pay, which the Commission called “a closed ecosystem.” Continue reading EU Hits Apple with Antitrust Objections Over Mobile Payments

Cablers Comcast, Charter Team to Launch Streaming Devices

Cable giants Comcast and Charter Communications have joined forces to offer set-top boxes for video streaming, pooling their combined reach to take on established players like Amazon, Apple, Roku and Google. The newly formed joint venture plans to develop and offer a next-generation streaming platform leveraging Comcast’s Flex technology, which includes voice search. “Our new venture will bring a full-featured operating platform, new devices, and smart TVs with a robust app store providing a more streamlined and aggregated experience for the customer,” said Charter chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge.  Continue reading Cablers Comcast, Charter Team to Launch Streaming Devices

iMovie 3.0 Automates Social Video Editing on iPhones, iPads

Apple’s iMovie 3.0 includes new features that make it easier for social users to create edited videos on the iPhone and iPad. Magic Movie will instantly generate videos from user-selected clips and photos, automatically adding transitions, effects and music, while Storyboards offer pre-made templates on which to build. The tools are designed to help “aspiring content creators and moviemakers learn to edit and improve their video storytelling skills,” Apple says, explaining that makers of DIY videos, tutorials, product reviews and the like are the targeted audience. Continue reading iMovie 3.0 Automates Social Video Editing on iPhones, iPads

Proposed Antitrust Laws a Privacy Disaster Warns Tim Cook

Antitrust legislation pending in the U.S. and European Union is at odds with consumer privacy initiatives in those territories, Apple CEO Tim Cook told attendees of the IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2022 in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Speaking out against proposed “gatekeeper” rules, Cook warned that “when companies decide to leave the App Store because they want to exploit user data, it could put significant pressure on people to engage with alternate app stores — app stores where their privacy and security may not be protected.” Continue reading Proposed Antitrust Laws a Privacy Disaster Warns Tim Cook