Author: Matthew Panzarino

New UnitedMasters deal will enable its artists get play across NBA properties

TECHCRUNCH UnitedMasters came out of stealth about a year ago with a plan to help artists have a more direct relationship with their customers and fans and, more importantly, retain more control over their actual recordings. With $70MM from Alphabet, A16z, Floodgate and 20th Century Fox — as well as founder Steve Stoute, the former President of Interscope Records, the promises are big but the team seems up to the task. Now, they’re ready to announce their first big partnership: The NBA. With this launch, UnitedMasters artists will be able to have their music played across all of their properties around the world including digital properties like NBA.com and its apps. “We’ve seen that there are a lot of synergies between the music industry, sports leagues, and individual personalities across athletes and musicians,” says Steve Stoute, founder and CEO of UnitedMasters . “The overlap between UnitedMasters artists, their fans and the NBA’s following provides a mutually beneficial opportunity to tap into an artist pool that is also a target consumer for the NBA.” The NBA’s social community is huge, and the audience has an outsized tendency to be engaged with the music, style and culture that surrounds its fans and superstar players. “The real value is the artist and who they are – they’re NBA fans, they’re fans of the product they’re soundtracking. You can go from watching the...

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Review: The iPad Pro and the power of the Pen(cil)

TECHCRUNCH Laptop users have been focused for a very long time on whether the iPad Pro is going to be forced upon them as a replacement device. Depending on who you believe, Apple included, it has at one point been considered that, or a pure tablet with functions to be decided completely by the app development community, or something all its own. But with the iPad Pro, the Smart Keyboard and the new version of Apple’s Pencil, some things are finally starting to become clear. The new hardware, coupled with the ability and willingness of companies like Adobe to...

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Review: Apple’s iPhone XR is a fine young cannibal

TECHCRUNCH This iPhone is great. It is most like the last iPhone — but not the last “best” iPhone — more like the last not as good iPhone. It’s better than that one though, just not as good as the newest best iPhone or the older best iPhone. If you’re upgrading from an iPhone 7 or iPhone 8, you’re gonna love it and likely won’t miss any current features while also getting a nice update to a gesture-driven phone with Face ID. But don’t buy it if you’re coming from an iPhone X, you’ll be disappointed as there are some compromises from the incredibly high level of performance and quality in Apple’s last flagship, which really was pushing the envelope at the time. From a consumer perspective, this is offering a bit of choice that targets the same kind of customer who bought the iPhone 8 instead of the iPhone X last year. They want a great phone with a solid feature set and good performance but are not obsessed with ‘the best’ and likely won’t notice any of the things that would bug an iPhone X user about the iPhone XR. On the business side, Apple is offering the iPhone XR to make sure there is no pricing umbrella underneath the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, and to make sure that the pricing curve is smooth across...

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Disney‘s John Snoddy will talk imagineering augmented worlds at TC Sessions: AR/VR in LA this week

TECHCRUNCH At our one-day TC Sessions: AR/VR event in LA on October 18, we’ll be joined by Walt Disney Imagineering’s R&D Studio Executive Jon Snoddy. We’re going to talk about how Disney is using augmented and virtual reality in their parks and other projects and how they’re coupling those technologies with physical spaces and robotics in ways that no other company is attempting. Disney has shipped a bunch of ambitious projects lately like their robotic acrobats, a series of autonomous robots to add life to queues and attractions and a variety of different applications of AR. Here’s some more info on Snoddy via...

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Welcome Kirsten Korosec, Kate Clark, Zack Whittaker and some guy named Eric

TECHCRUNCH We’ve got some new faces around TechCrunch, some of them real fresh and some who you might know. Though you might have seen some of their bylines around the site I thought it would be nice to officially welcome them to the site. First up is Kirsten Korosec, who leads our transportation and mobility reporting. Kirsten is an accomplished and seasoned journalist in the space and has been with us for a few months writing, hosting panels at Disrupt and scooping major news. You’ll want to stay tuned to her coverage of this wild area of coverage as...

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Review: iPhone XS and the power of long-term thinking

TECHCRUNCH The iPhone XS proves one thing definitively: that the iPhone X was probably one of the most ambitious product bets of all time. When Apple told me in 2017 that they put aside plans for the iterative upgrade that they were going to ship and went all in on the iPhone X because they thought they could jump ahead a year, they were not blustering. That the iPhone XS feels, at least on the surface, like one of Apple’s most “S” models ever is a testament to how aggressive the iPhone X timeline was. I think there will be plenty of people who will see this as a weakness of the iPhone XS, and I can understand their point of view. There are about a half-dozen definitive improvements in the XS over the iPhone X, but none of them has quite the buzzword-worthy effectiveness of a marquee upgrade like 64-bit, 3D Touch or wireless charging — all benefits delivered in previous “S” years. That weakness, however, is only really present if you view it through the eyes of the year-over-year upgrader. As an upgrade over an iPhone X, I’d say you’re going to have to love what they’ve done with the camera to want to make the jump. As a move from any other device, it’s a huge win and you’re going head-first into sculpted OLED screens, face...

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Ex-Apple employee charged with stealing self-driving car secrets

TECHCRUNCH A former Apple employee that downloaded a plan for a self-driving car circuit board and booked a flight to China was arrested at the San Jose airport on July 7th. The man, Xiaolang Zhang, had made known that he was going to go work for a Chinese self-driving car startup and was bouncing with the secrets, perhaps as a bounty or shortcut. The charges were reported earlier today by Reuters. An Apple spokesperson provided a statement to TechCrunch. “Apple takes confidentiality and the protection of our intellectual property very seriously. We’re working with authorities on this matter and...

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Apple combines machine learning and Siri teams under Giannandrea

TECHCRUNCH Apple is creating a new AI/ML team that brings together its Core ML and Siri teams under one leader in John Giannandrea. Apple confirmed this morning that the combined Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning team, which houses Siri, will be led by the recent hire, who came to Apple this year after an 8 year stint at Google where he led the Machine Intelligence, Research and Search teams. Before that he founded Metaweb Technologies and Tellme. The internal structures of the Siri and Core ML teams will remain the same, but they will now answer to Giannandrea. Apple’s internal structure means that the teams will likely remain integrated across the org as they’re wedded to various projects including developer tools, mapping, Core OS and more. ML is everywhere, basically. In the early days, John was a Senior Engineer at General Magic, the legendary company founded by Apple team members in 1989 including Andy Hertzfeld, Marc Porat and Bill Atkinson. That company, though eventually a failure, generated an incredible amount of technology breakthroughs including tiny touchscreens and software modems. General Magic also served as an insane incubator and employer of talented people, at one point Susan Kare, Tony Fadell, Andy Rubin, Megan Smith and current Apple VP of Technology Kevin Lynch all worked there. Giannandrea spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt 2017, because our timing is impeccable. You can listen to...

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