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iTunes Chief Eddy Cue: ‘We’re All In’ on Original Content

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Apple iTunes music chief Eddy Cue is at the SXSW conference today, where he sat down for an interview with CNN‘s Dylan Byers to discuss media, entertainment, and why curation matters.

The major announcement of the event was Apple’s pending acquisition of magazine subscription service Texture, which will be integrated into Apple News, but Cue also shared some insight into Apple’s original content plans, and much of what he said has been shared on Twitter.

Image via @JohanTrouve

According to Cue, Apple News is a unique service because it isn’t focused on advertising, so it’s not solely providing the news you want to read – it’s also sharing news “you should be reading.” Cue says Apple can do that because advertising isn’t the focus. “We’re not trying to get you to read so we can serve you more ads,” he said. “We want to give you a bit of serendipity to see all of what’s out there,” he added.

On the topic of Apple’s content plans, Cue said the company is “all in.” “We’re completely all in,” he said. Apple isn’t going to buy a company like Netflix or Disney, though, because the focus is not quantity, it’s quality. “You need to have a great story,” he said, while also teasing technology that will be a “surprise” to users.

Apple searched for the right people to run an original content team for two years before finding former Sony executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht. Cue says Apple was after someone who “really knew the business but was also willing to think about it differently.” Since hiring Van Amburg and Erlicht last year, Apple has inked deals for more than 10 TV shows, many with high-profile actors, producers, and directors.

“We’re making big investments,” said Cue. “Money isn’t an issue.” Apple’s original content team has grown to about 40 people over the course of the last year.

When asked about sports, Cue said that Apple wants to “augment the experience” rather than own sports content, doing things like sending out notifications when a game stats to enhance the viewing experience. “We think there’s a huge opportunity,” he said, referring to making sports watching a more interactive experience.

Cue also shared new details on Apple Music. The subscription service has grown to 38 million subscribers, with more than 8 million people using the trial service.

Cue commented on the HomePod, which went on sale in February. He said Apple is happy with the initial sales of the device, which is the “best musicologist there is.” Cue said Apple is “very proud” of the device.

Echoing statements Apple CEO Tim Cook has made several times over the course of the past year, Cue said Apple is “very, very optimistic” that AR is going to be huge. It’s going to be a mainstream product that everyone uses every day.

He declined to give specifics on the topic of AR hardware outside of the iPhone, though, citing a desire to continue working at Apple. “I’ve worked for Apple for almost 30 years and hope to work for Apple for another 20 years, so I’m not going to answer questions on future products,” he said.

Brooklyn-based writer, editor and creator with a love of all things streetwear and/or delicious. Always on the hunt for the next best coffee shop. Obsessed with new sunglasses.

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Amazon Now Taking Pre-Orders For Microsoft’s Surface Go Tablet

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A couple of weeks ago Microsoft launched their latest Surface tablet in the form of the Surface Go. Shortly after the launch Microsoft started taking pre-orders for the device via the official Microsoft Store, but in case you prefer doing your shopping on Amazon for whatever reason, Amazon has also started to accept pre-orders for the tablet as well.

In terms of pricing, there is no difference from the Amazon listing and the Microsoft listing. This means that the model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage will retail for $399, while the 8GB RAM and 128GB memory option will retail for slightly more expensive at $549. Some might wonder why shop through Amazon when you can buy it from Microsoft directly, but there are some advantages depending on where you live.

For example some reports have pointed out that over in Spain, Amazon Spain is giving a 25% discount on the higher-end model where instead of it being priced at 599 EUR, it is now priced at 449 EUR, so for our readers in Spain, you will be able to take advantage of this discount. However the downside is that the tablet will only begin shipping to you on the 28th of August for those living in Europe, versus the US where it is set for a release on the 2nd of August which is this coming Thursday.

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Mowgli Movie Will Now Release On Netflix In 2019

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Mowgli is a live-action Jungle Book adaptation that director Andy Serkis has been working on. Netflix has now purchased the rights to this movie and it will, therefore, be released on the online streaming network. The release date has been moved to 2019 as a result of this development which will now see this movie being released on Netflix first. This movie is different from Disney’s live-action adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling classic which the studio released in 2016.

Rohan Chand stars in the lead role with Christian Bale playing Bagheera, Cate Blanchett playing Kaa, and Benedict Cumberbatch taking on the role of Shere Khan. Andy Serkis himself will be playing Baloo.

This movie was actually supported to be released in 2016 as well but it has been delayed multiple times since then. The first trailer was released recently which mentioned October 19th, 2018 as the theatrical release date.

That was before Netflix had decided to acquire the rights to Mowgli. EW reports that with this acquisition, the release has been delayed yet again. Netflix is going to premiere Mowgli on its platform at some point next year.

Serkis has said that the decision to move the film to Netflix will help avoid a direct comparison with the Disney movie. The platform will also enable the director to have more creative freedom and explore darker themes, going so far as to explore the violence between animals.

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New iPad Pro Lineup Might Ditch The Headphone Jack

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Ever since Apple ditched the standard 3.5mm headphone jack on recent iPhone models there has been speculation that the company will do this for its other mobile devices as well. A new report has surfaced which claims that the upcoming iPad Pro lineup is not only going to be slightly smaller than its predecessor but will also ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack.

The iPad Pro lineup due next year will reportedly see its dimensions being reduced a little for both the 10.5 inch and 12.9 inch models. The report also reiterates earlier rumors that the new iPad lineup is going to feature FaceID. A recent iOS 12 beta also revealed that there’s a big possibility that this biometric access control system might arrive with the next generation of Apple’s tablet.

The new iPad Pro models might be designed for vertical use as FaceID will reportedly not work when the tablet is in landscape mode. It may also adjust the positions of the Lightning connector and the smart connector for the keyboard for this purpose.

It is as yet unclear when Apple is going to unveil these new tablets. There have been a lot of reports and rumors about them in recent months and they will likely continue in the days to come.

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