Pixar animators rave about iPad Pro test drive

Apple’s gigantic new tablet just got a huge endorsement from some of the best animators and graphic artists in the world. Pixar’s animation team got an early hands-on look with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil yesterday, and according to Pixar’s R&D pre-production architect, Michael Johnson, the palm rejection on the iPad Pro is so […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Disney Launches ‘Disney GIF’ Keyboard on iOS for Easy GIF Sharing [iOS Blog]

Disney today announced the launch of its own GIF app, called Disney GIF, that will act as a keyboard extension and allow users to share a huge back catalogue of Disney- and Pixar-themed GIFs in Message, email, and various social networks (via TechCrunch). With today’s launch, the app includes over 200 GIFs, with the company promising more to be added as time goes by.

GIFs ready at launch include moments from films like Frozen, The Lion King, and the newly-released Pixar feature Inside Out. The app will also feature content from studios owned under the Disney corporate umbrella, with GIFs from movies like Star Wars and even ABC shows like Scandal and Once Upon a Time.

Perhaps taking a cue from the emotion-based Inside Out, the app lets users browse by emotional status, film, or see what’s currently trending with users around the world. Although the app is free to download, anyone interested in more premium content from the popular film Frozen can put down $0.99 for one of two themed packs from the animated musical.

The move is an interesting one, especially considering the rejection of app developer Matt Cheetham’s app GIF Finder earlier in the year, due to the fact that it „includes content or features that resemble various well-known, third-party marks, including Disney characters.“ Although the app’s rejection was „largely due“ to other entertainment properties, Disney’s desire to be included in the meme- and GIF-generating world, and still own complete control over the output, makes the debut of Disney GIF more understandable.

Disney GIF can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]





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‘Becoming Steve Jobs’: Rare Insights into Steve Jobs’ Evolution and Personality

After an initial teaser post from John Gruber earlier this month and several leaks and excerpts, the new Steve Jobs biography Becoming Steve Jobs debuted yesterday, and we’ve had a chance to read through the book that offers a new look into the life of the Apple co-founder. While Walter Isaacson’s best-selling 2011 biography of Jobs was undertaken with Jobs’ authorization and participation, many close to him felt it didn’t offer an accurate reflection of his personality.

In the wake of that book’s debut, former Fortune and Wall Street Journal reporter Brent Schlender, who interviewed Jobs numerous times over the final 25 years of Jobs’ life, teamed up with former Fortune colleague and current Fast Company executive editor Rick Tetzeli for an alternative take on Jobs’ life. Notably, Schlender and Tetzeli were eventually able to obtain the cooperation of a number of key figures, including Tim Cook, Eddy Cue, Jony Ive, and Laurene Powell Jobs, to share their perspectives on Jobs.

The new book takes a mostly linear approach to telling the story of Jobs’ life, beginning with Apple’s early days. Much of that early content has been shared in previously published books and articles, but the story becomes more interesting once it reaches 1986, the year Schlender and Jobs first met for an interview when Jobs was in the early stages of building NeXT after having been ousted from Apple the year before.

Schlender’s many interviews and discussions with Jobs over the years give him a fairly rare perspective, and Schlender uses that perspective to argue the Jobs of his later years was a very different and more mature person than the perception developed in his brash younger years.

I can’t think of a businessman who grew and changed and matured more than Steve. Personal change is, of course, incremental. As all „grown-ups“ come to understand, we wrestle with and learn how to manage our gifts and flaws over a lifetime. It’s an endless growth process. And yet it’s not as if we become wholly different people. Steve is a great object lesson in someone who masterfully improved his ability to make better use of his strengths and to effectively mitigate those aspects of his personality that got in the way of those strengths. His negative qualities didn’t go away, nor were they replaced by new good traits. But he learned how to manage himself, his own personal miasma of talents and rough edges. Most of them, anyway.

Tim Cook is one of the most high-profile figures to be interviewed for the book, and beyond the already revealed tidbit about Cook having offered Jobs a portion of his liver, Cook addressed the ways in which he saw Jobs change even since 1998 when Cook joined Apple.

„The Steve I met in early ’98 was brash and confident and passionate and all of those things. But there was a soft side of him as well, and that soft side became a larger portion of him over the next thirteen years. You’d see that show up in different ways. There were different employees and spouses here that had health issues, and he would go out of his way to turn heaven and earth to make sure they had proper medical attention. He did that in a major way, not in a minor ‘Call me and get back to me if you need my help’ kind of way.“ […]

„One day he calls my mom–he doesn’t event know my mom, she lives in Alabama. He said he was looking for me, but he knows how to find me! And he talked to her about me. There are lots of these things where you saw the very soft or caring or feeling or whatever you want to call it side of him. He had that gene. Someone who’s viewing life only as a transactional relationship with people…doesn’t do that.“

While most biographies and feature articles on Jobs have focused on his work at Apple, Becoming Steve Jobs also dedicates several chapters each to his time at NeXT and his work with Pixar, with Schlender’s discussions with Jobs and more recent interviews with a number of key people at those firms offering some interesting details about those aspects of Jobs’ professional life. In particular, Bob Iger shared background on how he was able to win Jobs over after being named Disney CEO in 2005 and ultimately negotiate Disney’s acquisition of Pixar the following year.

In his interview, Iger related how just minutes before the Disney-Pixar acquisition was to be made official and announced to the public, Jobs confided in Iger that his cancer had returned, giving Iger an opportunity to back out of the deal. Despite Jobs’ admission, the deal went through, and his cancer recurrence remained a secret from the public for three years until his second medical leave of absence in 2009 for his liver transplant.

Overall, Becoming Steve Jobs definitely has a feeling of those close to Steve Jobs trying to alter the public perception of him as a person, sharing some of the details of their relationships while the book in some respects glosses over his shortcomings. Those shortcomings are not, however, ignored entirely, with the penultimate chapter entitled „Blind Spots, Grudges, and Sharp Elbows“ laying out a number of instances even late in his life where he engaged in controversial behavior.

Steve Jobs certainly remains a polarizing figure, but regardless of how you view the light in which Jobs is cast in this book, it includes a number of interesting anecdotes and perspectives from those who have rarely spoken of their relationships with Jobs over the decades, all tied together by one of the few reporters to have had access to Jobs on a regular basis throughout that time.

Becoming Steve Jobs is available now from a variety of outlets including Amazon and the iBooks Store. The authors will be appearing tomorrow evening at the SoHo Apple retail store in New York City to discuss the book and take questions. They will also be appearing at a Computer History Museum event in Mountain View, California on April 7.




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Apple and other tech giants will pay $415m to settle anti-poaching case

It’s been a long hard slog for all involved but the 64,000-person class action anti-poaching lawsuit brought against four major tech companies, including Apple, is finally over. The companies — which also included Google, Intel, and Adobe — reportedly agreed…Read more ›



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Disney CEO Bob Iger Discusses Working with Steve Jobs, Apple, and Pixar

The cover of Fortune‘s January edition showcases an interview with Disney CEO Bob Iger and his „Empire of Tech,“ focusing on Disney’s growing media empire with acquisitions of brands such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Marvel expanding the company’s already considerable reach over the past few years. With Disney’s and Iger’s histories intersecting with those of Apple and Steve Jobs, Iger unsurprisingly takes a few moments to discuss topics such as his relationship with Jobs, his view on Apple and Disney’s history, and Disney’s attempt to stay relevant in a growing technological world.

In one anecdote, Iger recalls the moment in 2005 when he was about to be named as the new CEO of Disney, calling Jobs ahead of time to let him know what was coming. Disney’s own animation was seen as „lifeless“ in the years before the company’s 2006 acquisition of Pixar, and amid reports of „bad blood“ between former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and Jobs himself and an inability to come to an agreement for a continued distribution deal following the successful release of Toy Story, both studios’ futures remained up in the air.

Even before the news became public, he called Jobs to let him know big changes were coming. “I told him I was well aware of how strained the relationship had become,” says Iger. “I said, ‘I know you think it’s going to be business as usual, but I’d like to prove to you that it’s not.’ ”

Jobs gave Iger the benefit of the doubt and told him to come up as soon as the dust settled. And that’s just what Iger did—not only because he knew Pixar was the key to revitalizing Disney’s lifeless animation studio, but also because he saw Apple’s CEO as a valuable technology partner. The sentiment, apparently, was reciprocated.

Ensuing fruitful years of a Disney/Apple alliance began immediately, with Iger flying out to Cupertino to officiate a deal to get Disney-owned content on the iTunes Store, a big deal for the still-budding platform.

“Steve recognized that in Bob he actually had a partner,” says Edwin Catmull, current President of both Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios. “In the subsequent years they thought of each other as true partners. That’s what he wanted, and that’s not what he had previously.”

Two weeks after becoming CEO, Iger stood alongside Jobs to announce that Disney-owned ABC and its network of programs would be available on the iTunes Store, which only sold music at the time. Iger notes that Disney „got backlash from everybody – from affiliates, retailers, and the guilds.“ He goes on to remark, however, that the experience „changed my relationship with him [Jobs] bigtime. And it led to a much better dialogue on Pixar.”

The Disney/Apple partnership continues to grow stronger, even in the wake of Jobs’ death. Iger joined Apple’s board just months after Jobs’ passing, and Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs remains Disney’s largest individual shareholder thanks to Disney’s acquisition of Pixar.

And Iger isn’t afraid of the necessity to innovate, as highlighted by Apple CEO Tim Cook in a quote for the piece. “He has the courage to lose sight of the shore,” Cook says of Iger. “He understands the tradition of Disney but isn’t wedded to it.” But Iger also knows that both companies’ pasts are important in looking towards the future, and remembers fondly brainstorming sessions with Jobs.

“Occasionally we would stand in front of a whiteboard and talk about ideas,” says Iger. “We’d just muse on business. When you think about it, media’s the intersection of content and technology—it’s all about storytelling, like photography and the camera. So we’d talk about that a lot, the intersection between the story and the gadget.”

The partnership isn’t only growing strong behind boardroom doors, either. Just last week Apple Pay launched at Walt Disney World, its „Disney Movies Anywhere“ app debuted exclusively on the App Store before expanding to Android recently, and even the upcoming Apple Watch is said to be including a Mickey Mouse-themed watch face option.




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Pixar bringing Toy Story 4 to a big screen near you in 2017

Today’s good news: a new Toy Story movie. Pixar just announced that it’s releasing the fourth installment of Toy Story in June 2017. The movie will be directed by John Lasseter, the legend who directed the first two movies and currently serves…Read more ›



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