Yesterday, Apple released Apple TV 3.0, the first “major” release for the device in about two years. The company has often referred to the Apple TV as a hobby, as opposed to a real business. That said, there are a few nice additions that can be found in the Apple TV 3.0 update, so we give you a full walkthrough of the device, giving you a sampling of some of the new hotness.
Some of the standout features are the obviously redesigned home screen. Instead of the centered grid, you get a full screen menu that makes it easier to navigate right to the content that you want. I mean, it’s nice, but it seems to be the biggest visual upgrade to the device, which we think is in need of a hardware refresh. You also score Genius DJ playlist abilities, nice for parties and such, but I rock a Sonos system, so it doesn’t really appeal to me personally. Same goes for Internet radio, but it is there as a feature, and it’s nice. The one we like is the addition of iTunes Extras and iTunes LP content. We are fans of the iTunes LP, so being able to see it on an HDTV, which is where we think it shines, is also “nice.”
If you are picking up on a trend, you win. This whole 3.0 business is, in a word, “nice.” It isn’t anything more than that. It brings the Apple TV in line with other Apple products, allowing it to do things that other devices can do, and it gets a UI refresh, and the Helvetica font. All well and good, but let’s hope that next time around we get some decent new hardware. In any event, hit the play button for the full tour.
iTunes 9 details have slipped out just a tad bit early, and we’ve got the details for you. The main attraction here seems to be a completely redesigned and optimized iTunes Store. Navigation has been made a heck of a lot easier, and there is even a new full window display that allows you to browse the iTunes Store in full screen. Seems silly, but hey, why not?
There are also new preview mechanisms that let you preview content from anywhere, just by rolling over it with your mouse.
iTunes LP is a new addition to the iTunes experience, which Apple describes as a “gorgeous, immersive digital version of select albums.” Basically, while listening to an album, you can also get animated lyrics, liner notes, performance videos, photos, and more. We have to see it in action, but it sounds an awful lot like the Zune Now Playing feature.
There are now iTunes Extras. When you rent a digital movie, you get the movie, plus extras. Typically, you would only get to view special features on a DVD. Now iTunes brings you cast interviews, deleted scenes, photo galleries, and more.
Aside from these new features, iTunes also picks up some nice syncing enhancements. You can now arrange how you want apps to appear on your iPhone and iPod touch right in iTunes, and sync those right over. There is also a much more powerful syncing mechanism for all the other content (like, sync just these Faces for photos, sync all of this artist, etc.)
There’s also a new feature called Home Sharing, which lets you actually move content around from up to 5 computers in your home, rather than just being able to stream between them. iTunes 9 will be available very shortly.
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