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Today Apple announced through invites to the press that it will host a special event on December 2nd at 4pm Eastern in New York City. Headed by the tagline “Loved by millions. Created by the best.” the event is set to honour the company’s favourite apps and games of 2019.

While Apple has honoured developers in the past with its annual App Store end of year editorial, this year will see the first Apple event dedicated to highlighting the many talented third-party developers who make our lives richer through their own curiosity and creativity.

It’s unknown at this point whether Apple will live stream the award ceremony as Apple’s events page is yet to reflect todays announcement.

 
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I love my surround sound and after ten years my cinema surround system continues to make up part of my premiere movie viewing experience. When I finish working for the day, I sit back on the sofa with a cup of tea and ask Siri to play something from my movie library or queue up one of the copious amounts of new episodic originals. It’s time to relax and immerse myself in story.

Here’s the thing: whilst I love the satisfying thuds and thunder from my system connected to the Apple TV, for my co-habitants and neighbours during the twilight hours its often to much; even when reducing loud sounds. So late night, I often revert to a discreet viewing experience through my AirPods. It’s a great feature let down by the limitation of only being able to pair one set of Bluetooth headphones at a time.

The lack of audio-sharing on Apple TV is disappointing; a feature shipped with iOS 13.1 that allows users to share the audio they are listening to with a friend by connecting two pairs of compatible Bluetooth headphones to a single supported Apple device. It’s a feature many have been crying out for on Apple TV but it’s an omission that Twelve South have inadvertently solved with their AirFly Pro and AirFly Duo accessories provided your TV has a headphone jack or is connected to a sound system that does.

 
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Today, Disney launched whats undoubtedly going to be one of the worlds largest digital video streaming services: Disney+.

Over the years, Disney has amassed quite the back catalogue of content, from Disney animated and feature favourites to Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and National Geographic, and it’s all ready and waiting to be watched. Joining titles previously locked inside Disney’s vault are a slew of Disney+ originals including Star Wars franchise ‘The Mandalorian’ which is sure to be on many weekly watch-lists as the streaming wars begin to take shape.

Apple users can subscribe to the new service by downloading the Disney+ app on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Apple TV. You can sign up and subscribe directly inside the app for $6.99/month or $69.99/year following a 7 day free trial. Disney are also offering an option for customers in the United States to bundle Disney+ with ESPN+ and the ad supported version of Hulu for $12.99/month through disneyplus.com.

It should be noted that signing up directly inside the app will allow you to easily manage your subscription through Apple under account settings, whereas if you created an account on Disney’s website you will be locked to traditional billing, making things a little less convenient.

The overall Disney+ app experience breathes familiarity for Apple TV users whilst meeting and sometimes exceeding expectations set by its competitors. Disney+ on Apple TV offers an easy way to log in via iOS or iPad devices already setup on the same Wi-Fi network. In addition to the standard login option, a pop-up will ask if you would like to login on the requested device, negating the need for authentication codes or account credentials.

Like the majority of modern day video streaming apps, the Disney+ app integrates with Apple’s TV app allowing you to track your watch history and add content to your Up Next queue; with shows adding new episodes as they release to the Watch Now tab. This universal experience allows purchased video and Apple Channel content to be displayed together, offering a one stop shop for the majority of your viewing needs.

Despite Disney and Apple’s long collaborative history, Disney+ isn’t available as an Apple TV Channel, meaning that whilst it’s possible to sign-up to the service and manage your subscription through Apple, you will need to have the Disney+ app installed on your devices in order to view your subscription content. When you select a show in your Up Next queue you will be bumped out to the Disney+ app, offering a second-class experience to the likes of HBO and ShowTime. Despite these shortcomings, subscribers to Disney+ can create up to 7 user profiles per account and enable up to 4 simultaneous streams, with offline downloads available on iOS and iPad devices; including a handy device storage indicator within the apps settings.

After spending a morning trawling through the humongous catalogue of content and a number of hours watching the services early original offerings, it’s clear that Disney are continuing to aim high when it comes to family-friendly entertainment, both in terms of its production and its high-quality streaming distribution. Whilst I already own the majority of Disney content available through iTunes, there’s still plenty here to justify a subscription, with much much more to come.

With Disney 4K, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos finally available on Apple TV outside the USA, the hope is that Disney will now treat previous iTunes purchases to the same stellar presentation as part of Apple’s 4K upgrade program. Here’s hoping for an early Christmas present.

 
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Following numerous teases, Apple have released the full trailer for its psychological thriller ‘Servant‘ – with all ten episodes available to binge via Apple TV+ on November 28th.

The show starring Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kabbell, Rupert Grint and Nell Tiger Free is still shrouded in mystery other than the company’s brief description:

Servant follows a Philadelphia couple in mourning after an unspeakable tragedy creates a rift in their marriage and opens the door for a mysterious force to enter their home.

Created by Tony Basgallop and co-produced with M. Night Shyamalan – the Apple Original takes place entirely within the couples Philadelphia home as they best explore how to handle their grief.

Speaking at New York Comic Con last month, M. Night Shyamalan – who directed two episodes and edited the full show at his home – told those in attendance:

 
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Apple have released the debut trailer for Minhal Baig’s coming of age drama ‘Hala‘ – available to stream on December 6th through Apple TV+.

The company gave a brief description of the feature film  follows:

Seventeen-year-old Pakistani American teenager Hala (Geraldine Viswanathan) struggles to balance desire with her familial, cultural and religious obligations. As she comes into her own, she grapples with a secret that threatens to unravel her family.

The project has been on quite the journey since its early life as a Kickstarter campaign in 2015. Originally a 14 minute short film, ‘Hala’ was the result of fun, fearless, DIY filmmaking.

Minhal Baig sat down with Nylon in 2016 to talk about the once-short film’s semi-autobiographical tone:

 
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Apple have published the first trailer for its original feature film ‘The Banker’ ahead of its December 6th theatrical release.

The drama starring Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult and Nia Long is based on a true story from the 1960’s, in which Bernard Garrett (Mackie) and Joe Morris (Jackson) devise a plan to help African Americans access bank loans at a time when it was near impossible. They soon hire a white man (Hoult) to front their operation, whilst secretly running the business posing as a janitor and a chauffeur.

Talking to the audience at Deadline’s The Contenders Los Angeles event on Saturday, ‘The Banker’ director George-Nolfi said:

“Apple, I think, just believed in the story…They came in early and hard, and who doesn’t want to have Apple release their first big film? That’s exciting.”

‘The Banker’ –  streaming on Apple TV+ in January – is the third Apple original feature set for a theatrical release following ‘The Elephant Queen‘ in October and ‘Hala‘ on November 22nd. A theatrical run is integral to any awards push and Apple continued its campaign for the company’s originals earlier today by publishing a ‘For your consideration’ web-page to critics.

Attendees of FCPX Creative Summit in Cupertino will be treated to an exclusive screening of ‘The Banker’ on Nov 7th, presented by assistant editor Steven Moyer.