If you were paying close attention to the changes that Apple made to the Apple Store Online overnight, you would have noticed that, for the first time in its history, the Apple TV has its own section in the Store. Previously, the device had been relegated out of the way, buried in the iPad Accessories section. Odd, sure, since the Apple TV is hardly an accessory for the iPod at all, save for the fact that they can work together over AirPlay, but where else was Apple to put a product that wasn't meant to be featured? After all, the Apple TV wasn't a real business according to Apple--it was just a "hobby." Something the company dabbled in and played with, pulling the string to see where it would lead. Let's be clear: Apple has ambitious TV plans. The company has just been using the Apple TV as a research project. While it has been available for purchase for many years, Apple never advertises it. Not on television, radio, print, or web. So, the fact that here in 2014, seven years after first going on sale, the Apple TV now has its own dedicated section on the Apple Store (with AppleCare, a refurb section, and dedicated accessories) must mean that something bigger is happening, right? Well, where there is smoke, there's fire.
During CES, WWE announced the ambitious WWE Network project, a service that will see live 24/7 programming paired with a vast on-demand content library for $9.99 in what's considered a first-of-its-kind over-the-top service. WWE Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer, Michelle Wilson, announced the vast number of hardware partners and devices that will be able to access the Network when it launches on February 24th, and they included iOS devices, Android devices, Roku, Kindle Fire tablets, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Playstation 4. Later this summer Xbox One and Smart TV platforms get added to the list.
This left many wondering if the Apple TV would support the new venture. As I had noted previously here, as well as in an audio hotline on PWInsider, if you own an iOS device or Mac, you'll be able to AirPlay WWE Network content directly to the Apple TV. This is how the UFC Fight Pass supports Apple's set-top box. However, it seems that the WWE Network will, in fact, get a dedicated Apple TV channel.
iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch will be big holiday gifts this year, make no mistake about it. The Apple TV is actually a fantastic complement to Apple's handhelds, worthy of being featured in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide. A nice little device in its own right, the Apple TV gives you access to Apple's iTunes Store entertainment content right on your television. In addition, you get Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, sports networks, and plenty of other entertainment options. Connect it to your iTunes Home Share, and you can use your iOS devices as remote controls for the Apple TV. The best part, though, is AirPlay. You can beam audio and video content right to the Apple TV with ease from your iOS device, or your Mac. You can also mirror the display of these devices as well, all wireless over your home network.
Honorable Mention: Roku 2 XS Streaming Player
Read More | Apple TV
The popular Apple TV Remote app has finally received a much-needed iOS 7-themed face lift. The update adds a clean, flat look with a tasteful translucent aesthetic that gives it depth. The Remote app is not yet 64-bit optimized, but perhaps it will in the next subsequent update similar to the update cycle of the AirPort Utility, which received a redesign update first then became 64-bit ready in the sunsequent release. Remote is now iTunes 11.1 ready and is a unversal binary, compatible with all iOS devices. Here’s a list of what's new in Remote:
- Control iTunes and Apple TV from anywhere in your home
- A simplified look with new ways to browse your library
- See upcoming songs with Up Next
- See all songs in an album with Expanded view on an iPad
- Add new songs to hear them next and then automatically continue where you left off
- Browse, listen to, and control your iTunes Match library on Apple TV
- Pause, rewind, fast-forward, shuffle, and adjust the volume from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- View album, movie, and TV show artwork
- Create and update iTunes playlists, including Genius playlists
- Search your entire iTunes library
- Control iTunes to send music to AirPlay speakers
- Control the volume on each speaker independently
- Use simple gestures to control Apple TV
- Enter text with the keyboard
- Control shared libraries on iTunes and the new Apple TV
What's New In This Version:
- This version of Remote has been completely redesigned for iOS 7 and adds support for iTunes 11.1.
Read More | Remote [App Store]
Apple is set to go out with a bang this year with its big October 22 event. The obvious product announcement that everyone is expecting belongs to the iPad line, with the iPad 5 and iPad mini both seeing significant upgrades. What else can we expect from what will likely be the final Apple event of 2013? Join us after the break for our analysis and expectations.
This morning Apple added a few new apps to the Apple TV, bringing VEVO, The Disney Channel, Disney XD, The Weather Channel, and the Smithsonian Channel to the streaming set-top box. As far as VEVO is concerned, the company released a statement that confirms that the entire 75,000 music video library is now available on Apple TV:
Apple TV users are sure to recognize the intuitive and efficient design. VEVO viewers are able to quickly browse videos by featured artists including all of the latest premieres. VEVO includes multiple modes of discovery – you can watch on-demand videos from any genre or simply select any video that piques your interest. If you have something particular in mind, perform a search and we will surface what you’re looking for right at your fingertips.
The Weather Channel allows you to see current weather conditions and forecasts, and access to featured content from the channel as well. The Smithsonian Channel lets you stream on-demand content. The two Disney apps require cable authentication to view the live and on-demand content, and is available through supported providers: AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Midcontinent Communications, Optimum, and Verizon FiOS. You can pick up the Apple TV for $99 from Apple.
Apple has just announced a new software update for the Apple TV that brings HBO Go and WatchESPN to the platform. Additionally, live UK Sky News streaming, access to Crunchyroll (an anime video site) videos, and Qello, a music/documentary streaming service.
“HBO GO and WatchESPN are some of the most popular iOS apps and are sure to be huge hits on Apple TV,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We continue to offer Apple TV users great new programming options, combined with access to all of the incredible content they can purchase from the iTunes Store.”
In order to activate HBO GO and WatchESPN, you'll need to be subscribed to the right cable provider, and you'll activate them using a code from your provider. Sky News provides free streaming in the US, UK, and Ireland.
You can download Apple TV 5.3 software update now for your second- and third-generation Apple TV to get the new hotness right away.
Read More | Apple
Apple has just announced iTunes Radio, the new streaming music service for iOS, iTunes (Mac and PC,) and Apple TV. The service looks to compete with Pandora, and will be built right in to the iOS 7 Music app. Apple will have a bunch of curated stations available at launch, and will also allow users to create their own custom stations as well. You can give a track a star to signify that you like it, share the station with a friend, and ask for more like that song. Led Zepplin is even available, a first for streaming. iTunes Radio will be free with advertising, but iTunes Match subscribers get it completely ad-free.
Yesterday evening, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the state at the 11th annual D: All Things Digital conference, and spoke about many topics relating to Apple. During the D11 interview, Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher hit Cook with tough questions, most of which were answered with just enough information so as not to give away specific future plans. Talking points include wearable computing, changes coming to iOS, Apple stock price, taxes, and more. We've got the full 90-minute interview video for you after the break--check it out.
It's becoming customary within the Apple community to conceptualize ideas of future Apple products and software. In this case, Sam Beckett conceptualizes what the mythical Apple TV set, or iTV, display may look like and how it might behave. Interactions, mostly done by way of an iOS device, in this case are done with an iPad mini. This, of course, is opposed to using the often confusing button-riddled TV remote. Interacting and navigating is user-friendly and intuitive while using DVR functions, swiping between channels using gestures, using Siri and Genius content recommendations, etc. In addition, apps are served up as channels, and the user would have the ability to tie into their cable provider of choice if they aren't ready to cut the cord. I don't know about you, but we're digging this much. Watch the video after the snappy break.