Showtime today confirmed that its self-titled standalone streaming service will be released today for the Apple TV, allowing viewers to pay for Showtime’s exclusive series directly without needing a cable subscription (via Re/code).
First announced just over a month ago, the service will cost those interested $10.99 per month and everyone can sign up for a 30-day free trial to test the experience before subscribing. The service will cost users a few dollars less than HBO NOW’s $15 streaming cost, which debuted exclusively on Apple TV earlier in the Spring.
Showtime’s launch today comes in a bit ahead of the previously-announced July 12 release date for the standalone service, a date that coincided with the network’s big summer premieres of Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex. No doubt giving users a few days to prepare before the summer premieres, those interested should be start seeing the Showtime app on the Apple TV shortly.
Following the launch of Apple Music alongside iOS 8.4, Apple’s Beats 1 radio station led by Zane Lowe has begun broadcasting. Available in more than 100 countries, Beats 1 is a 24/7 radio station that will play music around the clock with live DJs and guests.
The inaugural song played on Beats 1 radio right when it kicked off at 9:00 a.m. was Spring King’s „City,“ which was followed by Beck’s „Dreams“ and Jamie xx’s „In Color.“ Spring King was picked by Lowe as a great upcoming band from Manchester.
Beats 1 features several shows by various on-air personalities, and a full lineup of what’s going to be on can be found at the Beats 1 website, which forwards to Apple’s new Tumblr page for Apple Music and Beats 1. The Tumblr page has a complete schedule that displays what’s playing, and it adjusts to your time zone based on location.
Beats 1 will include exclusive interviews and news broadcasts, with the first interview taking place tomorrow with Eminem. According to Zane Low, today’s focus is on the music, and several exclusive songs will be played over the course of the day.
Apple Music is available now and is free for all listeners for the first three months. Following the trial period, the service will cost $9.99 per month for individuals or $14.99 for families of up to 6.
LifeMap Solutions, co-creators of the ResearchKit Asthma Health app [Direct Link], yesterday published a blog post detailing the success of the first few weeks of the app’s lifespan and how it has engaged its users in return visits as much as some social media and gaming apps on iOS.
In the official ResearchKit blog post, LifeMap Solutions details the preliminary findings of the Asthma Health app, which aims to attain greater insight into the disease and subsequently attempt to help users become more educated on the issues at hand.
The developers were initially worried about the tricky e-consent process every user must go through when first launching the app, with secondary concerns wondering if users would find the experience as „sticky“ and addictive as other apps they use daily. Asthma Health’s usage data showcased not only willingness to give e-consent, but a high engagement rate in returning to the app throughout the week.
But the gamble paid off. Based on preliminary data for the Asthma Health app, over half of our users not only complete the e-consent process, they also come back the very next day to use the app. This is a very high rate of return for any app, let alone a health-related app.
Excitingly, results have shown that users are as engaged (or more!) with Asthma Health as they are with games and social networks. Our working theory is that Asthma Health users are motivated by the goal of supporting research that helps the entire patient community. We plan to test this theory more extensively in the near future.
LifeMap Solutions discovered that the research-based app showcased data very similar to everyday social media apps, with users responding especially high to push notifications reminding them to revisit the app.
The developers also saw particularly high involvement in the app on Mondays, corresponding to a weekly push notification automated to hit early each week. As the developers said, even though overall engagement decreases, „The spikes in app usage are consistent with the type of behavior we see in mobile apps more broadly: users respond dramatically to regular reminders.“
Asthma Health’s engagement rate over the course of its first few weeks.
Apple first announced ResearchKit at its „Spring Forward“ media event on March 9, the Asthma Health app one of four experiences to launch supporting the platform. The mobile open source framework allowed for thousands to sign up for those initial four launch apps, far more than any location-based study could ever have hoped for.
With the official release of the full ResearchKit suite earlier in April, now even more developers can capture the features of the iPhone’s sensors such as the accelerometer, gyroscope, microphone and GPS to create medical research experiences and conduct studies like LifeMap Solutions and its partner Mount Sinai have done with Asthma Health.
Apple this morning released full pricing information for the Retina MacBook to reseller partners such as Expercom, confirming prices of the new 12-inch MacBook for customers who plan to opt for beefed-up processors in the checkout process when the device launches this Friday, April 10.
As stated during the „Spring Forward“ event last month, the entry-level MacBook will retail for $1299 with a 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor, 8 GB of memory, and 256 GB of flash storage.
According to Expercom, this machine will have a configure-to-order option that bumps its performance with a 1.3 GHz Intel Core M processor, with the same 256 GB flash storage. The upgrade will cost those interested an extra $250, raising the entry-level option to $1549 when choosing the upgraded version.
The high-end stock model announced at last month’s event comes with a 1.2 GHz processor with 8 GB of memory and 512 GB of flash storage, priced at $1599. Apple will offer the 1.3 GHz processor upgrade option here as well, keeping the same 512 GB of flash storage and charging an additional $150 over the base price of the 1.2 GHz model for a total price of $1749.
The new 12-inch MacBook is set to launch this Friday, April 10 on the Apple online store and in Apple retail stores, though recent news from Apple Retail Chief Angela Ahrendts points to better possibilities of a completed order when visiting the company’s online storefront or Apple Store app.
ResearchKit, Apple’s new open-source medical framework, was one of the unexpected announcements during the company’s Spring Forward media event. Dr. Stephen Friend, one of the key members of the ResearchKit team, talked about the potential genesis of the project in a new interview with Fusion (via iMore).
In September 2013, nearly one and a half years before ResearchKit was unveiled, Friend was at Stanford’s MedX conference giving a talk about the future of medical research. He explained how he envisioned an open source system where users could upload their medical data to the cloud for researchers to use in trials.
Sitting in the audience that day was Michael O’Reilly, M.D., the former Chief Medical Officer and EVP of Medical Affairs at Masimo Corporation, a pulse oximetry company. O’Reilly had just left Masimo to join Apple, and wanted to build something that could „implement Friend’s vision of a patient-centered, medical research utopia and radically change the way clinical studies are done.“
After Friend’s talk, O’Reilly approached the doctor, and, in typical tight-lipped Apple fashion, said: “I can’t tell you where I work, and I can’t tell you what I do, but I need to talk to you,” Friend recalls. Friend was intrigued, and agreed to meet for coffee.
Shortly after his meeting with O’Reilly, Friend started making frequent trips to Apple’s HQ in Cupertino, meeting with scientists and engineers. He also organized a DARPA-funded workshop exploring how biosensors could potentially help doctors and scientists understand Parkinson’s Disease.
Euan Ashley, a Stanford University investigator behind the myHeart app, told Fusion that Apple largely acted as a „facilitator“, building the ResearchKit framework in the background as the researchers designed and built the first ResearchKit apps by themselves. However, Apple did go meet with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration three months before the Spring Forward event to talk about medical research and smooth over any potential regulatory concerns.
Friend noted that even though his open-source ideals didn’t totally mesh with Apple’s view on open source at the time, he wanted to work with them rather than competitors like Google and Microsoft because Apple is a hardware company that doesn’t need to sell data, and that he believed Apple when the company said it wouldn’t look at the data being used in ResearchKit.
However, both Apple and Friend decided not to make the true origin of ResearchKit clear to Fusion. It’s unknown whether the idea was Friend’s or if Apple was developing it before Friend joined the team.
Thus far, ResearchKit has been a success for Apple, receiving thousands of sign-ups less than 24 hours after it was unveiled. In that time frame, 11,000 people signed up for one of the ResearchKit apps, myHeart Counts.
The rest of the interview also provides a good look at ResearchKit and can be read at Fusion’s website.