Apple highlights students shooting movies with iPhone in new video

The latest “Shot on iPhone” campaign highlights techniques used by student filmmakers in a new video.

Apple highlights students shooting movies with iPhone 12 ProApple highlights students shooting movies with iPhone 12 Pro

The behind the scenes video shows off four films being made using the unique aspects of iPhone, like its small size and vertical aspect ratio. From stop motion using homemade props to full Hollywood-level productions, the video highlights how students can achieve beautiful shots with just an iPhone.

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Apple considering premium podcast service to compete with Amazon, Spotify

Apple is reportedly mulling the release of a paid podcast subscription service, in an attempt to generate more revenue, and lure creators away from rivals like Spotify and Amazon.

Although details on the potential service are scarce, The Information reports that Apple is currently in discussions about launching the new premium podcasting service. The show would charge users money to listen to podcasts, presumably ones of an exclusive nature.

By charging users to listen to shows, the premium podcast service could allow creators to make more money. That could help Apple attract podcast makers and bolster the company’s services revenue.

Apple’s Podcasts platform has long been synonymous with the medium. The iPod, in fact, helped to create the entire industry. Thus far, however, Apple hasn’t tried to monetize the podcasting platform.

The launch of a premium podcast subscription service would echo Apple’s move to monetize some of its platforms, such as Apple News and Apple Music.

The move could also threaten fast-moving players in the podcasting industry like Amazon and Spotify. Both companies have, in recent years, taken steps to gain more control of the market through acquisitions and exclusive contracts.

Popular podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” ditched Apple Podcasts in 2020 and became a Spotify exclusive. In December, Amazon bought podcast startup Wondery, the company behind several Apple TV+ adaptations and reportedly a potential Apple acquisition target.

It would also bring the Podcasts platform into competition with startups like Luminary, which charges $2.99 a month for exclusive podcast content.

This isn’t the first time that rumors have suggested Apple is looking into original podcasts. Back in 2019, Apple was said to be in talks with production companies about funding exclusive shows.

Apple TV+ show 'For All Mankind' gets new extended season 2 trailer

Hit Apple TV+ show “For All Mankind” returns with some cast favorites and newcomers as viewers re-enter this alternate history drama set in 1983.

Season one of “For All Mankind” was one of Apple’s first big hits on Apple TV+ and set the bar high for its original programming initiative. The season two trailer shows a time jump has occurred and how the Cold War may affect relations on the moon.

“For All Mankind” was among the launch titles for Apple’s fledgling streaming service. The show examines a world where the United States was not the first to land a manned spaceship on the moon and the ramifications of not being first to the moon..

Season 2 will see much of the cast return with some aging effects applied as season one ended in 1974. New actors have come on board to freshen things up as new astronauts, including Michaela Conlin, Cynthy Wu, Coral Pena, and Casey W. Johnson.

“For All Mankind” streams exclusively on Apple TV+ with the first episode of the second season airing February 19. Apple has already renewed the show for a third season.

Flashlight on iPhone – everything you need to know

It’s just the light on the back of your iPhone, yet that flashlight is remarkably flexible — and there are so many ways to turn it on or off quickly.

Apple first added an LED light to the back of its iPhone 4 in 2010. Before then, you could get apps that turned your iPhone screen bright white. And after then you could apps that made the LED stay on instead of just flashing as you took photos.

It wasn’t until iOS 7 in 2013 that Apple built flashlight controls into the system. But since then, you’ve had a fully-functioning and surprisingly versatile flashlight right there in your iPhone.

The flashlight is versatile enough that you’ve probably switched it on from the lock screen by accident. But it’s also hidden enough that you may not have seen how to alter it, or how it can fit in with both Shortcuts and accessibility options.

How to turn on the flashlight on the iPhone

Tap on the lock screen to wake your iPhone, and then at bottom left there is a flashlight button. Tap and release it to turn on the flashlight.

It’s a tap and release movement: the flashlight doesn’t switch on until you’ve released the button. And when you do, you also get a haptic confirmation that you’ve turned it on.

You switch it off the same way, assuming you’re still on the lock screen. If you hold the iPhone too long, you’re likely to unlock it with Face ID and lose this option.

In that case, you need to use Control Center for either turning the flashlight on or off. You can do this from the lock screen too, and there are benefits to it.

You can rearrange some Control Center controls to put the flashlight where you want

You can rearrange some Control Center controls to put the flashlight where you want

But chiefly what Control Center does is give you the ability to turn the light on almost as quickly as you can from the lock screen. Swipe down on your screen from top right and tap on the flashlight icon to turn it on or off.

If the light is off, that icon is a black button with a white flashlight on it. If the light is on, it’s a white button with a blue flashlight icon.

There is one more direct option for using the flashlight. You can say “Hey, Siri, turn the flashlight on,” and it will do exactly that. Or off, if you ask.

What more you can do with the flashlight controls on the iPhone

The lock screen has no controls for the flashlight beyond on and off. However, if you use Control Center, you can press and hold on the icon to get a finer control.

Specifically, if you press and hold then you get the option to adjust the brightness of the light. There are five settings, from nothing to the brightest, and you set the one you want by swiping up and down.

Note that whatever you set the flashlight to with this control, that’s what you will get each time you use it until you positively choose to change it again. That includes whether you turn the flashlight on from Control Center, or the lock screen.

Extra options for turning on the flashlight

The lock center icon is quick, and the Control Center one doesn’t lag far behind. There is a quicker way to have the flashlight turn on, though, and that’s via a Back Tap.

If you have an iPhone 8 or later, and it is running iOS 14, then you can set it so that tapping two or three times on the back of the phone will immediately turn the flashlight on.

You need to create a Shortcut to do it first, then tell the phone you want to run that when you tap.

How to set up a Shortcut to turn on the iPhone flashlight

  1. Open Shortcuts and tap the + sign to create a new one
  2. Tap Add Action
  3. Enter “flashlight” into the search box
  4. When it appears, tap on Set flashlight
  5. This defaults to turning the light on, so you’re done, save the Shortcut
  6. Optionally, repeat the same steps but choose Turn flashlight Off before you save

There’s nothing to stop you using these Shortcuts directly. You won’t find a benefit to opening Shortcuts, finding the one to turn it on, and then running it.

However, you can have Siri launch any Shortcut you choose. And the step for turning on or off the flashlight can be just one of many in a Shortcut.

That can include having a single Shortcut that asks you if you want to turn the light on or off. It’s up to you whether you do that and have to specify each time, or whether you have one Shortcut for one, and another for off.

L-R Go to Settings, Accessibility, Touch, and then Back Tap to setup this feature

L-R Go to Settings, Accessibility, Touch, and then Back Tap to setup this feature

How to setup Back Tap to turn the iPhone flashlight on

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Scroll to Settings and tap
  3. Tap Touch
  4. Tap on Back Tap
  5. Choose either Double Tap or Triple Tap
  6. Wait while iOS retrieves a list of all your Shortcuts
  7. When you can see it, tap on your On Shortcut

You could set a double-tap to run the Shortcut that turns the flashlight on, and the triple-tap to run the one that switches it off. Or vice versa. It’s a shame that the Back Tap can’t be a toggle, or that Apple doesn’t include the flashlight in the system options you can access directly with it.

How to turn the flashlight off

Everything so far has been about turning the flashlight on or off. There is one option that is just for turning it off, though.

When you’re at the lock screen and the flashlight is on, swipe from right to left on your iPhone screen to bring up the camera. The moment you do that, the flashlight switches off.

It would, too. As it’s the camera that the light was first created for.

Over the years since iOS 7, that one little light for adding a flash when you take a photo has become a remarkably useful flashlight too.

Apple CEO Tim Cook to talk Parler removal, free speech on Fox News

Apple CEO Tim Cook will sit down with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace on Jan. 17 to discuss content moderation, free speech, and the company’s removal of Parler from the App Store.

Fox News announced the interview with a pair of teaser clips released on Friday. In one clip, Wallace asks Cook how Apple decides to “balance free speech with objectionable content.” The Apple chief executive responded by saying that it doesn’t consider incitement to violence free speech.

“What about the argument that by taking Parler off Apple, in addition to what other companies are doing, that you’re just driving these people, these views further underground?” Wallace asked Cook.

In response, Cook said that they’ve only suspended Parler from the App Store, and that if their content moderation policies are updated, it can return to the marketplace.

Cook also downplayed the idea that Big Tech is a monolithic entity. He stated that there are several companies that do different thing. Apple, he added, is “always trying to do the right thing.”

When asked about whether major technology companies are restricting free speech in general, Cook points out that the App Store is a private platform with its own rules.

“We have an app store that has about 2 million apps in it. And we have terms of services for these apps, ” Cook responded. “We obviously don’t control what’s on the internet, but we’ve never viewed that our platform should be a simple replication of the internet. We have rules and regulations and we just ask that people abide by those.”

Apple purged Parler from the App Store because it was used to “plan, coordinate, and facilitate” the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol. Other services, like Google and Amazon Web Services, also followed suit.

On Friday, Apple and Google also took social media platform Wimkim — another service billing itself as an “uncensored — off their respective app marketplaces.

Earlier in January, Cook told “CBS This Morning” that anyone involved in the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol should be “held accountable.”

The full Fox News interview is slated for 9 a.m. Eastern Time on Sunday.

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Apple App Store, Google Play boot social media app Wimkin over user calls for violence

Both Apple and Google have removed social media app Wimkin from their respective app stores as part of a growing crackdown on platforms that don’t do enough to moderate content.

Credit: WimkinCredit: Wimkin

Both tech companies removed Wimkin, which bills itself as an “uncensored” platform for free speech, because of content that called for violence ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. According to Wimkin founder Jason Sheppard, Apple pulled the platform because of posts related to the organization of a “Million Militia March” at the inauguration on Jan. 20.

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Amazon, 'big five' book publishers sued for ebook price fixing

The ‘Big Five’ book publishers and Amazon have been accused of price fixing in a class action suit by the same law firm which successfully sued Apple over the same issue in 2011.

In a near repeat of the case that Apple controversially lost ten years ago, the same law firm now wants to take Amazon to court over price fixing. The new allegation is that Amazon and the ‘Big Five’ publishing houses have colluded to keep prices high.

The ‘Big Five’ publishers are Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster. Seattle law firm Hagens Berman’s suit, filed in New York, collectively refers to these publishers and Amazon as “co-conspirators.”

“Amazon’s agreement with its Co-conspirators is an unreasonable restraint of trade that prevents competitive pricing and causes Plaintiffs and other consumers to overpay when they purchase ebooks from the Big Five through an ebook retailer that competes with Amazon,” says the suit, first seen by The Guardian and reproduced in full below. “That harm persists and will not abate unless Amazon and the Big Five are stopped.”

Hagens Berman argues that as a consequence of its previous victory over Apple, publishers reached settlements with both the US and EU. These “required the Big Five to cease colluding with each other,” and the result was that ebook prices “decreased substantially from 2013-2014.”

However, “they immediately increased their prices again in 2015 after renegotiating their agency agreements with Amazon.” Hagens Berman claims that the five, and Amazon, now offer “supracompetitive prices.”

The suit calls for ebook buyers to be compensated. In the similar case against Apple, which began in 2011, buyers ultimately shared in a $400 million payout.

In the 2011 case, Apple had negotiated with publishers that they couldn’t sell their books at a lower price anywhere else, unless they also offered the same price on what was then the iBookstore. Hagens Berman argued that this meant prices went up, and that it was collusion.

“Is it a fact that certain book prices went up? Yes,” said Apple’s Eddy Cue after the case was lost. “If you want to convict us on that, then we’re guilty. I knew some prices were going to go up, but hell, the whole world knew it, because that’s what the publishers were saying.”

Tim Cook (left) with Bruce Sewell

Apple’s then legal general counsel, Bruce Sewell, later said that it may have been other actions by these publishers that caused the company to lose the case.

“There were some things going on amongst a group of publishers that I didn’t know about,” he told law students in 2019. “If I had known about them, I would’ve taken a different tack. That was an example of sailing close to the wind because it was so important to Apple. But, in the end, I got it wrong. Apple ended up being sued by the government and having to pay a large fine.”

Both Cue and Sewell credit Tim Cook for backing them in the case.

“Tim’s reaction was, [what we had done] was the right choice,” said Sewell. “‘You made the best choice you could with the information you had. You didn’t know about these other things. Don’t let that scare you. I don’t want you to stop pushing the envelope because that’s why legal is an important function in the company.'”

“We feel we have to fight for the truth,” Cue said. “Luckily, (CEO) Tim (Cook) feels exactly like I do, which is: You have to fight for your principles no matter what. Because it’s just not right.”

Neither Amazon nor the named publishers have commented on the new suit yet.

Is AppleCare+ worth it for AirPods, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max?

Apple’s tiny AirPods, AirPods Pro, and larger AirPods Max, are surely worth protecting under AppleCare+. Except Apple has run the numbers, and what it will — and won’t — cover you for makes all the difference.

We’re not knocking Apple for this — AppleCare+ is worked out as carefully as any other company’s insurance. But there are times when you can see the result of those calculations, such as with the limits on the coverage of AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max.

You never know if a device is going to need a repair, but with these it is a fair bet that you’ll lose them long before you manage to break an AirPod. Apple made the same bet, and decided to not offer coverage for theft and loss.

It is possible to buy replacement AirPods from Apple, but you’ll pay the same as anyone else does because AppleCare+ won’t cover you for this.

What it will cover you for is accidental damage. Specifically, you get up to two incidents of damage per year of your coverage.

AirPods Max

AirPods Max hands on

What AppleCare+ for headphones costs

  • AirPods $29
  • AirPods Pro $29
  • AirPods Pro $59

These are the one-off, upfront full fees for AppleCare+. Each gets you two years of coverage.

Note that the $29 for the regular AirPods applies both when you have the wireless charging case, and when you have the non-wireless version.

Then there is also an option to pay for AppleCare+ monthly, but solely if you have the AirPods Max. Even then, it’s different to most AppleCare+ instalment plans, too.

AppleCare+ for AirPods Max can be bought monthly, but it’s capped at six months. To buy AppleCare+ for AirPods Max monthly, you’ll be paying $9.83 for each month.

This means that — uniquely for Apple and quite possibly for any company — it is actually cheaper to spread the cost over six months than it is to buy upfront. You’re only saving 2 cents, but it’s more normal for you have to pay around $30 for the convenience of paying monthly.

There is one other oddity that applies to all AirPods, which we have asked Apple about but it has yet to comment. According to both the online Apple Store help pages, and Apple’s terms and conditions small print, AppleCare+ coverage for headphones is not backdated to when you bought those headphones.

“Plan coverage begins when you purchase the Plan and continues, unless cancelled, through the date specified in your Plan Confirmation (the ‘Plan Term’),” says the T&Cs.

While it’s possible to buy AppleCare+ coverage after you’ve bought, say, an iPhone, there are conditions. Apple previously set a deadline of 60 days after purchase of the iPhone, although it has since extended that because of the impact of the coronavirus.

Even so, if you try to buy AppleCare+ later for other products, you have to demonstrate that they are still in as-new condition. That can mean anything from running remote diagnostics that Apple Support tells you to do, to physically taking the device into an Apple Store for protection.

If anything tells you that Apple does not expect AirPods to suffer much damage, it’s this.

Apple AirPods

Comparing the costs of repairs

As with the Apple Watch, there aren’t a lot of options for places to get your AirPods fixed. So you’re stuck working with Apple’s figures — and Apple does not provide all of them.

For instance, if you have AirPods Max, then you can know that any one incident of damage repair will cost you $29 under AppleCare+. But if you don’t have AppleCare+, Apple’s rate card lists the repair price as “Ask your service representative.”

Still, that is surely code for Very Expensive.

It’s clearer with AirPods and AirPods Pro. For the regular AirPods, if you need damage repair and don’t have AppleCare+, it will cost you $69 — per AirPod. For AirPods Pro, it’s $89, per AirPod.

You can also pay $89 to get your Wireless Charging Case for AirPods Pro fixed. That falls to $69 for the Wireless Charging Case on the regular AirPods, and $59 for the non-wireless version.

If you do lose one or both AirPods, then it’s $69 per AirPod to replace them, but that’s the same charge whether or not you have AppleCare+. With AirPods Pro, replacement is $89 per AirPod.

Don't expect to service AirPods Max yourself. (Source: iFixit)

Don’t expect to service AirPods Max yourself. (Source: iFixit)

Whether it’s worth it

Apple is never going to come out and say that AirPods are pretty robust little things that are rarely going to need repairs. But it comes as close as it can to that with this issue of shrugging over when you buy the AppleCare+ protection.

And it is at least a little acknowledgement that theft or loss is more likely than damage, since Apple won’t cover that in AppleCare+.

So on balance it seems clearer that AppleCare+ is not especially worth it for Apple headphones. There is that issue over AirPods Max and the unknown repair prices, though.

Plus there is also, as there always is with AppleCare+, the benefit that when you have it, you also have some peace of mind. Not about losing them, that fear won’t go away, but about whether you’ll need any costly repair work done.

AppleCare+ for all your devices

The principle is the same — pay for AppleCare+ and you’ll save on repair costs, if you ever need any repairs. Yet for all of the devices that can have AppleCare+, it seems as if every one has significant differences to consider.

Whatever device you’re thinking about getting AppleCare+ for, read our guide: