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Vine relaunches as Byte, bringing six-second videos back to the web

 

Hands-On

Everybody’s favorite six-second video platform is back and it’s got a new name: Byte. Let’s take a look and see if the resurrected Vine is any better than its predecessor.

Vine came onto the scene in January 2013 as a child-company of popular social media platform Twitter. Almost immediately, Vine changed the way people created, shared, and enjoyed videos.

Unfortunately, Twitter axed Vine in early 2017, just shy of its fourth birthday. The internet wept.

Seven years after its original inception and a little over three years after Twitter killed Vine, Vine rises from the ashes as Byte.

No longer associated with Twitter, Byte relaunched with the help of one of Vine’s founders, Dom Hofmann. Byte aims to bring back six-second looping videos to social media.

The Experience

If you used Vine in the past, you won’t have any trouble adjusting to Byte. You can use the Byte app to watch videos —which we assume will be called “bytes” —or to make your own.

Exploring content is done in a few different ways. The home feed collates a collection of content from your favorite creators. The search page allows you to perform keyword searches, view suggested bytes, or search by category. The categories include topics such as music, animation, comedy, sports, and more.

Making bytes is easy as well. You can upload videos and images from your camera roll, or you can use the Byte camera to capture clips. It’s got a convenient onion skinning feature to allow you to line up the previous shot. After it looks perfect, you can upload your video to Byte, where it will be publicly available. You can check out all your bytes on your Byte profile.

The overall content is… fine. Adequate. Creators are still constrained to the six-second time limit, which means the formula can be hit-or-miss depending on the creators. Thankfully, there’s already quite a bit of content to watch on Byte, and there are some very talented people making great content. If you liked Vine, we’d imagine that you’d also like Byte.

Will Byte be successful?

The question remains: will Byte be successful in a post-Vine world? Anything is possible, and a quick trip to Twitter shows that people are excited to see six-second videos return to their phones.

Byte has also announced that they’ll be offering creators compensation via their partnership program, which should help to keep users on the platform.

Vine fell apart because creators fled when larger marketing companies abandoned Vine for less-restrictive platforms like Instagram Video and Snapchat. Offering to work directly with creators could be a big step in the right direction for Byte.

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Apple to attend meeting promoting easy access to health data

 

An Apple representative is slated to attend a meeting on Monday held by the Carin Alliance, a nonpartisan group currently advocating to push through government policy that would allow fast, easy access to patient health information.

Ricky Bloomfield, Apple’s clinical and health informatics lead, is scheduled to join a meeting at which attendees will discuss efforts to support a Department of Health and Human Services initiative on medical data interoperability, CNBC reports.

Proposed by the HHS in 2019, the proposal would modify rules governing access to health information, allowing patients to more easily obtain and share personal data. These provisions must first pass muster with the Office of Management and Budget, which is where the Carin Alliance comes in.

According to a press release (PDF link), the group seeks to “rapidly advance the ability for consumers and their authorized caregivers to easily get, use, and share their digital health information when, where, and how they want to achieve their goals.” At the upcoming meeting, advocates will ask the OMB to release rule changes proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), as well as the 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program. The group cites consensus reached during a public comment period.

Those in favor of the policy modifications seek to modernize America’s health records system. Existing systems silo data and limit cooperative exchange between health care providers. Currently, patients looking to switch doctors or facilities, or share data with others, are typically required to request hard copies of medical histories. Data is often stored on physical media like CDs that are not easily transferrable. Others are denied access altogether, the report notes.

Proponents of the rule changes argue barriers that inhibit free movement between doctors and health institutions are proving detrimental to public health. Opposing voices, like medical records giant Epic, actively urge customers, like hospitals, to fight the proposals out of supposed concern for patient privacy.

Along with Apple’s Bloomfield, more than 40 representatives from major medical and tech companies, including Microsoft, will take part in the gathering either in person or by phone, according to an attendee list released Friday (PDF link).

Bloomfield is a physician with a background in mobile technology who currently serves as pediatric hospitalist at Stanford Children’s Health and an adjunct clinical assistant professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is currently working on technologies that allow users to carry health information on iPhone, the report said.

Apple has long been an advocate of making health data portable and in 2018 launched the Health Records feature on iOS. Built into the Health app, Health Records enables iPhone users to securely store and share medical data from participating healthcare providers. The effort debuted with support from 39 medical groups, later expanding to 75 backers in less than six months. Most recently, veterans gained access to the feature when the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs integrated support for Health Records in November.

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Apple leases entire ‘Triangle Building’ near Apple Park

 

Apple has leased the entirety of San Jose’s “Triangle Building,” a well known six-floor office building near the company’s main Apple Park campus.

Triangle Building

Apple is leasing the entirety of the “Triangle Building” in San Jose. | Source: Google Maps

The tech giant has leased all six floors of the 86,000-square-foot office building at 5300 Stevens Creek Blvd., according to public filings reported by Mercury News.

Apple first rented a portion of the building in 2012, though information from property listing services reveal the company did not continuously use the space. Today’s reported lease appears to be a more permanent endeavor, as construction is underway on all floors to make ready for whatever plans the company has in store for the property. Apple logos can be seen throughout the building, the report said.

The new lease expands Apple’s presence in the area. Last year, the iPhone maker snapped up two buildings on the same street, while today’s report notes office space leased in a complex located directly across from the Triangle Building.

Apple owns and leases multiple properties in and around the Bay Area of California, including a headquarters in Cupertino and offices in Santa Clara, San Jose, Milpitas and beyond. Locations range from the high-profile, multi-billion-dollar Apple Park in Cupertino to smaller operations in Sunnyvale, the latter of which has been described as a “black site” by contractors.

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Adobe Flash disabled in latest Safari Technology Preview

 

Presaging what will be the final nail in the coffin for Adobe Flash on Safari, Apple on Wednesday disabled support for the much-maligned multimedia plug-in in the latest version of Safari Technology Preview.

Adobe Flash

Apple quietly announced the imminent demise of Flash on Safari in a set of release notes accompanying Safari Technology Preview 99. Along with a number of enhancements to WebKit code and assets is mention of a single deprecation under “Legacy Plug-Ins,” which simply states, “Removed support for Adobe Flash.”

CNET was first to note the change on Wednesday.

Introduced as a developer-focused experimental browser in 2016, Safari Technology Preview provides an early look at upcoming Web technologies that will appear — or in the case of Flash, won’t appear — in both iOS and macOS. The browser is in many ways a standalone beta version of Safari.

The death of Flash is a long time coming. A once-pervasive standard for distributing rich media over the internet, the asset-hungry, proprietary software is now viewed as out-of-date and unsuitable for a mobile-first world. Late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs said as much some 10 years ago in a widely circulated letter appropriately titled “Thoughts on Flash.”

Following increased competition and pushback from the likes of Apple, Google and other browser makers, Adobe in 2017 said it would pull the plug on Flash in 2020. Now, with five words, Apple is signaling that time is nigh for Safari.

For iOS device users, the end of Flash is a non-issue as the platform never integrated the web standard. Safari on Mac has shipped with Flash disabled since macOS Sierra, leaving users to manually activate the software on a case-by-case basis.

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Apple to launch new affordable iPhone model in March

 

Adding to a raft of rumors surrounding a low-cost iPhone model tentatively dubbed “iPhone SE 2,” a report on Tuesday claims the hotly anticipated iPhone SE-tier follow-up is going into production next month.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports Apple suppliers are slated to begin manufacturing the as-yet-unannounced affordable iPhone variant in February ahead of a public debut in March.

Apple last launched a handset aimed at the mass-market with the iPhone SE in March 2016. That model borrowed a design from iPhone 5s, which was two years old at the time, and packed it with then-current tech including an A9 processor and a 12-megapixel camera. The model was priced at $399.

The tech giant is expected to follow a similar strategy with “iPhone SE 2.” According to analyst predictions, the upcoming handset is anticipated to share an external design with iPhone 8, currently the cheapest iPhone offering at $449. A 4.7-inch screen is also expected, as is the inclusion of a Touch ID home button for biometric authentication and user interface navigation.

Like iPhone SE, the next-generation low-cost iPhone is rumored to boast Apple’s latest processor technology, the A13 Bionic, as well as current-generation camera technology.

A number of trade industry publications have speculated on Apple’s 2020 iPhone roadmap, with some claiming the company might launch two low-cost models in 2020. Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested Apple is indeed developing a larger-screened “iPhone SE 2,” but intends to release the handset in 2021. Other rumblings suggest Apple is working on an “SE 2” variant with full-face display and Face ID, though the validity of those assertions are shaky at best due to prohibitive production costs.

Hon Hai, Pegatron and Wistron have been tapped to assemble the next-generation affordable iPhone, according to today’s report.

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Rumor: ‘iPhone 12’ will look like a slimmer, taller iPhone 11

 

Rumblings out of Apple’s East Asian supply chain this week offer fresh insight into this year’s iPhone release cycle, with a report on Monday claiming the company’s 2020 handsets will be similar in design to the iPhone 11 lineup albeit with a few sizing tweaks.

iPhone 11

iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.

Citing an unnamed Chinese supplier, Mac Otakara reports Apple’s next-generation iPhone range, tentatively dubbed “iPhone 12,” will share a case design with iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.

Until today, most predictions pointed to the adoption of a squared metal frame design that harkens back to iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Noted TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo first delivered word of the “significant” design change last September, saying the new frame structure would rely on a “more complex segmentation design, new trenching, and injection molding procedures.”

Today’s report casts doubt on Kuo’s expectations and suggests iPhone will retain a metal chassis with gently bowed edges.

Seemingly confirming rumors that Apple will field three screen sizes in 2020 — 5.4-, 6.1- and 6.7-inch variants — sources claim to have information on chassis dimensions. The height of the smallest 5.4-inch version is said to be between that of the iPhone SE and iPhone 8, while the 6.1-inch model lies between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. Apple’s largest 2020 model, predicted to boast a 6.7-inch screen, will supposedly be slightly taller than this year’s iPhone 11 Pro Max.

The report goes on to say Apple’s 2020 iPhone range will boast a depth of around 7.40 millimeters, much thinner than the 8.1mm iPhone 11 Pro or 8.3mm iPhone 11. Bezel size is expected to be about 2mm, roughly equivalent to current generation iPhones.

All 2020 models are anticipated to benefit from OLED screens, a new “A14” system-on-chip processor and 5G connectivity. The entry-level 5.4- and 6.1-inch iPhones will likely sport dual rear-facing cameras, while the top-end 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch versions should carry over iPhone 11 Pro’s triple-camera array. High-end iterations are also predicted to gain VCSEL time of flight sensors for depth sensing operations.

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Apple working on preventative healthcare technology, CEO Cook reveals

 

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday said the company is investigating technology that could help identify health risks at an early stage, similar to heart monitoring features introduced with Apple Watch.

Cycle

Apple Watch’s new Cycle app tracks menstrual cycles.

Cook commented on Apple’s contributions to the healthcare space during a panel, suggesting what started with heart health tracking on Apple Watch could soon branch out into other areas of interest.

Current Apple Watch models are equipped with sensors capable to detecting atrial fibrillation, or AFib, a common heart arrhythmia that can lead to stroke in some patients. Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5 go a step further and include an FDA-approved electrocardiogram function for more accurate readings.

As the first FDA-approved consumer device to incorporate an ECG, Apple Watch is an early entrant in what appears to be a burgeoning crossover sector that joins consumer tech with healthcare.

“I’m seeing that this intersection has not yet been explored very well. There’s not a lot of tech associated with the way people’s healthcare is done unless they get into very serious trouble.”” Cook said in a Q&A session with IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan, according to Silicon Republic. IDA on Monday presented Cook with the inaugural Special Recognition Award for Apple’s 40 years of investment in Ireland

Most Apple Watch heart monitoring features, like AFib detection, are inherently preventative and can potentially reduce healthcare fees or even save lives.

“I think you can take that simple idea of having preventive things and find many more areas where technology intersects healthcare, and I think all of our lives would probably be better off for it,” Cook said. He added that the cost of healthcare can “fundamentally be taken down, probably in a dramatic way” by integrating common healthcare technologies in consumer devices.

“Most of the money in healthcare goes to the cases that weren’t identified early enough,” Cook said. “It will take some time but things that we are doing now — that I’m not going to talk about today — those give me a lot of cause for hope.”

Apple is known to be at work on multiple health-focused initiatives, though none have been formally announced. A recent patent filing from December, for example, suggests the company is developing methods of using Apple Watch to detect Parkinson’s Disease and diagnose tremor symptoms. Similar initiatives, like the sound monitoring Noise app and menstrual cycle tracking Cycle app, were announced and subsequently released with watchOS 6.

The Apple chief also touched on AR, once again calling it the “next big thing” in tech. Cook has long been bullish on the prospects of AR, which are being borne in iOS app releases.

“I think it’s something that doesn’t isolate people. We can use it to enhance our discussion, not substitute it for human connection, which I’ve always deeply worried about in some of the other technologies.”

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New Apple iPhone 11 ads show off Slofies on a snowboard

 

Apple premiered two new iPhone 11 ads on Sunday, showing off the Slofie feature in the hands of a pro snowboarder.

iPhone 11 capturing a Slofie on a snowboard

iPhone 11 capturing a Slofie on a snowboard

Slow motion Selfies, or Slofies, are one of Apple’s newest features on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. Capable of capturing slow motion video at 1080p and 120fps, the iPhone can help you get a bit more creative with your selfies.

The first spot is called “Whiteout” and shows a professional snowboarder crashing through a snow drift using the front facing camera’s slow-mode feature.

The second video “Backflip” is the same snowboarder performing a backflip in slow motion.

Apple coined the term “Slofie” and has since used it in all of its marketing. While you might not find yourself on a snowboard or at the other end of a hairdryer, Slofies are a fun, if not silly, capability of the new iPhones.

If you want to try your hand at making Slofies, check out AppleInsider’s iPhone 11 Price Guide to find the best deal.

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Tim Cook reveals surprise behind the scenes look at ‘Little America’

 

In a Tweet on Saturday Apple CEO Tim Cook shared a new behind the scenes look at the making of “Little America.”

Apple TV+ Little America' is now streaming

Apple TV+ Little America’ is now streaming

The new series debuted on Apple TV+ on January 16, and features stories inspired by true events in an anthology format.

Little America is written and executive produced by Lee Eisenberg, Kumasi Nanjiani, and Emily V. Gordon. The video depicts the executive producers discussing the show and how it came about.

“We wanted these to be human stories,” says Nanjiani. “These are not stories with any kind of agenda.”

The series was created to represent real stories of immigration to America. “As much as we can, directors are from the same countries of origin as the actors in the episode,” Eisenberg said.

AppleInsider reviewed Little America and considered it a decent show with room to grow. Told in eight separate vignettes, this anthology series examines different people’s immigration experience through time.

Apple TV+ is $5 per month and can be found across all Apple devices, third party set top boxes, and some smart TVs.

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Apple TV+ announces biographical docuseries ‘Dear…’ featuring Oprah, Stevie Wonder, more

 

Apple on Friday announced “Dear,” a new documentary series produced by R.J. Cutler that takes a deeper look into the lives of iconic figures like Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, journalist Gloria Steinem, gymnast Aly Raisman and more.

Apple TV+

According to a brief overview of the series, “Dear” draws inspiration from the company’s “Dear Apple” advertisements that feature customers reading written testimonials about Apple products.

Like “Dear Apple” letters, which typically focus on life-changing events like Apple Watch discovering a heart condition or iPhone automatically calling emergency services after a car crash, the upcoming show uses letters to paint a picture of “internationally recognized leaders.” Along with Winfrey, Wonder, Steinem and Raisman, the 10-episode series will profiles Spike Lee, Lin-Manuel Miranda, model and activist Yara Shahidi, ballet dancer Misty Copeland and Big Bird.

Cutler, an Emmy and Peabody Award winner, will executive produce the project for Apple. The documentarian gained notoriety for Anna Wintour profile “The September Issue” and most recently worked on the “Untitled Billie Eilish Documentary,” which is expected to debut as an Apple TV+ exclusive later this year.

Todd Lubin, Jay Peterson, Jane Cha and Lyle Gamm are also listed as executive producers, with Matador Content and Cutler Productions producing.