Trending December 2023 # Apple Tv+ Is Now Available # Suggested January 2024 # Top 13 Popular

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Earlier this year, Apple officially unveiled one of its biggest new endeavors: a video streaming service filled with original content called Apple TV+. And now it’s available to the masses.

First things first: Apple TV+ isn’t just for folks who own Apple products. We’ll get into a bit more later, but, similar to Apple Music, Apple TV+ is available beyond the walled garden of Apple-branded products. That means even more people will be able to enjoy the content available on the streaming service, which, at launch, is just a a handful of TV series.

But more is on the way, including original films, documentaries, and more.

The basics look like this: Apple TV+ is $4.99 per month. Apple is offering a 7-day free trial for folks who want to give the content available on the service a try before they fork over their cash. In addition to that, Apple is also giving 12 months of free service of Apple TV+ if you buy a new or refurbished Apple product that can stream Apple TV+ (so not AirPods or an Apple Watch, unfortunately). That deal is available as of September 10.

As mentioned above, Apple TV+ is available beyond Apple’s own devices, too. Smart TV manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and Visio have already released software updates for their TVs that adds that Apple TV app to the digital lineup. With that app owners of those smart TVs will be able to access a variety of features, including Apple TV Channels, but, more than anything else, they can also watch Apple TV+ original content.

Amazon and Roku also support the Apple TV app and Apple TV+.

With Apple TV+ now available, we’ve got a brief breakdown of what’s available right out of the gate just below. And, after that, a look at what’s coming soon (or further down the pipe).

So, let’s dig in and take a look at what you can watch on Apple TV+ on day one!

Available at launch

The Morning Show: This series “pulls back the curtain on early morning TV”. It stars Reese Witherspoon (Big Little Lies), Jennifer Aniston (Friends), and Steve Carnell (The Office) in an “unapologetically candid drama” that aims to focus on the modern day workplace all through the “lens of the people who help America wake up”.

See: This is a post-apocalyptic series where a virus has “decimated humankind”, and the remaining survivors are all blind. Centuries later a pair of f twins are born with the ability to see, and their father, series star Jason Momoa (Aquaman) must battle those who would try to take his children.

Dickinson: This comedy series stars Hailee Steinfeld (Bumblebee) as the poet Emily Dickinson. This is a coming-of-age story of a young woman who wants to be the world’s greatest poet, but she must contend with her time’s traditions.

For All Mankind: This sci-fi drama imagines a time when the global space race never ended. It shines a spotlight on NASA astronauts, engineers, and their families as they navigate the personal dramas of life on the ground and in the stars. It features a laundry list of actors, including Joel Kinnaman (The Killing).

The Elephant Queen: This is a documentary about an elephant herd that must navigate the unforgiving African landscape. It’s a story about courage, coming home, and family. It is narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange).

Ghostwriter: A ghost starts haunting a neighborhood bookstore and it’s up to four kids to find out why fictional characters are popping up in their small town. The kids will team up to figure out the ghosts’ unfinished business on earth, and unfurl an exciting mystery along the way. Another one of Apple TV+’s programs for kids.

Snoopy in Space: Tag along with Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang as Snoopy tries to become an astronaut. Snoopy will eventually take command of the International Space Station and travel to the Moon and beyond.

Oprah’s Book Club: Oprah sits down with authors from a range of genres to talk about their work, process, and much more. It will coexist with the brand new Oprah’s Book Club in Apple Books as well.

What’s coming soon

Hala: Geraldine Viswanathan plays Hala, a 17-year-old who struggles to balance being a suburban teenager with her traditional Muslim upbringing. The original film will see Hala “grappling with a secret that threatens to unravel her family”. This is still listed as “coming soon” without an exact date.

Servant: From M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense), this is a psychological thriller that sees a couple from Philadelphia pulled apart by an unspeakable tragedy. That tragedy also allows a “mysterious force” to enter their home. This series will be available on November 28.

Truth Be Told: Starring Octavia Spencer (Ma) and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), this is a drama that sees podcaster Poppy Parnell (Spencer) reopening a case that initially made her famous. Parnell must try to discover if she put the wrong man behind bars.

There is much more coming down the pipe. That includes a recreation of Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” series. There is also the follow-up to Band of Brothes and The Pacific on the way entitled Masters of the Air. We can also expect to see the Amazing Stories reboot from Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park), and an adaptation of “The Sky is Everywhere” from author Jandy Nelson.

Ted Lasso will see Jason Sudeikis (Colossal) reprising his role for the comedy series, and we’ve got Clive Owen (Children of Men) and Julianne Moore (Children of Men) joining forces for the upcoming Stephen King adaptation of “Lisey’s Story”. And beyond that, legendary director Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Gravity) has signed on for a multi-year deal with Apple TV+, which will see a variety of series come to the streaming platform in the future.

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The Pokemon Go Christmas Event Update Is Available Now

The Pokemon GO Christmas event update is available now

This week amid rumors of a Christmas event OR New Years Eve week event – or both – Pokemon GO has been updated. This update isn’t exactly what we’ve been crossing our fingers for, mind you – but it’s always nice to see something new. This update has more going on behind the scenes than it does up front – up front, and perhaps most importantly, Niantic has fixed the buzzing bug.

Vibration feedback has been buzzing smartphones for over a week in Pokemon GO. Not when Pokemon have popped up within range, as it’s supposed to, but for reasons unknown. It would appear that Niantic has fixed the problem for now – even though we’re still pretty sure these are the phantom heralds of Pokemon Gen 2 monsters.

This update is also bringing on a collection of code not yet activated. One of these bits in the code – but not yet live – is a set of holiday presents. Christmas Presents, one might also wish to call them. In the code they go by the name “Holiday Items” – in direct relation to the Shop. What does it all mean?

The boxes appear in the latest update to the game in the game’s APK files. These files show six different tiers of gift – all of which are appearing with the same basic size ratio. Tiers start at a sort of Bronze color, move on to silver, gold, Special, Great, and Ultra.

What will these boxes contain – that’s the big question here. And what will Niantic reveal in the next couple of days? They’ll have to start announcing something real quick if they’re going to make something public before a holiday event begins. Unless our previously stated information (from our anonymous source, linked to the right) remains true.

BEHOLD: Our Pokemon GO holiday pre-event divinations

The first announcement timing has passed. One of two options for Niantic this holiday season was to announce a Christmas event on Monday (the 19th of December) and run it starting Wednesday. If Niantic is indeed moving on to their second option, the next announcement will come either Wednesday or Thursday.

The next Pokemon GO event would then begin on the 25th of December and run through the rest of the week – counting down the days until the new year! This would allow one special Holiday Present to appear each day for each player. Here’s crossing fingers that they’ll have a new Pokemon hidden within their wrappings!

UPDATE: Each gift will bring something fabulous (like a free egg Incubator) in the store, once per day for several days in a row. Togepi and Pichu will be amongst the (newest) Pokemon that’ll be more common in eggs this week. As such, the free Incubators that’ll come early on will be most welcome!

Also in the update is mention of the Apple Watch update which is not yet live as of the publishing of this article. Niantic recently suggested they were still hard at work making Pokemon GO with the Apple Watch and the proof is now officially in the pudding. When this will appear in live code is not quite known as yet. UPDATE: The Apple Watch addition to Pokemon GO is now live, on Christmas weekend, 2023.

UPDATE 2: Additional clarification has been revealed!

• Christmas: Beginning Dec 25th, lasting until Jan 3rd:

1. Increased odds of hatching Gen 2 Pokemon from eggs.

2. PokeStops will award one single-use Incubator each day after your first Photo Disc spin.

3. Increased odds of finding Christmas Pikachu.

• New Year Celebration: Beginning Dec 30th through Jan 8:

1. Lures will last 60 minutes instead of 30 minutes.

2. Increased spawn rates of Gen 1 starter Pokemon – this includes Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur (and possibly Pikachu).*

*UPDATE 3: This also includes Ivysaur, Venusaur, Charmeleon, Charizard, Wartortle, and Blastoise.

The newest version of Pokemon GO is available now in the iTunes App Store for iPhone. The newest version of the app is also available for Android in the Google Play app store right this minute. We’ll be expecting a “forced” update to appear for players within days.

Watchos 5 For Apple Watch Now Available With Podcasts And Walkie

The major watchOS 5 software update for Apple Watch is now available. watchOS 5 runs on Apple Watch Series 1 and later; the original Apple Watch is not supported. Read on to see what’s new in watchOS 5:

watchOS 5 brings Apple’s Podcasts app to the watch for the first time, improves the Siri watch face and brings new element and Breathe watch faces, a new Walkie-Talkie app for watch-to-watch communication, and much more.

Full release notes and key features from watchOS 5 for Apple Watch below:

Sports on Siri, new Podcasts app, and Control Center in apps:

Rearrangeable Control Center:

Shared web pages load:

Complications on more faces:

New Walkie-Talkie app:

Six new watch faces:

New running features:

Raise-to-speak Siri:

And more:

watchOS 5 brings you new ways to be more active, stay connected, and monitor your health with your Apple Watch including Activity competitions, automatic workout detection, Yoga and Hiking workouts, Podcasts, Walkie-Talkie, new watch faces, an updated Siri watch face, and enhancements to notifications and the Heart Rate app.

For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website:


Challenge any of your Activity sharing friends to a one-on-one, seven-day competition

Earn points by filling your Activity rings, one point for every percent added to the rings each day

View active competitions in the sharing tab of the Activity app

Receive intelligent and personalized notifications throughout the competitions

Earn awards at the end of the competition, and view in the redesigned Awards tab in the Activity app on iPhone


Automatic workout detection sends alerts to start the Workout app for many workouts, giving you retroactive credit for exercise already started, and end alerts reminding you to end your workout

Yoga and Hiking workout types for accurate tracking of relevant metrics

Set target pace during outdoor run workouts and receive alerts if you fall behind or move ahead of that target pace

Track cadence, or steps per minute, as you run and see average cadence in running Workout summaries

Rolling mile (or km) metric for running workouts measures pace for the immediately preceding mile (or km)

Apple Podcasts

Sync subscribed shows on Apple Podcasts to Apple Watch for local playback with Bluetooth headphones

New episodes are automatically refreshed as they are added to subscribed shows

Stream any available episode or show on Apple Podcasts with Siri when connected to Wi-Fi or cellular

New Podcasts complication for watch faces


Invite friends with Apple Watch to communicate with Walkie-Talkie

Press to talk and release to listen

Supports one-to-one interactions between Apple Watch users

Special sounds and haptics distinguish Walkie-Talkie from other notifications on Apple Watch

Set your availability for Walkie-Talkie

Walkie-Talkie works through Wi-Fi or cellular on Apple Watch or with paired iPhone

Watch Faces

Breathe face with three animation styles to choose from: Classic, Calm, and Focus

Three new motion faces—Fire & Water, Vapor, and Liquid Metal—that animate when you raise your wrist or tap the display

Display curated moments from your photo library using the Memories option on the Photos watch face

New complications for Podcasts and Walkie-Talkie


Updated Siri watch face intelligently surfaces predictive and proactive Shortcuts based on routines and inputs like location and time of day

Integration with Maps on the Siri watch face shows turn-by-turn directions and estimated arrival times to your next calendar event location

Heart Rate measurements surfaced on the Siri watch face including resting rate, walking average, and recovery rate

Live sports scores and upcoming games for your favorite teams in the TV app appear on the Siri watch face

Support for third-party app shortcuts on the Siri watch face

Access to Siri with Raise to Speak, by raising your wrist to your mouth and speaking your request into the watch (Series 3 and later)

Support for customized voice commands for Siri Shortcuts that are created and managed on iPhone


Notifications from the same app are automatically grouped together to help you manage your notifications

Ability to modify notifications preferences for an app by swiping left on an app notification in Notification Center

New Deliver Quietly option silently sends notifications directly to Notification Center without interrupting you

Turn off Do Not Disturb after a set time, location or calendar event

Heart Rate

Option to be notified if your heart rate falls below a specified threshold while you appeared to be inactive for a 10-minute period

Heart Rate measurements including resting rate, walking average, and recovery rate shown on the Siri watch face

Other features and improvements

View website content optimized for Apple Watch when receiving links in Mail or Messages

Add cities to Weather app on Apple Watch

See new metrics like UV Index, wind speed, and air quality index in supported regions in Weather app

Add new stocks to track in the Stocks app on Apple Watch

Customize arrangement of Control Center icons

Choose Wi-Fi networks in Settings app and enter password if prompted

Answer FaceTime video calls as audio on Apple Watch

Option to install software updates overnight

Add cities to World Clock app on Apple Watch

Use redesigned categories to scroll through and choose emoji in Mail and Messages

Adds support for system language in Hindi

Some features may not be available for all countries or all areas. For more information visit:

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Ipados 15 Now Available: Features, Compatible Ipads, And More

iPadOS 15 received its first preview during the WWDC21 keynote and launched three months after this on September 20. The iPad software focuses on productivity features, bringing a new Home Screen design with integrated widgets and the App Library. Here’s everything about Apple’s latest iPadOS update.

New features in iPadOS 15

With the release of iPadOS 14 in 2023, Apple introduced Home Screen widgets, expanded stock apps with unique iPad design elements like sidebars in Photos and Apple Music, new interfaces for Siri and incoming phone calls, and more.

iPadOS 14 brought a new search experience, system-wide handwriting recognition, and other changes designed to make the iPad experience work better with Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard.

Redesigned Home Screen: Widgets, App Library, Focus, and Notification Center

With iPadOS 15, Apple introduced several new features to the Home Screen. It’s now possible to add widgets wherever the user wants on the Home Screen.

In the bottom right corner, users can finally find the App Library, introduced with iOS 14. Swiping to the last page also opens App Library.

Another feature announced with iPadOS 15 is Focus. With this function, users can select what kind of notifications they will receive while working or having some personal time. If a user selects “Do Not Disturb” or “Work” on a device, all other Apple devices will follow the same settings.

The new Notification Center uses machine learning and your Focus settings to better show relevant notifications throughout the day. The notification icons are now bigger and clearer.

FaceTime and iMessage even more useful on iPadOS 15

With a delay, Apple introduced a handful of new features to iMessage and FaceTime. Functions people would expect to use while in quarantine are finally arriving in iMessage and FaceTime.

On iPadOS 15, FaceTime group calls can finally appear in a grid, so it’s easier to see everyone. It’s also possible to share your screen, listen to Apple Music songs together, or watch Apple TV+, HBO Max, Disney+, and others while in a call.

iMessage now brings pinned messages, a new gallery grid for multiple images, and there are several new Memoji customizations.

SharePlay and Shared with Me

Still talking about iMessage and FaceTime, Apple introduced two new features called SharePlay and Shared with Me. While SharePlay is the possibility to share your screen, listen to Apple Music songs together in a FaceTime call, etc., Shared with Me is a new section on Safari, Apple Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV+ that brings all content shared with you by friends using iMessage.

Multitasking, Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Note, and redesigned Notes app

The experience with an external keyboard allows users to get more done with all-new keyboard shortcuts and a redesign of the menu bar.

With Universal Control, it’s possible to arrange the devices together and use the same mouse and keyboard on multiple Apple devices.

With the Quick Note feature, users can use the Apple Pencil to add a quick note. They just need to slide the pencil through the bottom right corner to the center of the screen and start writing.

Notes also have new ways to organize, collaborate, and capture information. tags make it easy to categorize notes and find them quickly with the new Tag Browser and tag-based Smart Folders. For users working with others in shared notes, mentions create a way to notify collaborators and link them back to the note, and a new Activity view shows recent updates in the note.

Swift Playgrounds as an app builder

Users have been asking for Xcode for quite some time on the iPad. Apple, on the other hand, offers updated Swift Playgrounds for users to have the tools to build iPhone and iPad apps right on their iPad and submit them directly to the App Store.

Code is immediately reflected in the live preview while building apps, and users can run their apps full screen to test them out. A new open project format based on Swift packages can open and be edited in Swift Playgrounds for iPad as well as within Xcode on Mac, offering users even more versatility to develop apps across iPad and Mac.

You can learn more about it here.

Read more:

Redesigned Safari with iPadOS 15 and extensions support

Safari gets a new tab design on iPadOS 15 that lets users see more of the page as they browse. The tab bar takes on the color of the webpage and combines tabs, the toolbar, and the search field into a single design.

Tab Groups offer, for example, a new way to easily save and manage tabs. It syncs across Mac and iPhone so users can continue their projects from anywhere or easily share them with friends and family.

Safari on iPad also supports web extensions, available from the App Store.

With iPadOS 15 beta 4, Apple brought a similar approach to the Safari on macOS Monterey beta 3. It shows separated tab bars, so when users start browsing, they will see the main URL at the top, and then all the different tab bars open just below. It’s possible to change back to compacted tab bars.

Additional features on iPadOS 15

Live Text: On-device intelligence can recognize text in a photo and allow users to take action, such as place a call, search for an address, and more.

Translates on iPad: The app Translates is now available on iPad starting with iPadOS 15. It brings a new feature called Auto Translate, which detects when someone is speaking so users can converse naturally without having to tap a microphone button.

Photos: Memories have a new look and integrate with Apple Music.

Maps: Apple is enhancing details in cities for neighborhoods, commercial districts, elevation, and buildings, new road colors and labels, custom-designed landmarks, and a new nighttime mode with a moonlit glow.

Privacy: Mail Privacy Protection helps users on iPadOS 15 to stop trackers from snooping on an email. The App Privacy Report provides transparency into how apps are sharing information with other companies.

Siri offline: On iPadOS 15, Siri can now work offline. It process requests entirely on the iPad by default making it faster. Siri also adds Announce Notification on AirPods.

iCloud+: iCloud got new premium features, including the Hide My Email feature, expanded HomeKit Secure Video support, and a new internet privacy service, iCloud Private Relay, at no additional cost

iPadOS 15.1 features

Apple released iPadOS 15.1 on October 25. With this version, the company finally brought SharePlay for all users as well as reverting Safari to its old design. Even though, users will be able to select the new look or stay with the old one.

iPadOS 15.2 features

Five weeks after releasing iPadOS 15.1, Apple is releasing iPadOS 15.2. It brings more features that were expected to launch alongside iPadOS 15 but, unfortunately, Universal Control is still nowhere to be seen. Here are the top features of this version:

Apple Music Voice Plan is a new subscription tier that gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri

App Privacy Report in Settings lets you see how often apps have accessed your location, photos, camera, microphone, contacts and more during the last seven days, as well as their network activity

Communication safety setting gives parents the ability to enable warnings for children when they receive or send photos that contain nudity

Digital Legacy allows you to designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your iCloud account and personal information in the event of your death

Apple TV app: Store tab lets you browse, buy, and rent movies and TV Shows all in one place

iPadOS 15.3 features

Six weeks after releasing iPadOS 15.2, Apple is releasing iPadOS 15.3. This update foregoes new features in favor of under-the-hood bug fixes and improvements. One of the most notable changes here is a fix for a Safari vulnerability that may have been leaking your browsing history and Google ID data to the websites you visited.

iPadOS 15.4 features

iPadOS 15.4 finally brings one of the most important features expected from iPadOS 15 and that got delayed: Universal Control. Here’s everything new with iPadOS 15.4:

Universal Control: This feature allows you to control your Mac and iPad using the same keyboard and mouse/trackpad. Universal Control needs iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3;

New Siri voice: Siri has a fifth American voice. Apple says a member of the LGBTQ+ community recorded the voice and it’s non-binary;

More emoji: iPadOS 15.4 also brings new emojis. You can discover all of the new characters here;

Shortcuts automation: Adds support for running Personal Automations in the background without requiring a pesky banner notification.

You can learn everything new with this update here.

iPadOS 15.5 features

Different from other software updates, iPadOS 15.5 only improves the Podcast app experience, as Apple focused on Wallet changes for the iPhone this time:

Apple Podcasts includes a new setting to limit episodes stored on your iPhone and automatically delete older ones

iPadOS 15.6 features

iPadOS 15.6 is yet another small update for iPad users and was the latest iPadOS 15 update to users. Here’s what it brings:

TV app adds the option to restart a live sports game already in progress and pause, rewind, or fast-forward.

Fixes an issue where Settings may continue to display that device storage is full even if it is available.

Fixes an issue that may cause Braille devices to slow down or stop responding when navigating text in Mail.

Fixes an issue in Safari where a tab may revert to a previous page.

iPadOS 15 device compatibility

Here’s the full list:

iPad Pro 12.9 (5th gen);

iPad Pro 11 (3rd gen);

iPad Pro 12.9 (4th gen);

iPad Pro 11 (2nd gen);

iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd gen);

iPad Pro 11 (1st gen);

iPad Pro 12.9 (2nd gen);

iPad Pro 10.5 (2nd gen);

iPad Pro 12.9 (1st gen)

iPad Pro 9.7 (1st gen)

iPad Air (5th gen);

iPad Air (4th gen);

iPad Air (3rd gen);

iPad Air (2nd gen);

iPad mini (6th gen);

iPad mini (5th gen);

iPad mini (4th gen)

iPad (9th gen);

iPad (8th gen);

iPad (7th gen);

iPad (6th gen);

iPad (5th gen).

How to install iPadOS 15 public beta

On June 30 of 2023, Apple released iPadOS 15 public beta for all users. Even though the official version of iPadOS 15 is already here, the Software Beta Program is great for those who want to try iPadOS 15.1 or newer before everyone else. Here’s how to enroll on iPad’s beta program.

iPadOS 15 was introduced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference 2023.

The iPadOS 15 developer beta program started on the same day as the keynote, June 7. On June 30, Apple released the public beta of iPadOS 15.

Apple launched iPadOS 15 on September 20 of 2023.

iPadOS 15 Review

In our review post about iPadOS 15, we say that iPadOS 15 solves many of the problems with iPadOS although it’s not the update “pro users” were asking for:

iPadOS 15 finally brings a redesigned Home screen with widgets, but after Apple announced the M1 iPad Pro, many people had higher hopes for this year’s software updates. (…) Pro apps like Final Cut Pro and Xcode are nowhere to be found, and the only thing Apple will give to developers, is another version of Swift Playgrounds where they can create an app and send it to Apple to publish on the App Store. With all the power and fancy features the M1 iPad Pro has, Apple seems to be holding back for the next big step. Maybe next year.

Fire Tv Cube Available Today: Here’S How Its Alexa Compares

Fire TV Cube available today: Here’s how its Alexa compares

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At the beginning of the month, Amazon unveiled a new streaming device we already knew was in the works: the Fire TV Cube. Among Amazon’s streaming lineup, the Fire TV Cube is the generalist device, as it’s capable of doing quite a bit. It’s available beginning today too, so if you have the cash for it, you can order one and have it here in time for some Sunday binge watching (assuming, of course, that you also have a Prime subscription).

Price could very well be a sticking point for some people, as the Fire TV Cube clocks in at a not-insignificant $119.99. While that isn’t an absurd price compared to some other streaming devices – particularly Apple TV 4K, which starts at $179 – it is a fair bit more expensive than any other streaming device Amazon currently offers, with the next closest in terms of price being the Fire TV 4K at $69.99.

READ MORE: Amazon Fire TV Cube ReviewSo, why does the Fire TV Cube cost that much when Amazon has made a name for itself with inexpensive streaming devices? Put simply, it packs a lot of capability in that box. The Fire TV Cube boasts 4K HDR streaming with support for Dolby Atmos. It also comes with Alexa built in, along with eight microphones that employ far-field voice recognition and beamforming technology, so it can hear you from across the room even if the TV next to it is making noise as well.

With Alexa, of course, you can navigate various channels, find content, and control playback with voice commands. While our review found that the Fire TV Cube can’t replace an Echo device entirely, that Alexa compatibility is still handy to have. Alexa isn’t necessarily the marquee feature of this device either, as it also offers IR capabilities that allow you to control various devices in your home entertainment set up – TV, sound bar, cable box, or receiver, for instance – through voice commands.

So, in the end, the Fire TV Cube has the feature list to back up that higher-than-usual price point. That’s especially true when you consider that it offers some big quality of life improvements over other Fire TV streaming devices, as it doesn’t require you to speak into a remote or pair an Echo device if you want to use Alexa. Its IR functionality is another big draw, as other Fire TV devices don’t allow you to control your home entertainment hardware in the same way the Fire TV Cube does.

With that in mind, if you want a hands-free Alexa experience with something like the Fire TV 4K or the Fire TV Stick, you don’t necessarily need to upgrade to a Fire TV Cube to get it. You can simply pair either of those devices with a $49.99 Echo Dot, which mostly accomplishes the same thing (only without the IR functionality) and has the added benefit of realizing Alexa’s full potential.

If you’re so inclined, you can pick up the Fire TV Cube for $119.99 from Amazon today, though it also comes in a $199.98 bundle that includes a Cloud Cam.

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Samsung: Apple Television Is Old News. Smart Tv Is The Future And Already Here

When Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he finally “cracked the code” to building an integrated television set that is user-friendly and seamlessly syncs with all of your devices, Samsung Australia’s Director of Audiovisual Philip Newton told the Sydney Morning Herald that Jobs’ was talking about connectivity.

He laughed off the mythical iTV and dissed Jobs’ TV brain wave as “nothing new,” saying the future is now and it is his company’s Smart TVs:

When Steve Jobs talked about he’s ‘cracked it’, he’s talking about connectivity – so we’ve had that in the market already for 12 months, it’s nothing new, it was new for them because they didn’t play in the space. It’s old news as far as the traditional players are concerned and we have broadened that with things like voice control and touch control; the remote control for these TVs has a touch pad.

Samsung is promoting Smart TVs left and right at the CES show that is underway this week in Las Vegas. The company is showing off apps and games such as Angry Birds running smoothly on Smart TVs. Feature-wise, Samsung Smart TVs are beating Google TVs to the punch with capabilities such as voice interaction, facial recognition, integrated camera controls for multi-video conferencing and multitasking.

Sony, Panasonic and LG are also pushing integrated television sets built around the Smart TV platform. While not officially an exhibitor, Apple reportedly dispatched 250 employees to attend the show and monitor what competition is doing; among them is the head of iOS product marketing Greg Joswiak. Apple has been rumored for months to launch 32- and 37-inch television sets in the summer of 2012. Does Samsung see Apple as a threat?

Not at all, though that might be just a posture as Apple and Samsung are embroiled in a complicated web of copyright infringement lawsuits in courts the world over.

Do we see them as a threat, not specifically no … probably we’ll have some competitors that may suffer … but we see it as a great opportunity, the more big name brands that get involved in smart [TV] the better off we are as a brand because we know we can lead it.

Front-facing view of Samsung’s ES8000 LED TV.

He summed up:

Samsung makes TVs. They make everything – the screen, the PCBs, and the case. Apple will be outsourcing their manufacture and they won’t be able to compete on price, especially when they’re buying panels from Samsung. Can Apple beat other CE manufacturers at this game? Sure. They’ve done similar things before. But Samsung and Sony and LG have plenty of time to sell TVs and at two a second, Apple will have quite a bit of catching up to do.

In the meantime, Samsung updated its television lineup yesterday with the newly announced Samsung ES8000 LED TV model that is coming “soon.” Pictured below, it sports a dual-core chip, slim bezel, U-shaped stand and screen sizes going all the way up to 75-inches. Samsung America President of Consumer Electronics Division Tim Baxter explained the benefit of multitasking on a big screen during a CES presentation:

Let’s say you are watching a movie on Netflix and want to check in on the hockey highlights, just toggle from Netflix to one of my favorite apps, NHL Game center, and come right back to the movie without having to quit the app and launch another app.

A pair of CES clips showing gesture interaction on a Samsung Smart TV and Angry Birds can be seen below.

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