Apple CEO Tim Cook blames social media and technology ‘overuse’ after iPhone addiction criticisms

Speaking in the United Kingdom today regarding Apple’s Everyone Can Code curriculum, Apple CEO Tim Cook briefly addressed the topic of iPhone addiction, seemingly casting blame on social media, and the “overuse” of technology.

“I don’t have a kid,” said the 57-year-old Cook, “but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on. There are some things that I won’t allow; I don’t want them on a social network.”

A debate has raged over whether smartphones, social media, or a combination of factors is leading children — and many adults — to stay glued to their devices, awaiting text and other communications. Earlier this month, shareholders called for Apple to address what they deemed childrens’ iPhone addiction, and in response, Apple rapidly pledged to enhance iOS’s parental controls.

According to The Guardian, Cook said that he does not “believe in overuse” of technology, noting that “I’m not a person that says we’ve achieved success if you’re using it all the time,” he said. “I don’t subscribe to that at all.”

He also explained that technology should not have a major role in academic subjects where it’s not needed. “In a course on literature, do I think you should use technology a lot? Probably not.”

The comments come ahead of the company’s Q1 2018 earnings on February 1, where Apple is expected to report record-breaking device sales numbers. Apple recently announced plans to inject billions of dollars into the U.S. economy, including product support and manufacturing efforts for the next five years.

Apple – VentureBeat

Apple’s Tim Cook talks education, says he wouldn’t want his nephew using social media

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As part of a European tour to promote Apple’s new university coding courses, the company’s potentate sat for a wide-ranging discussion during a stop at Harlow College in the U.K.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

3 reasons Apple joined the Alliance for Open Media

As first reported by CNET, Apple unexpectedly popped up on the Alliance for Open Media website today as a Founding Member. It would appear Apple has suddenly become serious about the Alliance’s effort to create AV1, an open, royalty-free alternative to the HEVC/H.265 video codec that’s currently all but necessary in order to send 4K video over the internet.

While “Founding Member” suggests Apple has been there since the Alliance formed in September 2015, the group only uses the term to denote “the highest level” of importance within its ranks; Facebook received the same title after joining in November 2017. In other words, Apple’s participation is probably quite recent.

But why would Apple care about supporting AV1 now, given that it only officially added H.265 support to Macs, iOS devices, and Apple TVs in September? Here are three likely possible explanations.

1. Apple wants AV1 for its own devices

If Apple wants to offer video downloads or streams, it can now encode all of its files in HEVC format and stream them to Apple products running its latest OSes, which were released in final form last September after betas. What use would it have for a competing format with similar compression efficiency?

Apple might be looking to support third-party developers who want to stream AV1 videos to Apple devices. While Apple probably wouldn’t need to join the Alliance to do so — particularly at its highest levels — it could be planning to give app makers some flexibility or to transition its devices away from the reportedly expensive HEVC/H.265 standard whenever that makes sense.

If that sounds crazy, note that Apple very briefly included H.265 support in the iPhone 6, specifically for making FaceTime calls to other iPhone 6 devices, only to quietly yank H.265 and replace it with H.264. It wasn’t clear at the time whether HEVC licensing or an ongoing lawsuit over FaceTime was to blame, but there’s precedent for Apple drifting in and out of support for video formats.

2. Apple needs AV1 to stream videos to non-Apple devices

This is a more interesting possibility. Since the rollouts of iOS 11, macOS 10.13, and tvOS 11, Apple can now guarantee that its HEVC video streams are playable on its own devices, but it can’t guarantee that they’re playable on non-Apple devices — not every manufacturer is willing to pay HEVC licensing fees or deal with the sort of messy licensing issues Microsoft encountered when adding HEVC to Windows 10. If Apple wanted its videos to enjoy the bandwidth-saving benefits of HEVC on non-HEVC devices, AV1 may be the only viable alternative.

As a competitor to H.265, AV1 is backed by everyone from Amazon to Google and Microsoft and includes work from Cisco’s Thor Project, Google’s VP9 and VP10 codecs, and Mozilla’s Daala. Chipmakers including ARM, Intel, and Nvidia are on board, as are Cisco, Facebook, and IBM. Due to that roster, it’s easy to imagine broad support for AV1 streaming across pretty much every platform with capable hardware when it hits the market.

Among the types of videos Apple distributes are downloads, which are already playable by iTunes — including iTunes on Windows. The other type? Streams. AV1 could enable Apple to stream videos to Android devices, which aren’t currently supported by iTunes but which do have access to Apple Music. If Apple’s going to launch a video subscription service, it’s likely going to want to reach Android users like it does with its music service. AV1 might be the smartest way to do so.

3. Apple doesn’t care (much) about AV1, but it wants to help steer AV2

This third explanation is not impossible, but it doesn’t seem likely. After over two years of development, AV1 is reportedly very close to being finished and is expected to be feature-complete this month. According to a report from, that would place products with hardware AV1 decoding in the market by mid-to-late 2019. Encoding of AV1 is also apparently brutally processor-intensive, even compared with HEVC and VP9.

If Apple is truly only becoming involved with AV1 at this very late stage, it most likely isn’t doing so to steer AV1 development — though some technical contributions are possible. It may be looking ahead to helping an eventual AV2, which could be needed sooner rather than later to enable 8K video, 60Hz 4K video, and other bandwidth-demanding solutions that are now in the very foreseeable future.

What’s most likely?

My own belief is that Apple could be getting involved with the Alliance for Open Media for all three reasons. An Apple-branded Netflix-style video subscription service appears to be highly likely given the company’s recent content development deals, and its extended delay in adopting H.265 appeared to reflect a genuine lack of interest in paying HEVC licensing fees.

Getting on board with an open video codec makes sense both for 2019 products that could use the standard and for future products that will use its successors.

Apple – VentureBeat

6 Perfect Gifts for Social Media Lovers

Have someone in your life that’s head-over-heels for social media? Then here are a few gifts that’ll wow ’em for sure!

You know the signs and symptoms of the social media-obsessed: Always on their phone, constantly checking their angles in their front-facing camera, cried when they saw the iPhone X’s Portrait Mode on the front-facing camera, always looking for good lighting, always eager to selfie, and most importantly, always ready to selfie.

While you may think it’s difficult to find a gift for a person like that, never fear, because I am a person like that.

So without further ado, here are the perfect gifts out there for the social media-#obsessed human being in your life!

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera

What’s more trendy than little, adorable Polaroid-like pictures of you and your pals at the trendiest sushi burrito place/gourmet ice cream parlour/craft beer maker? Adorable, little Polaroid-like pictures of you and your friends shot on the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera.

This little instant camera is designed to automatically detect the ambient brightness to then adjust the amount of flash and shutter speed needed for the best-looking photo, meanwhile the double exposure mode means that 2 images are produces on one film sheet simply by pressing the shutter twice.

Instax doesn’t stop there, though: this polaroid-like camera also comes with bulb mode that keeps the shutter open for a longer, 10-second max period so you can photograph light trails, while macro mode allows you to shoot short distance photography at ranges as close as 30cm.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera comes in brown and black and resemble a film camera that would have been made in the 1960s. You can pick up this nifty little gift for around $ 128, while film will cost you anywhere from between $ 20+ for colorful, fun stuff, or a bit less for plain white prints.

See at Amazon

Neewer Ring Light + accessories

Every social media star knows that the most important thing in the world for a perfect selfie is perfect lighting, but depending on where you live or what time of day you’re selfie-ing, getting the ideal lighting is kiiiiiinda difficult.

Enter the Neewer Ring Light.

The Neewer Ring Light is a circular light that’s used to enhance and snap near-perfect portrait and product shots. If you’ve ever seen a music video where the people have a white ring around their pupil, then congratulations, you’ve seen a ring light!

With this ring light in particular, you not only get the light itself — which can be easily adjusted to be incredibly bright or give a soft glow to a picture — but also different-colored orange and bright white filters, which you can mix and combine to either warm up or cool down a picture, as well as a tripod stand that’ll keep your ring light adjusted, a shutter control, a mount for your iPhone, and a charger: pretty much everything you need for the ideal selfie station.

You can pick up the Neewer Ring Light and accessories in two different sizes: a 14-inch ring light for $ 130 or an 18-inch ring light for around $ 150.

See at Amazon


Have you ever Tweeted something so incredibly funny, brilliant, poignant, and profound that you thought, “Man, I should get that tattooed on my body?”

Well now you (kind of) can with temporary TwitterTats!

TwitterTats are temporary tattoos of tweets from celebrities, athletes, tech titans and more. Trade them with your friends, wear them to your next concert, or just rep your favorite celebrities. TwitterTats make for great gifts for friends needing some inspiration, or who are just mega-fans. (TwitterTats)

If you want, you can either pick up a pack o’ Tweets like The Donald Trump pack or The Conor McGregor Pack for $ 10, or you can create your own 10-12 tattoos for $ 25!

The tattoos will last around 2-3 days and are around 3 inches by 1 inch in size.

See at TwitterTats

Prynt Pocket Instant Photo Printer

Prynt the pain away and gather up them likes n’ followers with the Prynt Pocket Instant Photo Printer!

This $ 150 gizmo is not only an incredibly well-designed product, but it also makes you the center of attention at every single party and on every single Instagram and Twitter post because people are like “WOAH HOW DID YOU DO THAT?!”

Prynt Pocket is a standalone version of the Prynt case. You can mount your iPhone into the phone mount, and any Lightning port phone will fit. Then, snap a picture or grab one from your photo library or social media feed, print, and you’re good. Just like the Prynt case, this pocket printer supports video-to-picture printing, so you can use augmented reality to see your picture come to life by looking at it through your camera’s viewfinder. It’s like real-life Harry Potter moving photographs! (Lory Gil)

One other super cool thing about the Prynt Pocket Instant Photo Printer is its paper: this mobile printer uses zero ink, which means all the pigment is directly on the photo paper, so you won’t have to worry about changing and wasting money on useless cartridges (and compared to other instant-printers, the Prynt’s paper is incredibly reasonable at 40 images for $ 20).

You can pick up the Prynt Pocket Instant Photo Printer for the social media guru in your life in white, black, (and my favorite colors) mint green and lavender.

See at Amazon

LuMee Duo iPhone Case

Remember what I said about lighting before? Well if the ring light is your at-home lighting source of selfie goodness, then the LuMee Duo iPhone Case is your mobile #masterpiece maker!

The LuMee Duo iPhone Case is a super simple concept for a case that combines two bright, flicker-free LED strips of lighting on both the front and the back of the device.

With just the press of a button (located on the back of the LuMee), the case lights up and provides you with impeccable lighting, so no matter where you are you can always take the perfect shot, whether it be a selfie, a mirror selfie, or a group shot of you and your BFFs!

An added bonus to the LuMee Duo iPhone Case? It’s actually a really protective case, so if you’re buying for someone who’s clumsy and is prone to dropping and breaking your iPhone, then this case might be a perfect 2-in-1 duo of beauty and grace.

You can pick up the LuMee Duo iPhone Case in pink, black marble, black, red, gold, pink marble, burgundy, rose gold, white, and white marble for around $ 60.

See at Amazon

SimpLenz 7-in-1 Clip on Cell Phone Camera Lens Kit

Lens up your social media influencer’s feed with the SimpLenz 7 in 1 Clip on Cell Phone Camera Lens Kit and say bye-bye to boring food shots, selfies, and pictures of fuzzy white rugs covered in things you don’t care about!

The SimpLenz 7-in-1 Clip on Cell Phone Camera Lens Kit gives you the full ability to turn your iPhone into a funky, like-gathering creative camera. All you need to do is attach one of their seven lens options, aim, shoot, edit, upload, and sit back and wait for them followers.

With this particular lens kit, you get:

  • Telephoto lens
  • Fisheye lens
  • Wide Angle lens
  • Circular Polarized lens
  • Macro lens
  • Kaleidoscope lens
  • Super Wide Angle lens

On top of all the lens variety, the SimpLenz 7-in-1 Clip on Cell Phone Camera Lens Kit comes with a travel bag to keep all of your lenses safe and organized, and an anti-scratch microfiber cleaning cloth to keep your lenses in tip-top condition.

You can pick up this lens kit for $ 25, giving you a lot of #bangforyourbuck.

See at Amazon

How do you #shop?

Have you ever bought something for your little social media #influencer before and gotten crazy likes/love?

Let me know what your top gift picks are for the social media starlette in your life in the comments down below!

iMore – Learn more. Be more.

Marriott says it chose to stop posting on social media after China ban

Marriott International’s social media accounts across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have been dark since China accused the company of breaking a cybersecurity law and advertisement law on January 11th. The accounts have resumed posting within the past few hours, one week after they stopped.

The Shanghai government had shut down Marriott’s Chinese website and mobile app for a week as punishment for a Mandarin-language survey sent to customers that listed Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau as separate countries, as reported by Reuters. There was backlash from the Chinese public as well. Marriott’s Instagram posts from a week ago are littered with comments like “get out of China” and “remember!people’s republic of china!only…

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