Apple just released an update for the Apple TV that brings a couple of new and welcome features to the platform. First, iCloud integration for television shows. There is a new "Purchased TV Shows" area that shows all shows that you have bought, either through the iTunes Store or from the original Apple TV (the current model doesn't allow purchasing, just renting.) You can go into this area for a list of shows you own, and then can drill into that show to see which episodes you've purchased, indicated by the iCloud logo. The other feature that the update brings is Vimeo support. You can now browse and play content from Vimeo, and if you have an account, you can even put in your credentials to access your inbox and mark videos you want to watch later.
The update is available now to all.
Apple has been busy updating their Dev Center with even more iOS 5 goodness, and today developers can go and grab iOS 5 beta 4. However, if you are already running beta 3, then for the first time ever, you can perform an over-the-air (OTA) update directly from your device, with no need to use iTunes. We will have a video up soon to demonstrate. You can now grab iOS 5 beta 4 for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV, alongside iTunes 10.5 beta 4 and Xcode 4.2 Developer Preview 4 for both Snow Leopard (4C139) and Lion (4D139.)
Apple has been busy updating their Dev Center with some new iOS 5 hotness. Developers, you can now grab iOS 5 beta 3 for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV, alongside iTunes 10.5 beta 3 and Xcode 4.2 Developer Preview 3 for both Snow Leopard (4C128) and Lion (4D75.)
When the iPhone was launched in 2007, I met with Phil Schiller, SVP of World Wide marketing for Apple, and Greg Joswiak, the Apple VP in charge of marketing the iPods and iPhones. During the meeting they showed me the iPhone's many features and shared their goals for the device, which has now become a major business for Apple.
During that meeting, they made a comment that I believe is really the heart of Apple's secret sauce and the cornerstone of how it continues to outsmart its competitors. They laid the iPhone on the table, with it turned off, and asked me what I saw. I told them I saw a 3.5 inch blank screen. They said that from Apples point of view, the "magic" of the iPhone is strictly in the software. And, they de-emphasized the hardware.
Yes, the iPhone was a slick smartphone with a great screen and, at the time, it broke new ground in smartphone design, and Apple was very proud of that. However, with the iPhone turned off, it had very little value. But once it was turned on, the iPhone's OS and apps turned it into a completely different device. While it was a phone, the software made it much more—it became a vehicle for applications. It also had another component that really made it sing and dance; it was also an iPod and was tied directly to iTunes. Now it morphed into a much broader multi-purpose device. It was a phone, a vehicle for apps, and an iPod, which made it a great personal mobile entertainment system.
Just a quick public service announcement for anyone interested in the second-generation Apple TV--we noticed this morning that a bunch of them are on eBay starting at $79 brand new (20% off) with Buy It Now prices of $89 (which is still 10% off.) With all the new AirPlay-enabled apps that have been dropping lately, we're finding that the Apple TV is becoming a must-have device for anyone who owns an iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone. Check out the Apple TV on eBay for some great deals.
Read More | Apple TV 2nd Gen on eBay
Thanks to a software update for Apple TV announced Wednesday, owners can now stream live and archived U.S. NBA and MLB games. The Apple TV update version 4.2 also adds 5.1 Dolby audio to Netflix streaming.
Starting at $64.95 a year, the National Basketball Association's (NBA) "League Pass Broadband" lets you follow seven teams, while a $99.95 option lets you watch games from all 30 teams, amounting to more than 40 games a week during the season. However there is a location-based blackout period, meaning that you'll only be able to access your subscription in the state or zip code in which you purchased it.
Meanwhile Major League Baseball's "MLB.TV" streaming package, also available on Roku and PlayStation 3, starts at $19.99/month or $99.99/year for the Standard package; $24.99/month or $119.99 a year for the Premium package. Premium adds the ability to choose home or away team video broadcasts, DVR functionality, and split-screen viewing.
Today Reuters reports on talks that Microsoft has had with several television networks about adding TV show content to the Xbox 360. While the details aren't known, one possibility is that the company could become a virtual operator and sell subscriptions to networks like ABC and NBC, or even add HBO and Showtime as subscription options. This would allow Microsoft to keep competing with rivals like Google (see the currently flailing Google TV) and Apple ( who recently released an updated Apple TV.) Microsoft actually has an advantage here if they choose to move into this area since the Xbox 360 is already in millions of homes, and adding services to the existing platform like that is much easier than releasing and expecting consumers to purchase a new device. If Microsoft plays their cards right, we could see the Xbox 360 take the top position in the battle for the living room.
Read More | Reuters
If Apple merchandise is on your holiday buying list this year, you're gonna wanna be sure to check out MacMall's 36-hour Black Friday sale, which features up to $300 off of Mac computers. The sale includes all Macs, so you can even get a nice discount on the new MacBook Air. The deals offer 6% off the price of a new Mac when all is said and done, but that's not all they're offering for Mac buyers. You also get a free copy of Parallels 6, an HP all-in-one printer, and free 2-day shipping. They've got other items as well, including discounts on the iPod touch, Apple TV, and major discounts on a bunch of consumer electronics like digital cameras, Blu-ray players, and more. Definitely a sale to check out to get the jump on your shopping--whether it's for someone else, or yourself.
Read More | MacMall 36-hour Black Friday sale
The newly redesigned Apple TV is next up in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, and for good reason. You can stream movies, TV shows, photos, and music to the device, and setup just requires plugging it into power, and into your television. A couple minutes later and you're connected to Wi-Fi and streaming Netflix. With iOS 4.2 and the AirPlay feature, you can even send videos and music directly from your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch directly to your television. Mix in HD movies rentals from $3.99 and TV show rentals for $.99 cents, and you have a nice little wireless media extender. You can pick one up now for $99 from Apple, or $98 from Amazon with free shipping.
Wanna finally get in on that AirPlay video action with the new Apple TV? iTunes 10.1 is what you need, and Apple just pushed the update out a little while ago. You can download it right now. Oh, and the release also includes iOS 4.2 support, which should be launching sometime within the next week or so.
Read More | iTunes
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