This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines
Apple’s Planet of the Apps launching this spring
Apple’s upcoming Shark Tank-like TV show for app developers, Planet of the Apps, will launch this spring exclusively on Apple Music, according to the company’s head of content Eddy Cue. He confirmed this news at Recode’s Code Media conference Monday.
The show will feature entrepreneurs Jessica Alba, Gary Vaynerchuk, Gwyneth Paltrow, and will.i.am to advise developers’ ideas for the next big app.
Developers will have 60 seconds to deliver an elevator pitch to the advisors, who will swipe left or right to express their interest a la Tinder.
Once an app makes it through the first round, the developer will work with an advisor to firm up plans to make it a business, while also receiving guidance from talent at big tech firms like Yelp and Uber.
For the final round, developers will pitch their proposals to investors from VC firm Lightspeed Venture Partners. The winners will receive significant funding and prominent placement in the App Store when it launches.
The company is also bringing Carpool Karaoke, based on the popular Late Late Show with James Corden sketch that features prominent celebrities belting out to hit songs, to Apple Music later this year. Will Smith, Metallica, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Seth MacFarlane, Chelsea Handler, and Shaquille O’Neal are slated to appear on the show’s first season.
“We’re trying to do things that are unique and cultural. … We think we have a real opportunity in the TV space to do that with Apple Music and shows and the things we’re trying to do aren’t being done by anybody else. … So yes, to the extent if we wanted to do what everybody else is doing, then you’re right, we might be better off buying somebody or doing that.
But that’s not what we’re trying to do. We are trying to do something that’s unique, takes advantage of our platforms and that really brings culture to it.”
– Eddy Cue, Apple head of content
YouTube cancels PewDiePie’s original series following Nazi controversy
PewDiePie, arguably YouTube’s biggest star, has always flirted with controversy. However, recent use of Nazi imagery and anti-Semitic humor went too far for his corporate partners. On Monday, Disney’s Maker Studios arm announced that it was severing ties with PewDiePie, and YouTube is also cutting its business relationship with the star.
PewDiePie was set to release the second season of Scare PewDiePie, his exclusive YouTube Red show that the video giant paid to produce. That show has now been cancelled, according to a YouTube spokesperson. PewDiePie is also being removed from Google’s Preferred advertising program, which is reserved for its bigger and more marketable creators. This cuts him out from brand advertising that generates more revenue than typical YouTube advertising.
PewDiePie won’t lose his channel or his over 50 million subscribers, and he can continue monetizing videos with the traditional advertising methods. However, YouTube did remove advertising from the videos that set this uproar into motion.
Nest adds automatic door detection, animated push notifications for subscribers
Nest has updated its mobile app with additional features designed specifically for subscribers of its Aware program. On Monday, the company announced that automatic door detection and animated push notifications are available for premium customers. The goal here is to reduce the number of irrelevant alerts while helping you get to the important ones faster.
Using that same technology, the Google-owned company is added automatic door detection so that you can instruct any supported camera to lock onto any activity around the area. It leverages activity zoning to recognize where doors are in your home and when someone walks in or out, you’ll be notified. This functionality was available before, but it wasn’t automatic like it is now through the use of pattern recognition, sensors, and deep learning algorithms.
Another new feature lets you quickly access alerts instead of having to open the app. Nest Aware customers will now receive push notifications that will show animated previews of video clips highlighting activity in applicable zones. Nest will also display live video if smoke or carbon monoxide is detected.
When you’re alerted, the company’s app will show the important things so you can either find out that it’s a false alarm and move on with your day or deal with the threat for users of Android 7.0 Nougat or later and iOS 10.
All of these features are available now.
T-Mobile improves its unlimited data plan
A day after Verizon resurrected its unlimited data plan, T-Mobile has countered with its CEO John Legere announcing several changes that will take effect on Friday. The T-Mobile One unlimited plan will add support for HD video, an upgrade from the current 480p/DVD-quality “optimizations” currently in place. Verizon doesn’t place any limits on video quality.
As of Friday, the plan will also let customers use up to 10GB of high-speed data each month for tethering. This matches Verizon’s plan, but T-Mobile only offered up to 3G speeds unless you upgraded to the T-Mobile One Plus plan.
Lastly, Legere announced a promotion that will offer two lines of T-Mobile One for $100. A two-line family plan usually costs $120 per month. Unlike other carriers, T-Mobile includes taxes and fees in its advertised price – so that should be all you pay month to month. Verizon charges $140 (plus taxes and fees) for a two-line unlimited plan.
T-Mobile also has a higher threshold (28GB compared to Verizon’s 22GB) before its users might experience reduced speeds when the network is congested.
Yahoo Mail mobile app now does Caller ID, syncs photos
Yahoo is rolling out a few changes to its Mail app that aim to help boost adoption of its mobile app. The app will now sync your phone’s photos to the desktop and help you identify phone numbers with a new Caller ID feature.
Caller ID works by identifying incoming phone calls and cross-referencing the telephone numbers with those from your email inbox.
On iOS, the app takes advantage of a particular caller ID and block setting (Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification). After installing the updated version of Yahoo Mail for iOS, users can toggle the switch on to enable the Caller ID function. According to Yahoo, this will also update names in your call history or when you dial the phone.
The other feature is for photo uploads, making it easier to email photos from your phone when you’re on your desktop.
The feature integrates Yahoo’s new Tripod photo and video sharing platform, born out of Flickr, that also lets you do things like search photos by keyword.
The new Yahoo Mail app on iOS and Android makes your Camera Roll’s photos available to you from your desktop Yahoo Mail account. These photos are not being made public, and can only be viewed by you when signed in.
You can also search the photos using keywords to help you find the right image. The feature’s not enabled by default, but can you switch it on through Settings > Photo Upload. According to the company, photos can be removed from Mail without affecting their Camera Roll.
Screenshots will be uploaded in their original size with all other images being uploaded at 1600px. Yahoo’s exploring 2048×1536 along with other resolutions, and may make changes in the future.
Both features are launching today in the App Store (version 4.13) and Google Play (version 5.13).
Passenger drones will start flying in Dubai this summer
Dubai Roads & Transportation Agency head Mattar al-Tayer announced plans to introduce a passenger-carrying drone service at the World Government Summit Monday.
According to the Associated Press, the one person drones could be ferrying commuters being predetermined checkpoints by July.
“This is not only a model. We have actually experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai’s skies.”
– Mattar al-Tayer, Dubai Roads & Transportation Agency head
The drone itself is the all-electric Chinese-made EHang 184, which debuted at CES 2016 and conducted flight tests in Las Vegas last summer. It’s a 500-pound personal aircraft, with room for one passenger weighing up to 220 pounds (100 kilograms) and a small suitcase in a separate compartment.
The EHang can fly about 31 miles (50 kilometers) on a single charge, hitting top speeds of up to 100mph.
For the proposed Dubai service, the drones will be piloted and monitored from a “remote command center,” offering flights within an area of 40-50 kilometers with a typical cruising speed of 100km/h (62mph).
Microsoft releases video-capture hack for HoloLens
Microsoft has come up with “spectator view,” a new way for HoloLens [affiliate] users to capture video from the AR headset.
The feature requires a special camera rig that has been detailed in an open-source solution on the HoloLens GitHub page.
“Mixed reality capture is kind of the equivalent of the camera on your cell phone. It’s handy, it’s convenient, it does a good job of what it’s meant to do, but it’s not designed to be broadcast quality, what you’d see on TV. We realized we needed another way show other people what the wearer is seeing.”
– Ben Reed, Microsoft HoloLens head of business strategy
Spectator view requires a camera with a HDMI output. Once the HoloLens is mounted to the camera and stabilized with a tripod (with a custom mount), it can be wirelessly connected to a PC to share positioning data.
The next step is to output video from the camera to a PC capture card with a HDMI cable. Now the PC will be able to receive both positioning data and video. All of the rendering and processing of the data is done inside the Unity gaming development software and you get video of people walking around in HoloLens headsets and the apps they’re interacting with around them.
This is something that companies like Trimble, which uses its positioning and scanning technology to make mining apps, has been looking for since “day one.”
“For our mining customers, we were looking for something that would let them visualize the mines. In the past, with the kinds of tools we were using to clarify the idea, we’d have to say, ‘Hey, what we are going to present is not really what you’ll see in the HoloLens; there are some special effects.’ We had to set expectations among the users. What we can do now with spectator view is show a live stream of the user.”
– Aviad Almagor, Trimble mixed-reality program head
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