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iPads helping MLB season start tomorrow with artificial crowd noise and more

MLB season starts tomorrow with artificial crowd noise

Apple, Google, and Sony are all playing a part in helping a new MLB season start tomorrow. Two Major League Baseball games are taking place on the opening night, and the experience will be rather different than usual.

Most notably, MLB games will take place in empty stadiums – which is one of two areas where iPads come into the picture …



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MLB piloted first ever NFC tickets in Apple Wallet; 23 teams offering them next year

We learned back in June that iOS 11 would for the first time allow third-party developers to access the NFC chip for their own apps, for the first time extending its use beyond store reward and gift cards through Apple Pay.

Major League Baseball says that it has been trialling the first ever NFC tickets in Apple Wallet. A trial by Oakland Athletics lasted for six games, and was evidently deemed a success as 23 MLB teams will be using the technology next year …



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AR features for MLB At Bat app teased in keynote won’t go public until next year

Phil Schiller teased an augmented reality overlay on a live baseball game during the iPhone 8 keynote presentation. Fans viewing the match could instantly see things like how far a ball was thrown, how hard it was hit and how fast a player is running.

But while those features are coming to the MBL At Bat app, fans won’t get them until the 2018 season …



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MLB At Bat app adds video highlights in Notification Center, club stickers, more

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Major League Baseball has updated its MLB At Bat to provide direct access to video highlights from the Notification Center – provided you have an iPhone which supports 3D Touch. When you see a notification on your lock screen, you can 3D Touch it to play the video – though you do have to unlock your phone to view it.

You don’t need 3D Touch for the two other enhancements, though …



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Apple upgrades Siri to be smarter about baseball, deeper historical knowledge spanning 28 leagues

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Apple doesn’t normally improve the capabilities of Siri outside of a major operating system update, but it has made an exception this time around for baseball. Apple has dramatically improved the knowledge base Siri can draw from for Siri, allowing the voice-activated personal assistant to answer a wider range of questions about the sport. Via The Verge, Siri now covers 28 leagues, not just Major League Baseball, too.

Siri first started answering sports questions with iOS 6. Apple says that the upgrade to baseball, timed alongside the new MLB season, allows users to ask more detailed questions about career statistics and baseball history.



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iPad Pro coming to the MLB dugouts this season with a new multi-year Apple deal

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Apple and Major League Baseball have agreed a deal to use iPads in the dugouts during games, showing performance stats, analyze pitcher-hitter matchups, compare pitching range and more, via the Wall Street Journal. The iPads will use a custom app called ‘MLB Dugout’, created by MLB’s media division with help from Apple.

In the new deal, Apple and MLB will provide 12.9 inch iPad Pros to every team in the league, fitted with rugged cases for protection. The deal was made possible because of a recent change to the rules which lifts the ban on smartphones, tablets and laptops in the dugouts. Whether Apple paid for the promotion or MLB paid for the products was not disclosed.



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MLB clarifies: Ned Yost was only reminded Apple Watch must not be connected to iPhone during games

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MLB has clarified a somewhat ambiguous Kansas City Star report that it told Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost that he must not use his Apple Watch during games. The organization told MarketWatch that Yost was merely reminded that the watch must not be connected to his phone during games.

The MLB staffers managing on-field operations did call Yost to make sure he wasn’t using the data on his watch, […] but it was just a routine call. “It’s not banned,” said an MLB spokesman.

The spokesman added that if future smartwatches gained data functionality independent of linked smartphones, the MLB would address that issue separately.

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MLB strikes out, bans Kansas City manager from using the Apple Watch it gave him

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Since the device was released, many concerns regarding appropriate and inappropriate times to use Apple Watch have come up, and here is yet another one. Major League Baseball gifted Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost an Apple Watch Sport for being the manager of the All Star Game last month, and now, MLB is telling Yost that he can’t use the device during games and while in the dugout, but he can wear it.



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MasterCard turns on Apple Pay for MLB All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park

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MasterCard announced today that it’s turning on Apple Pay at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio just in time for the 2015 MLB All-Star game taking place July 14.

Those attending the game, or the pre-game events kicking off this weekend, will be able to use Apple Pay to pay for food, merchandise, and more.

“We’re thrilled to partner with MLBAM to bring contactless acceptance to the 2015 MLB All-Star Week festivities. Through our longstanding relationship with MLB and MLBAM, we are constantly looking for opportunities to create enhanced fan experiences both in-stadium and online, whether that’s through advanced payment capabilities or delivering surprises to fans.”

As it has done with past events, such as the recent PGA Tour earlier this year, MasterCard is running a promotion offering attendees that opt for Apple Pay a chance to win one of its Priceless SurprisesAt other events, MasterCard has been known to offer seat upgrades, event related merchandise, VIP experiences, and more for those that pay with Apple Pay:

“MasterCard cardholders who use Apple Pay at contactless merchandise and concession acceptance locations at the T-Mobile All-Star FanFest taking place July 10th through July 14th or in-stadium at Great American Ball Park from July 12th through July 14th could get a little something extra – from All-Star branded premiums, autographed memorabilia to prepaid cards and more.”

Apple has been rolling out Apple Pay to more banks and credit unions each month since first launching the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch-based payments service in the US back in October. It most recently brought the service to 20 more US banks and credit unions ahead of an international expansion into the UK later this month.

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MLB At Bat app redesigned, updated with new features for Spring Training

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The MLB.com At Bat app for iPhone and iPad gets a big update today in time for Spring Training bringing Spanish language support, new features, and all the details on what content will be available. Most of the app has also been redesigned including all new UI’s for team pages, scoreboards, and the newsreader.

Also new in the app for version 8.0.0 and 2015:

• New UI for all 30 team pages & the league-wide scoreboard (iPhone only)
• Player search expanded to include all active and historical MLB player cards (iPhone only)
• Re-designed UI for the newsreader (iPhone & iPad)
• Team-by-team statistical data filters (iPhone only)
• Native resolution to optimize At Bat for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
• Easy access to every game with new team schedule navigation (iPhone only)
• Application available in Spanish language, requires device language set to Spanish (iPhone & iPad)

As for Spring Training content, here’s what you’ll get with the usual $2.99/month or $19.99/year subscription:

  • Watch live streaming of more than 200 available Spring Training games with an MLB.TV Premium subscription (iPhone, iPad, select Android phones and tablets, Kindle Fire, Fire Phone)
  • Listen live to available Spring Training radio broadcasts (all)
  • Multi-platform live audio access for At Bat Premium subscribers (portable to Mac or PC with a valid MLB.com account)
  • Universal support for At Bat Premium subscribers, with accessibility on iPhone, iPad and other supported smartphones and tablets
  • Track batter-by-batter action for every Spring Training game (all)
  • Comb through sortable batting, pitching and fielding statistics (all)
  • Stay on top of breaking news, schedules, interactive rosters and player stats for every team (all)
  • Customize At Bat’s home screen to feature your favorite team (all smartphones)
  • Access to a video library archive, searchable by player, team or keyword (all smartphones)
  • Classic games video archive, featuring dozens of baseball’s most legendary games (all)

The updated MLB.com At Bat app for iPhone and iPad is available on the App Store now.

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R.B.I. Baseball 15 coming to Mac w/ redesigned MLB ballparks & full rosters

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MLB Advanced Media has announced that R.B.I. Baseball 15 will be released this spring and will be available for the first time on Mac. This is a follow-up to the popular version from last year that made its debut on iOS.

R.B.I. Baseball 15 promises a number of updates bringing the most realistic experience to date, most notability including authentic ballparks and full 25-man rosters for all 30 Major League teams. It also includes user stat tracking for the first time as well as an online multiplayer mode with both ranked and friendly games. Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo will be on the cover for this year’s rendition. A release date has yet to be announced.



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Apple Pay in-app checkout added to MLB Ballpark & Priceline apps

Apple Pay support is still slowly rolling out from more banks, retailers, and apps, and two notable updates added Apple Pay in-app checkout options this week.

First up is Priceline, the app that aims to save you money on flights, hotels, and car rentals anytime you’re traveling. While the app allows you to book plane tickets and reserve rental cars, Apple Pay checkout is currently limited to “Express Deals” for paying for hotel reservations.

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MasterCard kicks off Apple Pay advertising on TV with its latest World Series promotions

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We haven’t seen any TV ads from Apple for Apple Pay since it launched earlier this week on Monday, but that doesn’t mean no one else is advertising the new mobile payment service on television. Apple Pay partner MasterCard has begun airing a new set of MLB World Series-focused ads aggressively promoting Apple Pay and the iPhone 6 in the process. As we noted earlier this week, both MLB stadiums for the World Series will be accepting Apple Pay at the concession stands for each baseball game meaning you got buy your peanuts and cracker jacks using just your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Check out the ads below to spot Apple Pay in action at the baseball stands.

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Both MLB stadiums will accept Apple Pay at concession stands for 2014 World Series

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Forbes reports today that during the 2014 World Series (which starts tomorrow) two MLB stadiums will be accepting Apple Pay at concessions stands. Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium and San Francisco’s AT&T Park will be the first professional sports stadiums to accept Apple’s new payment process.

MLB hasn’t clarified when the rest of the league’s stadiums will begin accepting Apple Pay. The hardware has apparently only been installed at the World Series stadiums so far.

There are also plans to implement Apple Pay in the MLB At the Ballpark app to allow users to purchase tickets using Touch ID in a future update, though there’s no timeline for when that feature will be available just yet.



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MLB At Bat app will for the first time live stream every World Series game, select Postseason games

MLB-app-01The MLB.com At Bat app was updated today alongside a couple notable announcements including the league’s plan to live stream every World Series game and select Postseason games to all of its MLB.TV Premium subscribers through the app. The 2014 World Series is set to kick off on October 21. 

The release notes add that the app will now also offer “Live Postseason coverage for every game through the 2014 World Series” and a Postseason.TV feature with “Live companion coverage featuring up to 10 alternate camera angles for the AL Wild Card, AL Division Series and AL Championship Series (TBS broadcasts only).”

The update MLB.com At Bat app is available in the App Store now for iPhone and iPad. Regular $129 for the full year, an MLB.TV Premium subscription is available to purchase now for $3.99 for the remainder of the season, World Series, and postseason. 

What’s New in Version 7.4.2

• For the first time we will be streaming live every World Series game and select other Postseason games to all authenticated MLB.TV Premium subscribers
• Live Postseason coverage for every game through the 2014 World Series
• Postseason.TV: Live companion coverage featuring up to 10 alternate camera angles for the AL Wild Card, AL Division Series and AL Championship Series (TBS broadcasts only)
• General performance improvements

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MapQuest navigation app updated with improved ETAs, baseball guides, airport maps and more

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Navigation app MapQuest has been updated to version 4.4, offering more accurate ETAs thanks to better traffic data; an app-specific volume control that allows you to set the voice navigation volume independently of other apps; Ballpark Guides to MLB stadiums and airport maps; and GrubHub integration to allow you to order food from take-out restaurants before the app navigates you there to collect it.

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Apple defending its streaming technology used by MLB, ESPN, and others against patent dispute

Another day, another patent dispute. This time Apple is defending the use of its HTTP live-streaming service against Emblaze, Ltd., Bloomberg reports.

Specifically, the lawyer for Emblaze has accused Apple of pushing its video streaming technology on sports-related services like WatchESPN and MLB At Bat which support live streaming over apps for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and more.

Apple began working on its HTTP live-streaming service, or HLS, “no earlier than 2007,” demanding that services such as “At Bat” use the format to drive sales of iPhones and iPads — and inducing infringement of Emblaze’s patent, Pavane said.

“Apple’s HLS is nothing more than Emblaze’s patented solution under a different name,” he said.



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Apple adds MLB At Bat to list of CarPlay-supported apps

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(Screenshot from USA Today demo)

We already saw MLB.com At Bat make an appearance in USA Today’s demo of CarPlay during Apple’s WWDC developer conference earlier this month, and today Apple has updated its CarPlay microsite to include the baseball-dedicated app to its list of apps that support the feature. In the shot above and below you can see the icon for At Bat as well as a preview of the CarPlay specific user interface from USA Today’s demo. The app is expected to support streaming audio from baseball games for MLB.com At Bat subscribers.

MLB At Bat is the first app to join the CarPlay compatible apps announced earlier this year with major third party apps like Google Maps and Pandora Radio notably lacking support. As it stands currently, though, Apple is the gatekeeper for integrating CarPlay support as it decides which apps it wants the feature to support.



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