As soon as Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs hit the streets, buzz about a possible Apple television set has hit a fever pitched. The idea was renewed based on comments Jobs made that he had finally "cracked" the interface for such a device. Now a new report suggests that we may have already met that interface: Siri.
It's been less than a month since the new digital voice assistant on the iPhone 4S debuted to the public, but Apple may already have plans for it to feature as the controller of a connected TV. Nick Bilton, writing for the Times' Bits blog, says Apple engineers tried one thing after another in their search to simplify or do away with the remote control. After floating ideas like a wireless keyboard or iPhone control, they eventually had their eureka moment: just talk to it.
Although the report cites anonymous sources who say Apple has a television in the works, it's not clear if the information about Siri as a controller comes from them or is Bilton's speculation. It does seem like a logical move for Apple to include Siri in future products, particularly any TVs it may be working on. However, it remains to be seen if consumers fully embrace it as a control mechanism or see it as a barely useful extra. In addition, integrating Siri would require a level of electronics that most TVs don't have, pushing the price up.
Monster Costume, an iOS developer focused on recreating the way children interact with books, has released Bartleby's Book of Buttons Volume 2, and it's got some nice AirPlay surprises packed in. When using an AirPlay mirroring-capable device like the iPad 2, iPhone 4, or iPhone 4S, you can send the story to your Apple TV in high definition, while the device then become a controller for progressing the story. We've been fans of Bartleby since Volume 1, and you can pick up Bartleby Vol. 2 now on the App Store. Full release after the break.
Apple has been busy updating their Dev Center with another iOS 5 beta update, and today developers can go and grab iOS 5 beta 7. If you are already running beta 5 or later, then you can perform an over-the-air (OTA) update directly from your device, with no need to use iTunes. You can now grab iOS 5 beta 7 for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV, alongside iTunes 10.5 beta 7 and Xcode 4.2 Developer Preview 7 for both Snow Leopard (4C177) and Lion (4D177b.)
Apple has been busy updating their Dev Center with another iOS 5 beta update, and today developers can go and grab iOS 5 beta 6. If you are already running beta 5, then you can perform an over-the-air (OTA) update directly from your device, with no need to use iTunes. You can now grab iOS 5 beta 6 for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Apple TV, alongside iTunes 10.5 beta 6 and Xcode 4.2 Developer Preview 6 for both Snow Leopard (4C5163c) and Lion (4D163b.)
In this video you get a look at an unannounced feature of Apple's AirPlay. You have an iPad 2 running Bartleby's Book of Buttons: Vol. II, and you have an Apple TV. Now, this demo isn't showing the AirPlay wireless capability, due to the NDA, and instead uses a cable - but make no mistake, this is already working wirelessly over AirPlay.
What is interesting is that you have something showing on the iPad display, and something totally different showing on the Apple TV. In other words, the Apple TV is acting as the app, and the iPad has become the controller for the app. Imagine the possibilities this introduces for iPad gaming.
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Apple recently started allowing users to re-download TV shows purchased through iTunes, a feature already available for books, apps, and music. Movies are the one hold-out, but AppAdvice says iTunes Reply will add movies to the re-download list for a "full-fledged" service and potentially allow users to stream everything via Apple TV and iOS. No word on the desktop.
The service would apply to media purchased back to January 1, 2009. As Apple signs the appropriate licensing agreements, the company will put arrows next to purchased shows and movies to indicate that they are eligible for replay, AppAdvice said.
The blog said users should "expect this to go public in the coming weeks" and framed it as "an extension of what Apple is already doing with iCloud."
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.