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Apple Daily: Apple Special Event Primer, Glowing ‘Steve Jobs’ Review; Apple and A.I.

If you want to know what to expect at Apple’s “Hey, Siri” media event tomorrow, we’ve already got a broad outline prepared for you. Elsewhere, critics are already in love with Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs film, and Apple itself is preparing to hire more people for its efforts in artificial intelligence. The question, though, is whether it’s ready to give up some of its commitment to privacy to achieve its goals.

What to Expect at Tomorrow’s Apple Event

We’re just a day away from Apple’s “Hey, Siri” media event, and as has been the case for the last couple of years, so many seemingly legitimate rumors have popped up in the last few weeks that it seems safe to say we already know about most of the things we’ll see on stage. (Expect Tim Cook and friends to make yet another joke about how Apple’s “doubling down” on security.) It’s thought to be a product-packed event, with Apple announcing everything from the so-called iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the 12.9-inch “iPad Pro,” the fourth-generation Apple TV, to updates for iOS 9 and WatchOS 2 and new wristbands for the Apple Watch. As always, we’ll be on hand to relay the news as we hear it if you’re unable to watch Apple’s live stream.

As usual for this time of year, we’ll almost certainly see the next-generation iPhones, which (in line with Apple’s tradition for “s” releases) probably won’t look too different from the current iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. On the inside and in the details, though, they’re thought to feature improved Series 7000 aluminum in order to avoid another “Bendgate,” Apple’s recent pressure-sensitive “Force Touch” technology, a faster A9 chip, and 2GB of RAM. In addition, the new phones are thought to come in a new rose gold color option and to sport a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

Apple is also widely expected to announce the fourth-generation Apple TV at the event, which is thought to come with its own App Store, Siri support, a universal search feature, and HomeKit support. In addition, it will likely come with a motion-sensitive remote control with multi-axis sensors. The remote is also thought to come with both a touchpad and buttons for interactions, a microphone for Siri, and it’s believed to come in black instead of the usual silver. Unfortunately, Apple’s long-awaited “cable-cutting” streaming TV service likely won’t make the show as it’s believed to be bogged down in negotiations.

At last, we’ll probably also see the long-rumored 12.9-inch “iPad Pro” on stage, which is thought to come with a 2732×2048 pixel display at 226PPI, Force Touch support (along with a compatible stylus), an A9 chip with 2GB of RAM, and stereo speakers. There’s also a small chance that it will come with USB-C ports for attaching peripheral devices, but that’s one of the more dubious rumors out there. A new, flatter Apple wireless Bluetooth keyboard is also expected to release alongside the device.

In addition, we’ll probably see Apple announce the iPad mini 4, which is thought to be a smaller version of the iPad Air 2. Along with some (likely minor) updates about iOS 9, Apple is also expected to announce new Apple Watch Sport bands with new colors.

 

Steve Jobs Film Earns Glowing Early Reviews, Even From Woz

The early reviews and opinion pieces for Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs film are in, and it’s hard to find a negative word among them. The Aaron Sorkin-penned film premiered at Colorado’s Telluride Film Festival over the weekend, where it was presented as a “work in progress” owing to the desire for a few more tweaks, but even in that state, it wowed audience members and, yes, even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak himself.

One of the most notable pieces regarding this weekend’s viewing comes from Deadline, which notes that writer Aaron Sorkin’s work here is “even more effective” than it was in the Oscar-winning The Social Network. Deadline calls it “an action movie driven almost exclusively by words.” It also notes that Michael Fassbender pulled off his role of Jobs almost to perfection — “a spot-on and relentless portrayal of the not-very-likable computer genius.”

But it’s one thing to hear this kind of stuff from journalists; it’s quite another to hear similar praise from Steve Wozniak, who “gives full credit to Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin for getting it so right.”

“I saw a rough cut and I felt like I was actually watching Steve Jobs and the others (including Rogen’s dead-on portrayal of Wozniak), not actors playing them,” said Wozniak.

Variety had similar praise for the film, and it noted that even the cinematography bears the mark of genius:

“Besides Guy Hendrix Dyas’ unobtrusively excellent production design, the picture’s major visual coup is the decision to shoot the three acts on three different formats: grainy 16mm film for 1984, lustrous 35mm for 1988, and sleek, high-definition digital for 1998. The distinctions may well be lost on the vast majority of viewers, but it’s just the sort of nicely understated aesthetic flourish that Steve Jobs himself would have surely appreciated.”

We’re still over a month away from the film’s wide release date of October 9, but already Michael Fassbender’s performance is being called Oscar-worthy from several sources, although this weekend’s showings also revealed that he faces tough competition in the Best Actor category from Johnny Depp in Black Mass and Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl. In his statement to Variety, though, Woz said that “of all the actors in the film he thinks [Kate] Winslet might be the most likely to garner awards attention.”

 

Apple Seeking to Expand Its Artificial Intelligence Team

Apple is apparently eager to improve its expertise in the field of artificial intelligence, and to that end, a new report from Reuters claims that the Cupertino company is trying to hire at least 86 new employees from the field in general and from the field of “machine learning” in particular. Apple, so the report says, wants to challenge Google’s popular Google Now service that anticipates what its smartphone users want to do, and thus the iPhone maker is courting key researchers from Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other companies.

Not surprisingly, Siri reportedly stands at the center of Apple’s artificial intelligence efforts, and the company hopes the new personnel with improve the service’s various functions. The problem, Reuters notes, is that Apple might have to compromise its famed commitment to consumer privacy in order to pull it off.

Consider the case of Apple’s Proactive feature from iOS 9, which performs similar functions to those in Google Now but mainly works with the data that’s already on a user’s iPhone. Since very little information goes into the cloud, Proactive has little access to online machine-learning research banks that can improve the service or, for that matter, machine learning in general. It’s thought, in fact, that Apple’s staunch refusal to let the cloud and researchers handle some of its users’ information might be scaring away some of the very researchers it wants to attract.

There’s a chance, the report notes, that Apple might be changing its stance as it attends more industry conferences and strengthens its ties with academia. In the meantime, Apple is working with what it has, and quite diligently at that: according to one unnamed insider source, the company’s machine learning has tripled or quadrupled in size over the course of the last few years.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Apple Daily: ‘Negative’ Steve Jobs Documentary Out; Star Wars Droid Toy in Apple Stores

Alex Gibney’s Steve Jobs documentary hits a few theaters throughout the U.S. today, and it shows a bleak portrait of Steve Jobs that the people who were closest to him aren’t that happy with. In other news, you know that cool spherical droid seen in the trailer for the upcoming Star Wars movie? You can now get it in Apple retail stores.

Alex Gibney’s Steve Jobs Documentary Hits Theaters Today

It’s a good weekend for moviegoers looking for different perspectives on the kind of man Steve Jobs was (provided, that it, they have plane tickets to Colorado already on hand). Today marks the theater and view-on-demand release of Alex Gibney’s Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine documentary, which caused no small amount of controversy at SXSW earlier this year for its unrelenting focus on Steve Jobs’ bad side.

As we reported yesterday, Danny Boyle’s highly anticipated Steve Jobs biopic will also be publicly shown for the the first time sometime this weekend at Colorado’s Telluride Film Festival. Boyle’s film, while depicting some of Jobs’ harsher qualities, also seems to do a good job of showing what made him great.

Gibney’s documentary has a rather limited release, considering that it’s only being shown in 65 theaters in 50 markets (via Deadline). It apparently isn’t bad as it earned a 75 percent rating on movie review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, but it has also received substantial criticism for only depicting one side of Jobs. Some of the most vocal criticisms come from Apple executives such as Eddie Cue, who walked out of the SXSW theater claiming that it was “an inaccurate and mean-spirited view of my friend” and that it wasn’t a “reflection of the Steve I knew.”

You’ll most likely be able to see it in theaters if you live in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York, but you can also watch it on view-on-demand through services such as Apple’s own iTunes, Xbox, and the PlayStation Store.

 

Star Wars Droid BB-8 Now For Sale in Apple Stores

The Apple Store now has the perfect gift for the Apple fan who’s also a Star Wars fan in the form of a new remote-controlled robot based on the droid BB-8 from the upcoming J.J. Abrams film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s also a stellar debut toy for today’s designation as “Force Friday,” the first day when officially licensed merchandise for the film goes on sale.

The BB-8 toy comes from Sphero, which has garnered substantial recognition for manufacturing “robotic balls” in the past. In fact, the company was heavily involved the the creation of the actual BB-8 droid used in the film, which many viewers of the original trailer thought was made from CGI owing to its construction from two seemingly unconnected pieces.

The range of things you can do with the toy are impressive, and it isn’t just limited to manually controlling it. You can, for instance, use your iPhone to put him on a patrol mode where he wanders around on his own, or you can get BB-8 to follow you or follow routes you’ve designed for him ahead of time. Users can also control him through voice commands on their iPhones, and BB-8 reportedly develops and attitude based on how you’ve been interacting with him.

You can buy BB-8 for 9.99 from the Apple Store for from Sphero itself starting today. And you just gotta love their tagline for the toy: “This is the droid you’re looking for.”

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Apple Daily: 21.5″ 4K iMac, Steve Jobs Movie Screening; Apple Music Needs ‘Homework’

The talk of the town may be all about the next iPhones and Apple TV, but a new report came in today claiming that we’ll get an impressive new iMac in November. Elsewhere, we’ll get to see just how good Danny Boyle’s upcoming Steve Jobs biopic is this weekend, and an Apple executive admits that parts of Apple Music still need some work.

Apple Rumored to Announce 21.5″ 4K iMac in October

Most speculation surrounding Apple’s future product releases is currently focused on the company’s big media event next Wednesday, but sources who spoke with 9to5Mac allegedly know that the Cupertino company also plans to announce a 21.5-inch iMac with a 4K display toward the end of October. If that sounds familiar, it’s because clues regarding the existence of the device were found lurking in the code for OS X El Capitan back in June. The sources claim the unit will go out to stores in November.

As a recap, the discovered code suggests that the device will have a resolution of 4096 x 2304. In addition, it hinted that the new iMac will likely contain a Broadwell processor and the associated Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 chipset and AMD Radeon M380 – M395X graphics.

 

Steve Jobs Biopic to Show at Film Festival This Weekend

Just a few days ago, it seemed certain that Danny Boyle’s new Steve Jobs biopic would debut at the New York Film Festival on October 3, but today Entertainment Weekly reported that the film will actually have its first public screening at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado this weekend. That’s a whole month ahead of the previously announced screening, which means that Boyle must be really proud of his work here as this gives critics more than enough time to tear the thing apart ahead of the wide release if it’s bad.

Currently, it’s not known when exactly the festival will show the film; right now, we know only that it’ll happen sometime over Labor Day weekend. Director Danny Boyle will also receive a “Silver Medallion Award” from the festival in honor of his “significant contribution to the world of cinema,” and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will even be in town to see how well Seth Rogen depicts him on screen.

 

Apple Admits It Has ‘Homework’ to Do Regarding Apple Music

Apple is on the verge of bringing Apple Music to Android this fall, according to a new story from The Guardian, but the report is particularly noteworthy for iTunes executive Oliver Schusser’s admission that Apple still has “a bit of homework to be done” with the service. Schusser was specifically speaking about Apple Music Connect, the service’s social network where artists can interact with their fans, but his other statements make it clear that he believes it applies to other aspects of the service as well.

“There’s a lot of work going into making the product better. Our focus is on editorial and playlists, and obviously we have teams all around the world working on that, but we’re also adding features and cleaning up certain things,” Schusser told The Guardian.

Over 11 million people reportedly signed up for the free trial for the service, but it’s not clear at this point how many will stick around once the first free trials end toward the end of this month. Even Jim Dalymple of The Loop, well-known for his insider info regarding the workings of Apple, threw up his hands and announced in a July post that “Apple Music is a nightmare and I’m done with it.” Schusser also took the occasion to point out that iTunes, his own area of the business, is still doing just fine with a download model in the wake of all this streaming music talk:

“If you follow the industry and look at the numbers, the download business has been really, really healthy,” Schusser said. “iTunes is a big part of our business, still, and will continue to be, so we focus just as much time and energy on maintaining that, editorially and working on features.”

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Apple Daily: Leaked Parts Allegedly Boot Up iPhone 6s; Steve Jobs Film Rehearsal Process

In yet more proof that Apple probably needs to work a little harder on that whole “doubling down on secrecy” thing, someone has allegedly put together a more-or-less working iPhone 6s using the many parts that have supposedly leaked over the last few months. In other news, one of the actors from the upcoming Steve Jobs movie reveals details about the film’s unique rehearsal process.

Video Allegedly Shows ‘iPhone 6s’ Powered On with Help of Leaked Parts

Leaked iPhone 6s parts are apparently numerous enough that it’s now possible to build working models out of them, and someone has apparently done just that with the help of a couple of iPhone 6 parts. The unidentified source then sent photos and a video of the device to MacRumors. The authenticity of all this isn’t confirmed, but the components match what we’d expect to see from an iPhone “s” release, such as minimal changes to the device’s exterior and multiple tweaks to the interior.

There are enough components on hand to power up the device, as seen in the video. Unfortunately, it only goes to a blank screen with a gear icon, which doesn’t do much to confirm the rumors of Force Touch coming to the device. The same could also be said of the photos showing the inside of the device’s display, which sports the same mysterious rectangular hole that was spotted in other alleged component leaks from a couple of weeks ago. Then as now, it’s not clear what function the hole serves, but Force Touch at least seems like a possibility.

Source: MacRumors

Other photos purport to show the logic board for the iPhone 6s, which shows the already “leaked” Qualcomm MDM9635M LTE modem for better data speeds and a heretofore unknown Qualcomm WTR3925 radio frequency chip designed to boost cellular connections. On display, too, is what seems to be the Samsung-made A9 chip for the next iPhone. The chip is thought to deliver 2GB of RAM, although nothing about the photos confirms that.

Apple is expected to reveal both the so-called iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus at a media event next month, likely on September 9.

 

Steve Jobs Biopic Actor Relates Details About Unique Rehearsal Process

It’s long been known that Aaron Sorkin’s script for the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic starring Michael Fassbender is split into three acts, but a new Collider interview with actor Michael Stuhlbarg demonstrates that the structure uniquely affected rehearsals for the film too. Stuhlbarg plays Andy Hertzfeld, one of the Macintosh’s original engineers, and he claims the rehearsal process was “unlike anything I’ve ever done to this point and probably unlike anything I’ll ever do again.”

In contrast to many movies, which are apparently rehearsed on a scene-by-scene basis, the rehearsals for the Steve Jobs film focused on each act individually — as Stuhlbarg says, more “like a three-act play.” Two weeks were devoted to the rehearsal of one act, and an additional two weeks were spent filming at the original location used for a famed Apple product unveiling. The three product unveilings depicted in the film are the original Macintosh, the NeXT Computer, and the iMac.

The unique filming process allowed the actors to bond “in an extraordinary way,” Stuhlbarg says, and “it kind of gave us something in the telling of the story that you don’t often get, which is a sense of momentum of what a story is telling you.”

The film will hit most theaters on October 9, although you can see it at the New York Film Festival a few days ahead of time on October 3.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

News

Apple Daily: Leaked Parts Allegedly Boot Up iPhone 6s; Steve Jobs Film Rehearsal Process

In yet more proof that Apple probably needs to work a little harder on that whole “doubling down on secrecy” thing, someone has allegedly put together a more-or-less working iPhone 6s using the many parts that have supposedly leaked over the last few months. In other news, one of the actors from the upcoming Steve Jobs movie reveals details about the film’s unique rehearsal process.

Video Allegedly Shows ‘iPhone 6s’ Powered On with Help of Leaked Parts

Leaked iPhone 6s parts are apparently numerous enough that it’s now possible to build working models out of them, and someone has apparently done just that with the help of a couple of iPhone 6 parts. The unidentified source then sent photos and a video of the device to MacRumors. The authenticity of all this isn’t confirmed, but the components match what we’d expect to see from an iPhone “s” release, such as minimal changes to the device’s exterior and multiple tweaks to the interior.

There are enough components on hand to power up the device, as seen in the video. Unfortunately, it only goes to a blank screen with a gear icon, which doesn’t do much to confirm the rumors of Force Touch coming to the device. The same could also be said of the photos showing the inside of the device’s display, which sports the same mysterious rectangular hole that was spotted in other alleged component leaks from a couple of weeks ago. Then as now, it’s not clear what function the hole serves, but Force Touch at least seems like a possibility.

Source: MacRumors

Other photos purport to show the logic board for the iPhone 6s, which shows the already “leaked” Qualcomm MDM9635M LTE modem for better data speeds and a heretofore unknown Qualcomm WTR3925 radio frequency chip designed to boost cellular connections. On display, too, is what seems to be the Samsung-made A9 chip for the next iPhone. The chip is thought to deliver 2GB of RAM, although nothing about the photos confirms that.

Apple is expected to reveal both the so-called iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus at a media event next month, likely on September 9.

 

Steve Jobs Biopic Actor Relates Details About Unique Rehearsal Process

It’s long been known that Aaron Sorkin’s script for the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic starring Michael Fassbender is split into three acts, but a new Collider interview with actor Michael Stuhlbarg demonstrates that the structure uniquely affected rehearsals for the film too. Stuhlbarg plays Andy Hertzfeld, one of the Macintosh’s original engineers, and he claims the rehearsal process was “unlike anything I’ve ever done to this point and probably unlike anything I’ll ever do again.”

In contrast to many movies, which are apparently rehearsed on a scene-by-scene basis, the rehearsals for the Steve Jobs film focused on each act individually — as Stuhlbarg says, more “like a three-act play.” Two weeks were devoted to the rehearsal of one act, and an additional two weeks were spent filming at the original location used for a famed Apple product unveiling. The three product unveilings depicted in the film are the original Macintosh, the NeXT Computer, and the iMac.

The unique filming process allowed the actors to bond “in an extraordinary way,” Stuhlbarg says, and “it kind of gave us something in the telling of the story that you don’t often get, which is a sense of momentum of what a story is telling you.”

The film will hit most theaters on October 9, although you can see it at the New York Film Festival a few days ahead of time on October 3.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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