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7 small iOS 12 features that will make a huge difference


As with any software release, iOS 12 has a lot of features, and in traditional fashion, not everything is shown on stage at the keynote.

But unlike previous WWDCs, Apple opted not to splash a screen that lists out the many features of the forthcoming release that the company didn’t talk about onstage.

SEE ALSO: Turn yourself into an emoji with Apple’s Memoji

However, Apple gives more details in its official product page for iOS 12. On top of that, developers already have the beta software and are sharing some of the things they’re seeing.

From what’s being talked about, iOS 12 has a bunch of little features that fix annoying issues issues, add something extra, or make an existing feature better. Here are our favorites so far: Read more…

More about Apple, Wwdc, Ios 12, Wwdc 2018, and Tech

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Television content creation in China

Content creation has seen immense growth in recent years, with a shift in focus from mainstream content providers such as traditional television studious to internet-era startups either seeking to expand their portfolios or seeking to increase premium user memberships through exclusive content introduction.

In America, this scene has been predominately owned by Amazon, Netflix and Hulu, introducing critically acclaimed titles such as The Man in the High Castle, Orange Is the New Black and The Handmaid’s Tale, respectively, with many other industry giants scrambling to catch up (with Apple already signing a deal with Steven Spielberg to produce an Amazing Stories-reboot, Facebook spending as much as $1 billion on original content, Google announcing plans to potentially spend up to $3 million per drama episode and even Disney with their purported streaming service, among many others).

Similarly, in China’s growing television industry, a select few, namely Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, continue to dominate the marketplace in terms of original TV content production. However, the vast majority of Western consumers have never heard of these internet giants or their respective subsidiaries and series, although this is set to change very soon, particularly with Chinese content currently in the early stages of global distribution.

What distinguishes China from the rest of the Asian market?

There are a variety of unique factors that distinguish China from other marketplaces around the globe, as well as in Asia. These factors include but are not limited to things such as increasing use of mobile devices for media consumption, increasing numbers in television consumption and a booming film/television industry primed for explosive growth.

According to eMarketer, Chinese adults will spend nearly three hours a day using their mobile devices, representing 41.6 percent of their total daily media time, with this same population spending nearly 40 percent of their daily media time specifically watching television. This heavy emphasis on mobile device usage, combined with an expected jump in digital video time in the next several years, creates a perfect environment ripe for increased video consumption by China’s growing population.

Furthermore, the Chinese television industry has experienced unprecedented amounts of growth in recent years. In fact, the Chinese television sector represents 88 percent of the combined film and television industry’s economic contribution to China, being valued at more than $35 billion dollars. Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) usage in China is also rapidly increasing, exceeding 100 million users in 2017, further fueling growth in television content creation. Other indicators of Chinese TV industry growth include the December 2017 formation of the Chinese TV Drama Export Alliance, a conglomeration of Chinese entertainment studios aimed at growing the presence of the Chinese TV productions worldwide, as well as increasing Chinese-language content being acquired by popular internet video-streaming companies such as Netflix.

The Chinese TV content producing behemoths

Chinese internet conglomerate Baidu is one of the primary drivers of growth in terms of Chinese television content, particularly with its iQiyi video-steaming platform. Gaining enough traffic for a U.S.-based IPO raising more than $2.25 billion, iQiyi is one of China’s largest and most popular video-streaming platforms, with more than 421 million monthly users and more than 126 million daily users. This high usage has allowed iQiyi to develop extremely popular original television content.

iQiyi has already developed TV hits such as Rap of China, Street Dance of China and Hot Blood Dance Crew, three extremely popular reality series watched by millions of Chinese amidst a government ban on hip-hop culture and tattoos on television. In fact, Western audiences may now begin to see these shows soon, particularly given a recently announced partnership between Rap of China and American hip-hop trio Migos.

Original content programming has also extended to scripted series, with detective dramas such as Burning Ice and Tientsin Mystic being renewed for second seasons while simultaneously being picked up by Netflix for American distribution just this year. Other extremely popular shows produced by iQiyi include The Lost Tomb, Evil Minds and Unforgiven, among countless others, with each of these shows being watched by millions of Chinese viewers. (Note: The Lost Tomb and Evil Minds have since been censored by the Chinese government.)

The growth of original content, particularly in China, has huge potential for other technologies such as virtual reality machines and artificial intelligence.

Alibaba is another powerhouse driving growth within the Chinese TV content industry, with its Youku video-streaming service. Youku currently boasts more than 500 million unique users, along with a powerful distribution network that includes Youku-branded hardware such as tablets, routers and IPTV boxes. Youku’s heavy daily presence in Chinese consumers’ lives allows for Youku-produced original content to have a wide audience across China for distribution.

One of Youku’s most popular series, Day and Night, partnered with Netflix for distribution in late 2017, with this partnership being the first Chinese-language series to be distributed globally. Other popular content includes historical dramas The Advisors Alliance and Oh My General, as well as fantasy drama Rakshasa Street, based off of a popular comic. Youku’s immense popularity in both short video clips, as well as in original content, make it a leader in producing original Chinese television content.

Internet giant Tencent is a third organization driving television growth in terms of creating original content in China. With Tencent fame originating from the ever-popular WeChat platform, Tencent Video currently claims an average of more than 137 million daily active users, making Tencent-produced content important as this original content arms race develops.

Popular shows produced by Tencent Video include action-adventure drama Candle in the Tomb, with a record 200 million views in one day and billions of views since, as well as historical romance Rule the World, based off an already extremely popular book of the same name. Tencent Video has even played a role in producing popular variety shows such as The Tomorrow Children. Television series slated for Tencent Video production in the immediate future include TV-adaptations of novels The Tibet Code, Mystery of the Antiques and manga Prince of Tennis. Tencent has committed to investing in further original content production, growing its portfolio of television content in the years to come.

However, the Chinese market does not solely consist of productions by iQiyi, Youku and Tencent Video. Popular content provider Sohu TV has also forayed into the original content sphere, producing popular drama Indelible Designation and detective series Medical Examiner Dr. Qin, as well as attempting to develop a Chinese version in a Saturday Night Live-style format.

Mango TV, another popular Chinese video platform, has also self-produced a variety of shows, including comedy Fashion Rivers and drama Gold Matchmaker, as well as an interactive Big Brother-styled show called Perfect Holiday. These two content providers, Sohu and Mango, and their respective offerings are simply additional examples of how original television content growth is playing a huge role in enhancing digital China.

Elsewhere in Asia…

However, China is not the only country that has invested significantly in original television content infrastructure (although it certainly is the largest). Other Asian countries have also taken a mobile-first approach to internet access, and, thus, also have rising rates of television viewership by mobile device.

In Thailand, LINE app’s LINE TV has dominated the mobile television landscape, launching a video-streaming service with original content development plans already underway. In addition, LINE TV has already secured partnerships with local television production studios and channels, marking a shift from its roots as a streaming service akin to YouTube to one more similar to Netflix and Hulu.

In Indonesia, even transportation giant Go-Jek is entering the content creation landscape, announcing a content creation production company called Go-Studios to support their content subscription model named Go-Play. In fact, Go-Jek even announced a partnership with VICE Media to produce original content, in light of a successful collaboration set for debut in 2019, entitled When We Dance by Joko Anwar.

Implications of original content growth for startups

The growth of original content, particularly in China, has huge potential for other technologies such as virtual reality machines and artificial intelligence. With Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent making known investments in these specific industries, it would not be a far reach to see both hardware and software integration within a television program for individual home consumption. Such examples might include a virtual reality headset to view a character’s perspective in a television series, or an artificial intelligence automatically suggesting a specific Halloween clothing outfit based off of a consumer’s preference of television series.

These implications make the increase in Chinese original television content a milestone, emphasizing both the strength and reach of top Chinese internet conglomerates, as well as the growing Chinese television industry.


There is immense potential in the original TV content sphere, with this ecosystem growing increasingly large in parallel with the rate of television being watched on mobile devices in Asia. This has resulted in China’s top internet conglomerates being forced to not only pay attention, but participate in the original content creation sphere, releasing high-quality episodic content in order to attract more viewers.

The release of online-exclusive series and their expanding Chinese audiences have grown to astronomic proportions, with hundreds of television shows being released yearly, with billions of views to match. Only time will tell if these Chinese dramas will achieve the same levels of popularity they enjoy at home, but for now, original Chinese television content is here to stay, and represents huge monetization potential for Chinese companies on a global scale.

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Apple adds camera effects like stickers, filters, and Memoji to messages

Apple is invading Snapchat’s territory with new effects that let you embellish what you shoot through the Messages camera. Today at WWDC, Apple announced that iOS 12’s Messages camera will offer a variety of sticker packs, style transfers like a “comic book” filter, drawn shapes, and both Animoji and the new personalized avatar Memoji.

These effects will also be available in FaceTime, which now supports group video conversations with up to 32 people. That could spell trouble for dedicated group video chat apps like Houseparty and Facebook’s Bonfire, as well as bigger apps that offer it like Snapchat.

These effects could make people who want more visual communication choose Apple’s native messaging app rather than third parties like Snapchat, Instagram Direct, or Facebook Messenger. The new features will be available in iOS 12 that launches today.

Stickers were previously only available in message threads where they’d appear on a white background. But now you can overlay them on photos, videos, and FaceTime. That opens opportunities for new fashion stickers that let you add sunglasses, hats, mustaches, clothes, and more that only make sense when stuck to your selfie.

Apple is starting far behind here. Snapchat’s been adding creative features since 2013, and Instagram joined in with its clone of Stories in 2016, followed by Facebook in 2017. They’re all now equipped with GIFs, color filters, augmented reality, and more. Animoji and Memoji are the Messages camera’s biggest differentiators, so Apple may need to aggressively promote the ability to overlay these on imagery if it wants to steal attention from Snap and Facebook.

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Nike debuts its most ambitious SNKRS stash drop for the Championship Tour featuring Kendrick Lamar and SZA

On a mild Thursday night at the Los Angeles Forum, Nike’s public relations team and a group of journalists from some of the country’s leading lifestyle, tech, and general interest websites gathered to see the debut of Nike’s most ambitious SNKRS stash drop.

Launched in conjunction with Kendrick Lamar’s Top Dawg Entertainment, the collaboration between Nike and Lamar marks a series of firsts for the world’s largest sports and lifestyle brand.

The combined effort is the first capsule collection that Nike has done with a musician. It’s also the first time that anyone currently working at the company can remember the apparel company signing on with a musician for select tour merchandise, and the debut of the stash drop through the SNKRS app was the largest the company’s tech had tried to tackle.

For concertgoers, rolling up to the concert in Supreme sweats, Yeezys, Adidas, Pumas… and, of course, Nikes, the SNKRS stash drop would be a surprise. For folks who had downloaded Nike’s SNKRS app, they’d be able to buy and reserve a pair of Kendrick Lamar’s limited edition Cortez Kenny IIIs at the concert.

At least on the first night, things didn’t go as planned.

Working with live events like concerts, where timing is less regimented than at a typical sporting event (which are marked by tip offs and halftimes that adhere to a pretty regimented schedule), proved too much for the initial rollout of the company’s stash drop.

Select NikePlus members received an initial push notification of the Stash drop and a card in the SNKRS feed also advertised the special stash drop, in addition to a notification that flashed onscreen between the (amazing)  SchoolboyQ set and SZA’s (equally amazing) performance.

There will be other chances to get the timing down, but for the first concert in Los Angeles, concertgoers were prompted to launch the SNKRS app and try and snag a pair of the limited edition shoes well before the activation actually went live.

Once the shoes did go on sale, the user interface for finding and reserving the shoes didn’t work for everyone there — in fact, only one reporter from the group was able to reserve a pair of the shoes (since that reporter hadn’t saved payment information onto the SNKRS app, those shoes were released).

“I can’t get the app to do what I need,” said one concertgoer trying to snag a pair of shoes.

The team at Nike said the concert’s late start caused the miscue. Roughly 30 minutes after the sneakers were supposed to onsale, the activation went live — something journalists were only made aware of when notified by Nike’s public relations team.

Once the sale did go live, the shoes sold out within the first five minutes, although it’s unclear how many were made available through the stash drop (Nike declined to provide a number).

Nike’s repeating the stash drop for shows in Houston, New York, Boston and Chicago.

The SNKRS app is only one example of Nike’s innovative approach to integrating technology and fashion. In April, Nike launched the first sneaker that’s integrated with its NikeConnect technology.

Unveiled earlier this year through a collaboration with the NBA, the NikeConnect app allows users to access information on players and stats through a label enabled with near field communications chips.

Nike’s Air Force Ones enabled with the NikeConnect tech will open a special limited release sneaker sale opportunity called “The Choice”, but Nike has higher hopes for the technology.

“We would love to be able to award sweat equity with access to exclusive products or a partnership,” said a spokesperson for the company in an interview last year.

“NikeConnect [is] a great way for us to get interesting data about our members and deliver unlocks that are relevant to those members,” the spokesperson said.

Beyond the unlocks for exclusive sneaker offers, Nike is thinking about ways to include all of its technology partners in ways that benefit NikeConnect, NikePlus, and SNKRS users.

“We’re excited to learn how unlocks are being received right now,” said the spokesperson. “There is a pretty comprehensive ecosystem of value that we’ve been building for our members… Members who are really active with us are getting rewards or achievements [and] that could include partners like Apple… that we’ll be bringing to the table to round out your whole holistic sport experience.”



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