‘YouTube Red’ Ad-Free Subscription Service Launches in U.S. October 28

Google today announced YouTube Red, a new subscription service that provides unlimited ad-free access to YouTube videos for $9.99 per month on Android, desktop and the mobile web, and $12.99 per month on iOS due to Apple’s in-app purchase tax (via TechCrunch). The membership also includes several other benefits.

YouTube Red features the option to save videos for offline playback and to play videos in the background on smartphones and tablets. In early 2016, the subscription service will also take on Netflix by introducing member-only access to Original series and movies by some of YouTube’s most popular creators.

YouTube Red launches in the U.S. on October 28, and will expand to other major markets over the course of the next year. The service works across all devices and anywhere you can sign into YouTube, including its new Gaming and Family apps. A free 14-day trial will be available in the U.S., which can be extended to 30 days with a credit card.

Google has also bundled a Play Music subscription into YouTube Red on iOS and Android, providing access to both services for a combined $9.99 or $12.99 monthly payment. YouTube Red’s unlimited access to both streaming music, videos and more makes it an attractive competitor alongside rivals like Apple Music and Spotify.

The Verge published an exclusive in-depth article and hands-on video about YouTube Red:

Google also announced YouTube Music, an all-new app for discovering, watching and listening to music videos. The app is coming soon in the U.S., followed by additional countries in 2016. YouTube Red members gain additional features such as no ads and other background and offline member benefits.

The Verge also published an exclusive hands-on video for YouTube Music:

YouTube will continue to be available in its traditional ad-supported format on the web and mobile devices. Google says today’s ad-supported experience will not change for users who aren’t interested in paying, while the majority of revenue collected from YouTube Red will be distributed to partners.



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Misfit Announces ‘Shine 2’ With Multicolor LEDs, Vibration Motor for Alerts

Misfit today debuted its second-generation Shine activity tracker, which has been redesigned to incorporate new technology. The Shine 2 is thinner than the original Shine and it includes more accurate activity and sleep tracking capabilities along with improved LEDs, longer Bluetooth range, and better touch responsiveness.

There are now several multicolor LEDs built into the face of the Shine, which, along with a vibration motor, allow users to see their progress towards their daily goals and get reminders to get up and move. The Shine 2 also works with Misfit Link, so it can be used to do things like take selfies, receive call notifications, control music, control home products, and more.

The Shine 2, like the original Shine, is made of aluminum, and it measures in at just 3.3mm thick at the edge. Its built-in LEDs are able to display more than 6 million colors and their greater brightness makes it easier to tell the time and see progress towards a movement goal.

Misfit’s newest device continues to operate on a standard watch battery, so it lasts up to six months on a single charge, and it’s water resistant up to 50 meters, making it suitable for swim tracking.

The Shine 2 comes in Rose Gold and Carbon Black, with each of the Shine 2 trackers shipping with a sport band and a clasp. The Shine 2, priced at $99.99, is available for purchase from the Misfit website and it will be in retail stores beginning on November 1.



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Philips Announces New Hue Bulbs, Hue Bridge 2.0 With HomeKit Compatibility

Philips today announced its first HomeKit-enabled product, debuting the Hue Bridge 2.0, an updated version of its original Hue Bridge. With the Hue Bridge 2.0, its line of Philips Hue lights are able to work with Apple’s home automation platform, allowing all existing and future Hue bulbs to be controlled with Siri voice commands.

Commands like „Turn lights red“ can be used for specific colors, while commands like „Set the lamp to 30 percent“ can be used for dimming. Lighting scenes that have long been available in the Philips Hue app can now be turned on using Siri. With HomeKit integration, an entire household of lights can be manipulated with a single command.

While most HomeKit apps support other HomeKit products, the Hue app will work differently. It can be used to control the Hue line of lights and set up light-specific scenes, but it is not able to incorporate other HomeKit products. Hue lighting scenes will be made available in other HomeKit apps, however, so it is possible to group the Hue lights with other products, using one command to do things like unlock a door and turn on the lights at the same time.

„Lighting is the most accessible aspect of the connected home, and as the lighting expert for the Internet of Things we are taking connected lighting to the next phase,“ said Eric Rondolat, Chief Executive Officer at Philips Lighting. „By integrating Philips Hue with Apple HomeKit, we are broadening people’s experience of light beyond what has been previously possible, providing seamless interoperability with other connected home devices.“

The new Hue Bridge 2.0 looks similar to the existing Hue Bridge, but it is square like the Apple TV rather than round. Along with the new bridge, Philips is also debuting a new set of lights. The new Hue bulbs are somewhat brighter at 800 lumens instead of 600 lumens.

The original Hue Bridge will not be updated with HomeKit compatibility as it does not have the necessary hardware, but Philips plans to continue to support it with software updates. Original Hue Bridge owners will need to purchase a Hue Bridge 2.0 to access HomeKit, but will get a discount of $20 on the product.

The new Hue Bridge 2.0 is priced at $60, but customers who own an existing Hue Bridge can get it for $40. The full lighting kit with new bulbs and the new bridge is priced at $200. All new Hue products are available beginning October 6 from Apple retail stores, Best Buy, and Amazon.



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Apple Makes More Dev Kits for New Apple TV Available

Late Friday night, Apple emailed developers to tell them that more developer kits for the new Apple TV are now available. The email, which MacRumors has obtained a copy of, says that more developer kits are being made available due to „overwhelming demand.“

Due to overwhelming demand, we’ve made more Apple TV Developer Kits available and you’ve been selected to receive one. Simply sign in with your developer account, agree to the terms and conditions, and submit your order by 5:00 p.m.local time on October 9, 2015.

Similar to the original wave of new Apple TV dev kits, Apple will charge developers $1 to verify billing addresses. The Apple TV will ship within 1 to 3 business days via standard shipping for free. The original wave of Apple TV dev kits had to be ordered by September 16.

The new Apple TV represents a massive overhaul of Apple’s existing set-top box, coming with a brand new operating system called tvOS, a much more powerful A8 processor, 2 GB of RAM, support for a full App Store and Siri in countries where it’s supported.



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Best Buy slashes cost of original Microsoft Band to $100 ahead of successor’s release

Want a Microsoft Band? It has dropped to just $99.99 at Best Buy in anticipation of the Band 2’s release – the lowest price at which the health- and fitness-focused wearable has been sold so far. Read more…

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