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Apple increases maximum tvOS app size to 4GB

Apple has announced to developers that the size limit for tvOS app bundles has been significantly increased, with the new maximum size going up to 4GB from the prior 200MB limit. This change will allow developers to include more media content bundled in their app package so that it installs at the same time the user installs the app on their Apple TV, which should minimize the number of games and other apps that need to download additional content when first opened. tvOS apps can also now host up to 20GB of additional content on the App Store using On-Demand Resources.

This is likely to have an impact on users’ Apple TV storage capacities, meaning users with a lot of larger apps and the lower capacity 32GB Apple TV model may find themselves constrained for space as their apps are updated to include media content within the app bundles. The prior 200MB limit kept the apps small and allowed storage on the Apple TV to be optimized by discarding on-demand data from apps when the Apple TV ran low on space; this will not be an option for an app that stores a large amount of media content within the app bundle itself. This could also be a sign that Apple is preparing to release higher-capacity Apple TV models in the near future.

Apple releases iOS 10.2.1 beta 3, tvOS 10.1.1 beta 2, watchOS 3.1.3 beta 2 to developers

Apple has released the third beta of iOS 10.2.1 to registered developers today, after a holiday break of sorts — the second beta was released before Christmas. A public beta release should soon follow. While a recent tweet claimed an iOS 10.3 beta would introduce “theatre mode” this week, that seems unlikely to happen so soon. Additionally, Apple has also released both the second betas for tvOS 10.1.1 and watchOS 3.1.3 to developers.

Nuvyyo unveils Tablo LIVE ‘Antenna Anywhere’ Stick

Nuvyyo has announced Tablo LIVE, a new single-tuner Wi-Fi connected device that allows users to quickly and easily transform any over-the-air television antenna into a smart receiver for watching live TV on the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple TV. Building on its popular Tablo TV OTA DVR, Tablo LIVE provides a more cost-effective turnkey solution for users who just want to stream live TV without the need for DVR capabilities. Users can connect Tablo LIVE directly to their OTA antenna without having to worry about where their television is located, and stream over-the-air television via their home Wi-Fi network to the Tablo app on just about any digital media platform, including the Apple TV. Apps for Tablo LIVE will provide a user-friendly interface to browse an on-screen 24 hour grid guide with episode and series details, and launch live broadcast TV streams directly from the guide. Notably, unlike the Tablo DVR, there wil be no monthly fee for TV guide data for Tablo LIVE users. Tablo LIVE is expected to be available later this year for $99. In addition, Nuvyyo is currently developing Tablo CLOUD, a DVR storage solution that can be used with the Tablo LIVE device to provide online recording storage and DVR functionality. Tablo CLOUD will be subscription-based and provide a fixed number of hours of cloud-based DVR storage for a single monthly fee. Pricing, plans, and availability for Tablo CLOUD have not yet been announced.

 

Kanex reveals GoPlay Sidekick wireless game controller for iOS devices, Apple TV

Kanex has introduced its new GoPlay Sidekick wireless controller for iOS and Apple TV. The $60 Bluetooth controller is compatible with most controller-supported games on the App Store and claims to provide up to 20 hours of gameplay with its rechargeable battery. The pocket-sized controller’s clamshell case doubles as a stand for your device while playing a game. The controller features a standard four-button layout and includes a D-pad, two analog joysticks and left and right trigger buttons. The controller is specifically designed for Apple devices, even going so far as to use a Lightning cable to charge. The GoPlay Sidekick will be available starting in February.

Apple releases second developer beta of iOS 10.2.1

Apple has released the second beta of iOS 10.2.1 to registered developers, which appears to be focused primarily on bug fixes and minor improvements. A corresponding tvOS 10.1.1 beta has not yet been released, and new watchOS betas remain conspicuously absent.

Minecraft launches for Apple TV

Developer Mojang has brought its popular Minecraft game to Apple TV, according to a blog post on the game’s site. The game costs $20 and is rolling out in various regions today — we personally haven’t seen it yet, but it should be popping up sometime soon. For a limited time ,the company is including “the Holiday 2015, Town Folk, and City Folk skin packs, along with the Plastic, Natural, Cartoon, and Festive 2016 mash-ups” in that $20 purchase price. The Apple TV version doesn’t currently support Minecraft Realms or Xbox Live, but the company promises that future updates will add those features.

Apple TV gets 21 new Aerial screensavers

Apple has added 21 new Aerial screensavers for the fourth-generation Apple TV, with scenery from five new locations, including Greenland, Dubai, Hong Kong, Liwa (UAE), and Los Angeles. Three new scenes from China have also been added. With the exception of Liwa and China, all of the new locations include both day and night scenery. tvOS downloads new screensaver footage on a cyclical basis according to whichever schedule you have set, so users may not see the new screensavers for a while, depending on their download schedule; users can view all of the screensavers at iDownloadBlog, which discovered the new entries and has published a list of links to stream the footage directly from Apple’s servers.

Apple releases first developer betas of iOS 10.2.1, tvOS 10.1.1

Only four days after the public debut of iOS 10.2 and tvOS 10.1, Apple has already released the first betas of iOS 10.2.1 and tvOS 10.1.1 to registered developers. The sparse release notes and very minor version numbering suggest that both of these releases are focused primarily on bug fixes and minor improvements. A new watchOS beta is notably missing at this point, which may be due in part to Apple still addressing recent problems in the watchOS 3.1.1 release earlier this week.

Apple TV’s universal search adds support for 10 more apps in U.S.

Apple TV has added 10 new apps to its universal search list for U.S. users, including some major cable channels. Movies and TV shows on Apple Music, Animal Planet GO, Crunchyroll, CuriosityStream, Investigation Discovery GO, Science Channel GO, TBS, TNT, TLC GO, and Tribeca Shortlist can now be found with a simple search on the fourth-generation Apple TV. For users in Canada, the U.K., and Australia, Apple has added the ability to search kids network Hopster and movie service MUBI. Apple’s website provides a full list of the apps compatible with the Apple TV’s universal search, arranged by country. [via MacRumors]

Apple releases iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1.1

After a significant number of beta releases, Apple has finally released iOS 10.2 to the public today. The release features the new TV app for accessing video content across multiple apps, 100 new emoji, and new screen effects in Messages, along with many other updates, new features, and improvements. Apple also released tvOS 10.1, with its own version of the TV app, and watchOS 3.1.1 for Apple Watch. Users can download iOS 10.2 by going to Settings > General > Software Update.

Apple enables Single Sign-On across all iOS 10 and tvOS 10 devices

Apple has enabled its promised Single Sign-On service for all devices running at least iOS 10 or tvOS 10, despite it only previously appearing in the iOS 10.2 and tvOS 10.1 betas. The service is only accessible to users in the United States, with eight providers currently on board: CenturyLink Prism, DirecTV, Dish, GTA, Hawaiian Telecom, Hotwire, MetroCast, and Sling TV. The Single Sign-On allows subscribers of any of these supported providers to log in with the credentials from their cable/satellite account to access content in supported content apps without having to authenticate to each app separately — apps will simply request the user’s permission to access saved sign-on credentials when first using the app. Note that content provider apps will need to be specifically updated by their developers to add support for Single Sign-On as well. Hopefully, now that the feature is live, we see more cable/satellite providers added to Single Sign-On, as the list is relatively short at this time.

Apple releases fifth beta for tvOS 10.1 to developers

Apple has released the fifth beta for Apple TV’s tvOS 10.1 to developers. We’ll update if any major changes are found, but it’s more likely these updates will offer minor tweaks for features added in previous betas, including the new TV app and Single Sign-On feature.

tvOS, iOS betas gain Single Sign-On support for DirecTV

Users running the latest tvOS and iOS betas are seeing DirecTV being added to the list of Single Sign-On partners. Apple’s initial press release listed DirecTV as a partner, but when the TV app first landed on devices, Dish Network and its Sling TV spinoff were the only major TV providers listed. On the Apple TV, the setting to enable Single Sign-On will be found under Accounts in the Settings app, while on the iPhone and iPad it can be found in the main Settings app, below the settings for social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Vimeo. Enabling the feature makes DirecTV programming available through the TV app, but will also remove the need to log in again for users who are still watching TV through DirecTV’s own app. [via MacRumors]

Sony brings PlayStation Vue to Apple TV

Sony has announced the launch of an updated PlayStation Vue app that adds Apple TV support, bringing the gaming network’s streaming video service to users of Apple’s set-top box. In addition to providing access to viewing PlayStation Vue content, the app also includes unique features such as cloud DVR capabilities and simultaneous streaming, while maintaining the standard look and feel of the PlayStation Vue service with Siri Remote support. Existing PlayStation Vue users can simply download the app onto their Apple TV, link their subscription and start streaming right away, while new users can sign up for a plan through the PlayStation Vue website (an in-app purchase option does not appear to be available).

Apple to reduce cut of in-app subscription payments for streaming video services

Apple is planning to reduce its portion of fees for streaming video service subscriptions sold via the App Store, Bloomberg reports, a move that appears to be aimed at encouraging tighter integration streaming video apps on the iOS and Apple TV platforms. This is the second big move in Apple’s attempts to adjust its in-app subscription pricing models, after the company announced earlier this year that developers would see their share increase for every customer subscription that is retained beyond the first year. With this reported change, Apple will be giving streaming video apps such as Netflix, Hulu, and HBO access to the better deal — reducing Apple’s revenue share to 15 percent — right out of the gate in the first year, provided they integrate with Apple’s forthcoming TV app.

Report: Apple’s video strategy has Hollywood confused

Apple recently tried to work out an exclusive video deal with Chris Rock, but walked away from the discussions and let the comedian’s two stand-up specials go to Netflix instead, The Information reports. This latest chapter in Apple’s scattered efforts to acquire exclusive video content has added to the confusion in Hollywood over what types of media Apple has an interest in acquiring. The company has been working aggressively to land movies for iTunes—most recently securing the rights to offer Michael Moore’s “TrumpLand” earlier than other online providers—and has picked up shows like “Carpool Karaoke” that fit into its strategy for promoting Apple Music. But after meeting with TV producers and movie studios about developing original content for iTunes, Eddy Cue was quoted as saying Apple is “not in the business of trying to create TV shows,” adding that the company is more interested in offering suggestions and guidance. Apple is refusing to commit the large sums of money necessary to compete with streaming rivals like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, leading analysts to worry the company’s hesitation “could stymie Apple’s ability to increase market share for its streaming video device, the Apple TV, and lock more people into the Apple ecosystem.” [via MacRumors]

TV app begins appearing on Apple TVs running tvOS beta in U.S., Canada

The TV app aimed at streamlining the Apple TV’s content discovery experience has begun appearing in the latest tvOS beta for some users in the U.S. and Canada. For those seeing the update, the Apple TV remote’s TV button now takes users to the TV app rather than the home screen. It’s still unclear whether the app’s appearance on Canadian Apple TVs is intentional, as Apple has previously said the feature would be U.S.-only. The app is clearly still a work in progress, with the most recent update cleaning up issues with fonts and menus displaying improperly, although the “Get Started” button on the welcome screen doesn’t yet do anything. The Canadian version also seems to lack access to features, with the “Store” screen showing no content and the app itself of course only providing access to iTunes movies and TV shows since other participating content apps are not available outside of the U.S.

Apple releases third beta for iOS 10.2 and tvOS 10.1 to developers

Apple has released new betas for iOS 10.2 and tvOS 10.1 to developers today. The company seems to be keeping up a weekly schedule of new beta releases at this point. We’ll update if any major changes are found, but it’s more likely these updates will offer minor tweaks from last week’s betas. A public iOS beta release should follow shortly.

Apple releases iBooks StoryTime for Apple TV

Apple has released iBooks StoryTime for U.S. Apple TV users, an interactive spoken-word books app for kids. iBooks StoryTime includes a small selection of handpicks children’s titles with Read-Aloud narration and colourful illustrations that allows children to view and listen to stories on the Apple TV. The Siri Remote can be used to swipe between pages, and parents can turn off Read-Aloud narration to read the story to their children themselves. Additional Read-Aloud books can be purchased using the iBooks app on iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and books purchased by all family members will automatically appear in the iBooks StoryTime library on the Apple TV.

Direct web linking to tvOS apps now available

Apple has announced to developers that they can now generate direct links to Apple TV applications that will preview in a user’s web browser, similar to the way in which iOS and macOS links presently work. Links to universal apps — those that include iOS and tvOS versions in the same application package — will still go to the iOS app by default, and no specific Apple TV references appear in those app previews; however, apps that exist solely for the Apple TV can now be previewed on the web, with full descriptions, screenshots, and reviews. Notably, it appears that Mac/PC users will still need to visit the Apple TV App Store to actually download or purchase tvOS apps — unlike iOS apps, a “View in iTunes” button does not appear for tvOS-only apps. However, links opened on an iPhone or iPad will automatically take the user to the iOS App Store, where the app can be purchased and then automatically downloaded to the Apple TV.

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