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New iOS 7 Streaming Features Could Cause Confusion

ios 7 streamingWhen Apple released iOS 7, the frenzy quickly turned into frustration as the bugs began to surface. Besides the visual updates so often discussed, Apple provided a major update to Safari. Immediately issues with HTML5 and how it was handled by Safari led many to call it the “buggiest” version yet. Apple has been fixing the issues in iOS 7 with minor updates, so let’s focus on a few improvements they made related to streaming.

In Safari they added support for the track child of the HTML5 video element. Specifically it supports subtitles and closed captions in multiple languages. A viewer can select the language in the video player itself, or even disable the captions. In order to support languages though, the srclang attribute needs to be defined.

Apple also added new streaming features that may be confusing in the context of the video and audio streaming services we provide. For example, Photo streaming.

This new feature allows video and photos to be shared over iCloud at a quality supported by the viewer’s device. Users can email an invite to others to share their stream or grant them permission to post to the same stream. While iCloud services are accessible to anyone at, a user must be signed into iCloud on either an iOS or Mac OS device in order to view or post to a stream. Windows users need to download iCloud Control Panel in order access the photo stream on their devices.

Once setup, a photo stream will automatically sync with all devices connected to iCloud. No more emailing or texting images or videos to yourself in order to transfer to your laptop, tablet or phone. So while they call it “streaming” it really is just a method of synchronizing your content via the cloud. According to the FAQ at Apple, photos and videos are deleted from iCloud 30 days after they are shared.

Apple also introduced audio streaming with iTunes radio. It is a service similar to Spotify and numerous other music streaming services. The service is currently free and supported by ads but they offer a paid service, iTunes Match, that eliminates the ads and stores the user’s music on iCloud.

Apple’s update provides an improvement to their video streaming capabilities for those using captions and subtitles in their videos. They also introduced some new services related to streaming of a different kind. It could be easy to confuse the various services given their names. What do you think of the new iOS from Apple?

Oliver Burt

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