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08.04.16 | 12:11 pm

Jaunt wants to be the people’s VR platform

As the proliferation of cameras has made it easy for a whole lot of people to shoot 360-degree video, there are more people than ever creating the kind of  content that can be viewed on virtual reality headsets like Samsung's Gear VR, Google's Cardboard, the Oculus Rift, and so on.

Jaunt VR, which last year got a $65 million round of funding led by Disney, has become one of the leading publishers of professionally produced virtual reality content, and it makes its videos available on iOS, Android, Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, and desktop 360. 

Now, Jaunt is inviting anyone shooting 360 video to submit their work through the Jaunt Publishing program, essentially a YouTube for VR. One difference from YouTube, though, is that Jaunt will still curate what it publishes. But when it accepts someone's video, they get access to "Jaunt Cloud Services (JCS), its robust cloud-based VR production software suite, and the publishing tools within including transcoding, 'deep-links,' support for premium spatial audio formats like Dolby Atmos, and processing and preparation for distribution on all VR platforms," the company said in a release.

Because Jaunt is ubiquitous across all 360-video and VR platforms, this program could open a lot of doors to creators of quality content who might otherwise have had a hard time getting their work noticed. Here's hoping that's exactly what happens.

10.25.16 | 11 minutes ago

Apple beats iPhone sales expectations, but total revenues down from last year

For the September-ending quarter:

• Earnings of $9 billion on $46.9 billion in revenue, down from $11.1 billion in earnings on $51.5 billion in revenues in the same quarter last year. Last quarter, Apple earned $7.8 billion on $42.4 billion in revenues. 

• Apple beat analyst estimates for unit sales of iPhone, selling 45.5 million devices in the quarter. But that's down from the 48 million it sold last year. Morgan Stanley analysts thought Apple would ship 44 million iPhones in the quarter.*

•Apple also sold sold 9.3 million iPads (down from 9.8 million last year), 4.9 million Macs (up from 4.7 million last year). Services revenue was $6.3 billion.

•Gross margin was 38 percent compared to 39.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 62 percent of the quarter's revenue.

*Since the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were available for only two weeks of the quarter, we still don't have a clear picture of the device's impact. We'll be listening for Tim Cook's guidance on that during the earnings call today. Stay tuned.

10.25.16 | 41 minutes ago

11 million packages were stolen off American doorsteps in last year

If it hasn't happened to you, you almost certainly know someone who has had a package stolen off their doorstep. And because the problem is so pervasive, 69% of people say they'd like to have an app that would make it possible, no matter where they are, to give delivery services like UPS and FedEx to access to their homes and drop all those Amazon boxes off inside.

That's the conclusion of a study by the smart-lock maker August that looked at how many packages people receive every year, and their opinions about how to actually get their hands on them before thieves do.

10.25.16 | an hour ago

Apple leaks pictures of new MacBook Pro with OLED touch bar and fingerprint reader

Apple released a new version of macOS (Sierra 10.12.1) that included a nice surprise for Apple watchers—some images of Apple Pay in action on a brand new MacBook Pro complete with the rumored touchscreen panel above the keyboard and TouchID at the right side of the panel. The new computer will very likely be announced at a press event this Thursday, October 27, and may come in 13- and 15-inch sizes.

10.25.16 | an hour ago

Twitter takes on ESPN with two weekly NBA talking-heads shows

The NBA is kicking off its regular season this week, and the league seems intent on giving hoopheads as much basketball content as possible. In addition to live games in VR and new mobile views of games, it's also debuting two new talking-head shows, in conjunction with Turner Sports, exclusively on Twitter.

The Starters Twitter Show, "featuring NBA TV's social-savvy, popular collection of fan-focused voices with a unique take on the game," will stream Tuesdays, and The Warmup, a pre-game show that incorporates Twitter into the discussion, will stream Thursdays.

10.25.16 | 2 hours ago

Now you can pay to watch all your favorite NBA team’s road games.

Let's say you love the Golden State Warriors but you're not interested in watching other teams' games. (And why would you be?) That means you probably won't pony up for NBA League Pass, which for $199, gives you access to all NBA games across numerous devices.

Instead, for $119, Dish subscribers can now get NBA Team Pass, which will let you watch all your favorite team's road games on the device of your choice. And then you can skip all those other games that you don't care about.

10.25.16 | 3 hours ago

Here are the top 10 baseball-friendly cities according to WalletHub

Game 1 of the World Series starts tonight between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. In honor of the big game, the personal-financeers at WalletHub crunched some numbers to determine the best U.S. cities to live in for baseball fans. The company compared 361 of the largest cities (each with at least one professional or college baseball team) and looked at a bunch of indicators including ticket prices and stadium accessibility. New York City, no surprise, came out on top. On the bottom? Jersey City, New Jersey. 

We have the top 10 below. For the full list, click here.

10.25.16 | 3 hours ago

AT&T says buying Time Warner will let it lower prices

The very newsiest session here at the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D Live conference is surely the one featuring AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes talking about the phone company's planned $85 billion acquisition of the media giant

Some highlights of the interview, conducted by the Journal's Rebecca Blumenstein:

• Stephenson said that owning Time Warner will let AT&T drive down costs for consumers—such as the upcoming DirecTV Now, a $35/month streaming service—because it's a vertical merger rather than a horizontal one with another wireless company.

• He also said that the deal isn't anti-competitive because "when we wake up after this deal is approved, the wireless market will look exactly the same as it does today, and the media market will look exactly the same as it does today."

• AT&T wants to use Time Warner to do things that media companies have tried to avoid, such as breaking up channel bundles into a la carte offerings: "We're going to try to touch these third rails."

• The two companies have a "Magna Carta" that states that Time Warner will sell content to others, and AT&T will distribute others' content.


• Bewkes said that the market could use an advertising player that's big enough to compete with Google and Facebook: "We all need more competition in advertising—there's a growing concentration in a duology."

• He also praised AT&T's ability to let Time Warner content reach large numbers of consumers without a middleman: "AT&T offers that huge scale of a direct selling platform. Direct consumer relationships.

• Stephenson said that so much has changed since Comcast acquired NBCUniversal that some of the concerns about concentrating so much power in one communications/media company no longer apply: "Netflix is probably going to be OK."

10.25.16 | 12:16 pm

Lyft’s founder says that transportation will be like Spotify

Here at the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D Live conference, Lyft cofounder and president John Zimmer said that the company is on pace to do 17 million rides in October, a record. Interviewer Rolfe Winkler pointed out that the fact Lyft is subsidizing growth with copious discount offers is probably helping. Zimmer said that's true—and that the whole idea is to grow market share vs. Uber as quickly as possible, in order to get ready for the era when car ownership gives way to subscribing to a ride-on-demand service.

Zimmer added that in major U.S. cities, Lyft's network of drivers is now broad enough that it can get a car to a passenger in three minutes or less, a crucial stat he compares to the wireless industry's need to provide at least three bars of coverage.

10.25.16 | 11:40 am

Facebook accused of censoring Palestinian activists after meeting with Israeli officials

An activist collective called Palestinian Information Centre (PIC) is accusing Facebook of suspending or disabling the accounts of a number of its administrators, the Independent reported today. The affected pages, some of which the group claims were permanently suspended, had a combined 2 million followers. PIC claims the suspensions came after Facebook met with Israeli officials about curbing posts that incite violence. Facebook told the Independent that it was looking into PIC's claims. Read more here

10.25.16 | 11:30 am

Hey, Amazon’s Fire Phone was a success

Here at the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D Live conference, Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services, emphasized Amazon's willingness to gamble by saying that it's always looking for its next great failure. The Journal's Jason Anders asked him to name one such failure, and he brought up one that most people think of as a doozy: the Fire Phone.

But then Jassy said that creating the phone was not only a worthwhile experiment but a good experience overall, because Amazon focuses more on inputs—things it can control—than the output of financial success, which is never a given. And with the Fire Phone, he said, the company built the device it set out to build.   

 "The people who worked on that did a terrific job," he added. "And they've been rewarded in the company."

10.25.16 | 10:51 am

President Obama gets more “Mean Tweet” abuse from Jimmy Kimmel

…including one from the biggest political troll of our time. 

See the video over on Co.Create

10.25.16 | 10:34 am

Apple Pay launch in Japan stumbles at the start line

Apple Pay's Japan debut has train riders in the region flummoxed. On Tuesday, Apple rolled out its support for a tap-to-pay technology called FeliCa, which is allowing train riders in Japan to buy tickets with their phone. However, riders reported having difficulty connecting to the railway's contactless payment system, according to Bloomberg. Service appears to be restored now, the report says.

Connecting mobile payments to transportation is one of Apple's big initiatives for getting consumers to adopt the mobile payment method. By making Apple Pay available for recurring purchases like rail tickets and gas, it will be able to convert more people away from plastic cards.