Apple just entered an exclusive partnership with Richard Plepler, one of the chief architects of HBO’s last two decades of success. According to the New York Times, Plepler’s new production company has a five-year exclusivity deal with Apple’s TV+. If Apple’s entertainment executives aren’t worried about what the incoming titan’s arrival means for their jobs and the platform’s future yet, they probably should be. At least from where I’m sitting.
For some context, here, Plepler departed his role as chief executive of HBO last year following AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. At the time, it was reported that Plepler found the merger minimized his autonomy, as AT&T bosses stepped in and immediately started tinkering with HBO’s highly successful entertainment model. Reports last year detailed a new regime under which the business model would be closer to Netflix’s than HBO’s—namely, churning out more content instead of necessarily good content.
Plepler left after nearly three decades at HBO. But AT&T’s loss was evidently quickly interpreted to be a potential gain for Apple TV+. In many respects TV+ competes more directly with HBO than it does other streaming competitors. Apple’s own executives have described TV+ as a sort of antithesis to Netflix.
According to a New York Times interview with Plepler about the move, Apple’s Eddy Cue reached out to the former HBO head soon after he left HBO last February. Those talks landed Plepler at the company with a five-year producing role for series, documentaries, and films produced for Apple TV+. Cue, who oversees Apple’s services business, including TV+, previously brought on Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlich to oversee the TV+ division over two years ago.
Plepler told the Times that a condition of his arrival at Apple is that Van Amburg and Erlich were game. This makes sense on Plepler’s part, given that corporate dust-ups appear to be the driving force behind his leaving HBO. Based on Plepler’s statements to the Times—specifically that all he wants to do “is run my own little PT boat”—that probably also involved ensuring some creative autonomy for his direction.
But Plepler’s Apple deal—to be clear he is not running TV+, just contributing—also feels significant in light of the reception of Apple’s new tentpole service. TV+ just hasn’t popped on the cultural landscape like Apple might have wanted. And there were issues early on, like axing a show based on Dr. Dre’s life because it was too violent, and canceling one about Richard Gere on a shooting spree because it wasn’t friendly enough.
But the initial launch of TV+’s 2019 slate is where the real problem lies. Despite The Morning Show’s Golden Globe nods, the show—Apple’s biggest bet for its debut content offerings—generated mixed reviews, as did much of Apple’s other original content. It didn’t get anywhere near the attention that it, in theory, should have.
For All Mankind, the platform’s science fiction drama series about the space race from Hugo- and Emmy Award-winning showrunner Ron Moore, made nowhere near the splash it should have. Yet it is exactly the kind of weird, alt-historical series that should have been a contender during awards season.
Part of the issue with this series—as with virtually all of Apple’s content offerings—is that Apple’s typical shroud-of-mystery and tight-lipped approach to its product rollouts is fundamentally at odds with how you make people give a shit about entertainment. There was virtually zero buzz about these respective shows prior to launch because we knew nothing about them. All viewers knew prior to launch day, based on rumors, was that Apple TV+ amounted to nothing more than an “expensive NBC.” That we’ve still heard little about its 2020 lineup doesn’t exactly help its cause.
For a company that hopes to position itself as a kind of taste-making kingpin for news, entertainment, and music, its thin slate of content upon launch hinted that Apple’s own hubris may have impeded its ability to meet the expectations it had fanned for viewers and critics.
Mark Duplass, who stars as Chip in The Morning Show, said as much in a recent interview this week. “I think Apple knows this now, but they didn’t do a very good job of welcoming critics into the process because they’re used to keeping their product secret, When you’re dealing with critics, you don’t keep secrets,” Duplass told The Hollywood Reporter during a red carpet review for Bombshell. “The critics did not like that, and I think they lashed out a little bit.”
As The Hollywood Reporter noted, there’s a pretty big discrepancy between audience and critical reception of that series in particular. (Your feelings on Duplass’s show may depend, in part, on your individual response to it using a real national tragedy as the backdrop for a cringe-worthy plot device.) But there’s no doubt the platform as a whole could use some work, and there’s a reason that so many other of Apple’s debut series were snubbed for their own awards nods.
The deal with Plepler feels like a desire to alter course for Apple. Plepler did tell the Times explicitly that he does “not want to run anything again” and instead wants to focus on producing. Still between TV+’s muted debut and his deal, if I were running TV+ right now I might be worried.
Samsung Galaxy S22 series now rumoured to launch February 9 – MobileSyrup
Samsung recently revealed an Unpacked event is coming but didn’t set a specific date for the keynote. Rumours previously indicated that the event would take place on February 8th. However, information from reliable tipster Ice Universe suggests the S22 series will instead be revealed on February 9th.
However, Digital Daily says that the phone series will launch on February 8th, with the devices releasing on February 24th.
Rumours indicate Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra will feature a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and work with an S Pen. The other S22 models will lack the S Pen, sport an S21-like design, a trio of cameras, and the aforementioned Snapdragon 8 gen 1 chipset.
Samsung will likely unveil the official launch date for the Galaxy S22 series in the coming weeks.
Samsung Galaxy A53 passes through TENAA, some specifications revealed – XDA Developers
The Galaxy S22 series isn’t too far off, with Samsung now accepting reservation orders for the phones, but there are a few other devices in the pipeline too. One of them is the Galaxy A53, the upcoming entry in Samsung’s super-popular A50 lineup, which has already leaked a few times. Now we have the first concrete information about the phone’s hardware, thanks to a new regulatory listing.
TENAA, China’s equivalent to the FCC, has published certification information for the Galaxy A53 (via Android Authority). The page includes dimly-lit photos of the phone from the front, rear, and side, which appear to match the renders published by OnLeaks from November. There is some new information though, especially about the internal hardware.
The phone is identified as the SM-A5360, and has 5G support — there was speculation that Samsung might be ditching the 4G option and only selling a 5G-capabel A53, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s true for every region. TENAA says the device measures 159.5×74.7×8.1 mm, again matching the information from OnLeaks, and weighs 190 grams.
Other hardware details include a 6.46-inch 1080×2400 display, a 4,860mAh battery, an unspecified 8-core CPU, 8GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB of internal storage, microSD card support up to 1TB, and an under-screen fingerprint sensor. There are three rear cameras: 64MP, 32MP, and two 5MP. The listing also reaffirms the Galaxy A53 won’t have a headphone jack, which is a shame.
Overall, the phone doesn’t appear to be significantly different from last year’s Galaxy A52. The screen is nearly identical in size, though we don’t know the refresh rate — the A52 4G had a 90Hz display, while the A52 5G/A52S was 120Hz. The Galaxy A52 also had the same 8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, and in-display fingerprint sensor. We don’t know for sure what each camera will do, but the A52 had a 64MP primary lens, a 12MP ultra-wide, a 5MP macro, and a 5MP depth sensor. The 32MP camera mentioned in the listing could be an upgraded ultra-wide, or Samsung might be swapping it for something else (like a telephoto camera).
You can reserve a Galaxy S22 or Tab S8 now and get $50 store credit – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com
Today, Samsung confirmed that it will announce its Galaxy S22 series in February, but you can reserve a pre-order spot for a Galaxy S22 series phone or a Galaxy Tab S8 now.
You need to follow this link and give your details to reserve a spot in the pre-ordering queue for one of Samsung’s upcoming devices. Samsung is giving those who reserve a unit $50 store credit towards a purchase of other Galaxy products during the pre-order period and you could get your Galaxy S22 or Tab S8 device delivered earlier than other people.
Samsung is also promising other exclusive offers once the Galaxy S22 and Tab S8 devices begin their pre-order phase.
Samsung will unveil three phones – the Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22+, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra, as well as the Galaxy Tab S8 series.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra, in particular, will be an interesting device – it will blend the Galaxy S Ultra series’ camera and large battery with the Galaxy Note series’ built-in S Pen and body aesthetic.
You can reserve a Galaxy S22 or Galaxy Tab S8 right here.
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