The Weeknd, The Chemical Brothers, and Take That to Perform at Apple Music Festival

Apple today used Beats 1 radio to announce additional acts for its upcoming Apple Music Festival, confirming The Weeknd, The Chemical Brothers, Take That, James Bay, and Leon Bridges will all perform in London later this month during the 10-day event.

This year’s Apple Music Festival, first announced in mid-August, is replacing Apple’s annual iTunes Festival. Like the iTunes Festival, the Apple Music Festival is a free concert series that will see different artists performing each night, but the 2015 event will last for just 10 days instead of the previous 30 days.

It will run from September 19 to September 28 and along with the acts announced today, Pharrell, One Direction, Little Mix, Disclosure, and Florence + the Machine will perform. The full lineup of acts will be posted on the dedicated Apple Music Festival website.

Each live performance will be broadcast across the world and will be available both live and on-demand via Apple Music. UK residents can apply to win tickets to the Apple Music Festival on Apple Music and through various media partners.

Ahead of the festival’s kickoff, Apple is expected to announce additional performances.



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Popular Calendar App ‘Fantastical 2’ Coming Soon to Apple Watch [iOS Blog]

Flexibits, the developers behind the popular Fantastical 2 calendar app for iOS and Mac, today released a teaser suggesting the app will be expanding to the Apple Watch in the near future. A new page on the Flexibits website reads „It’s almost time“ before transitioning over to the Apple Watch depicting a screenshot from the new app.

Little can be determined about the upcoming Apple Watch app from the screenshot, but it appears to have a clean design with a useful timeline-based calendar for tracking daily appointments and events. A Fantastical app for the Apple Watch will be a welcome addition, as Apple’s own Calendar app is limited in functionality.

Fantastical 2 is one of the premiere Calendar replacements available on Mac and iOS, popular for its simple interface, Reminders integration, and its ability to parse event entries based on natural language input.

Flexibits has not given information on a specific date, but in a tweet, the company says the app is „almost here.“ As with all Apple Watch apps, the Fantastical app will be introduced through an update to the existing iPhone app.

Fantastical 2 for iPhone can be downloaded from the App Store for $4.99. [Direct Link]





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‘YouTube Kids’ Under Fire for Targeting Children with Advertisements [iOS Blog]

A handful of prominent child advocacy groups plan to work together today in asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google’s YouTube Kids app, with the groups claiming that the popular video streaming service is deceptively targeting kids with advertisements on the tablet and smartphone application (via San Jose Mercury News).

The root of the complaint stems from restrictions placed on children’s entertainment dating back to the 1970’s, which bans hosts of a kids’ television series from attempting to sell products during a show, amongst other restrictions. The central crux of that established law, now coming back into play with the coalition’s defense against Google, is that young kids haven’t yet developed the reasoning behind resisting such advertisements, or even understand that they’re being targeted in the first place.

The complaint to be filed Tuesday asks the FTC to investigate several features of YouTube Kids:

Branded channels: „McDonald’s has its own channel on YouTube Kids … (presenting) promotional videos styled as news reports on topics such as, ‘What are McDonald’s McNuggets made of?’ … (Branded channels) take advantage of children because they do not understand that the entire channel is actually advertising.“

Lack of separation between shows and ads: „Selecting My Little Pony brings up four options. Two of the four options are labeled ‘TV Commercial.’ The other two are identified as ‘TV Clip’ but are actually promotions for the My Little Pony program.’ “

The groups rallying against the YouTube Kids app allege Google’s new kid-friendly application blurs the line between funny, kid-centric videos and lengthy product promotions. Jeff Chester, director of the Center for Digital Democracy, one of the groups campaigning for more regulation on the YouTube Kids app, sees this as just the first step in a long line of kids’ entertainment regulation.

„This is the opening shot in a new battle with Google, Nickelodeon, Amazon, Netflix, Cartoon Network and others that are trying to cash in on this generation of young children,“ said Jeff Chester, director of the Center for Digital Democracy. „It’s a battle for the hearts and minds and pocketbooks of America’s kids in the digital age.“

„Google simply ignored the basics,“ Chester said. „They deliberately ignored the well-documented research on children’s developmental limitations when it comes to advertising and programming.“

Chester also noted that the groups don’t just want a more serious look into advertisements, but anything resembling such in the app as a whole, namely the perennially popular „unboxing videos“ found on the service. „We want Google to pull all of its unboxing videos from the app,“ Chester said. „There’s no disclosure of who actually owns those channels. They’re an ad, in essence, for toys.“

A few have stepped forward in speaking out in Google’s favor, namely Parry Aftab, an Internet privacy lawyer, who pointed out that „something’s got to pay“ for the free app and said that she doesn’t „worry about ads as long as they’re not ads for Viagra and Victoria’s Secret and things like that, and as long as you teach your kids the reality of ads.“

YouTube itself responded, stating that when creating the app the company „consulted with numerous partners and child advocacy and privacy groups“ and are always „open to feedback on ways to improve the app.“ The YouTube Kids app officially launched back in February with a catalog of kid-friendly shows and parental controls, both aimed at giving kids a daily burst of entertainment without making parents worry about the more questionable content that can sometimes pop up on YouTube’s official service.




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MediaTek shows off 480fps super slow-motion 1080p video recording on the MT6795

The next high-spec MediaTek chip to make an appearance will be the 64-bit MT6595 based on ARM’s big.LITTLE technology. MediaTek has released a teaser showing 1080p video captured at 480fps. Read more…



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CES 2015: Cerevo Debuts XON SNOW-1 Smart Snowboard Bindings, Providing Real-Time Data Analysis [iOS Blog]

2015’s Consumer Electronics Show has seen the unveiling of Cerevo‘s XON SNOW-1, a „smart“ snowboard binding system that syncs via Bluetooth with a downloadable iOS or Android app to provide a slew of real-time analysis on a user’s current run and a detailed overview of everything once at the bottom of the mountain.

The snowboard system tracks movement, speed, and technique, and can even monitor weight distribution on the fly. Thanks to four load sensors at the bottom of each foot, riders can visualize their balance and adjust their weight accordingly. Among other things, the app shows off: weight balance of each foot, center of gravity, board bend of the top and tail-side, and acceleration.

The data accrues for each run, allowing its users to delve deep into the app’s functionality at the end of each run or while waiting on the ski lift for the next one. The board also has four bright LED lights installed in each toe and heel side, simultaneously allowing an easy riding position check and providing a safety feature for dusk and nighttime riders.

Customers interested in the XON SNOW-1 can go to the official website and sign up to receive the latest information on the bindings. Little else is known at this time, but Cerevo states the bindings will be available „within year 2015“ and will cost around $500.




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