Apple today released tvOS 10.2 for the Apple TV, adding improvements to scrolling behaviour, support for cross-device movie rentals, and improvements to the Apple TV Remote iOS app. The new “rent anywhere” feature debuted last week in iTunes 12.6 and in iOS 10.3 earlier today, now allows users to rent a movie in from iTunes on their Mac or PC or on their iPhone and iPad and watch it on their Apple TV. When scrolling in a long list, an alphabetical selector will now appear at the right side of the TV screen to allow users to scroll more quickly to a section of the list.
Apple has released a sixth set of new betas to developers today — tvOS 10.2 for Apple TV and watchOS 3.2 for Apple Watch. The tvOS 10.2 update boasts improved scrolling support, and watchOS 3.2 brings the screen-disabling Theater Mode to the Apple Watch, among other improvements.
Plex has announced that its new Plex Cloud feature, originally released as a limited beta last fall, is now available to all Plex Pass subscribers. The Plex Cloud service expands the capabilities of the company’s media streaming platform, allowing users to store their movies, TV shows, and other media content in the cloud rather than, or in addition to, running their own Plex Media Server at home. Although Plex Cloud integrated with Amazon Drive when originally launched in beta, the fully-deployed Plex Cloud service instead allows you to simply tie into your choice of three major storage providers — Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive — and use whatever paid storage you have available on these services.
Apple has added the second-generation Apple TV to its list of vintage and obsolete products, effectively ending all support for the device in most parts of the world. While the second-generation Apple TV is well out of warranty coverage, Apple still continues to provide parts and repair services for its products for a period of 5-7 years after the last date of manufacture. The “vintage” designation for the second-generation Apple TV applies only in California and Turkey, where Apple is required by law to provide service for up to 7 years; in all other parts of the world, the device has been declared “obsolete” and is no longer eligible for any kind of hardware service. Apple typically declares products Vintage” when they have not been manufactured for more than five years, but less than seven. “Obsolete” products are those that have not been manufactured for more than seven years. [via AppleInsider]
Over the next few months Google will be rolling out YouTube TV, a web-based streaming TV subscription service offering more than 40 broadcast and cable networks, The Wall Street Journal reports. Apple’s rumored efforts at putting together a similar package reportedly stalled over negotiations with networks about the cost of programming, but Google has put together a package that includes network broadcasters ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox alongside major cable networks like ESPN, MSNBC and Fox News. Discovery, Viacom, AMC and Scripps are also in talks to be added to the service at a later date. The move is targeting both people who are keen to get rid of their cable subscription and an emerging group of younger customers who have never paid for a traditional cable TV package. “There’s no question millennials love great TV content,” said YouTube Chief Executive Susan Wojcicki. “But what we’ve seen is they don’t want to watch it in the traditional setting.”
Following yesterday’s release of iOS 10.3 and watchOS 3.2 developer betas, Apple has released a fourth beta of tvOS to developers today, continuing development on a new version that will bring features such as accelerated and improved scrolling within apps that present long lists of content, as well as Mobile Device Management support for enterprise and education environments, and support for the new hardware-accelerated VideoToolbox encoding and decoding framework and Apple File System (APFS).
Facebook is reportedly in talks with Major League Baseball to live stream one game each week during the 2017 season, Reuters reports. The move raises the possibility that the broadcast could also land on the company’s new Apple TV app, similar to the deal reached by Twitter to stream Thursday night NFL games on the device. While Facebook’s promises about its upcoming Apple TV video app make no mention of using it to stream live sports, the company has been making deals to stream everything from Mexican soccer games to table tennis matches, and sources close to the discussions say the company is already in “advanced talks” with MLB.
Apple has released a third batch of new betas to developers today — iOS 10.3 for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, tvOS 10.2 for Apple TV, and watchOS 3.2 for Apple Watch. iOS 10.3 contains Find My AirPods support, tvOS 10.2 boasts improved scrolling support, and watchOS 10.2 brings the screen-disabling Theater Mode to the Apple Watch, among other improvements. A public beta for iOS 10.3 should be available in the near future.
Apple is planning to release a new Apple TV sometime this year which will include ultra-high-definition 4K support, Bloomberg reports. According to people familiar with the plans, the Apple TV is internally codenamed “J105” and will also feature more vivid colors, but little else is known about the new device. Sources suspect that it may not include any other significant new features beyond the processor upgrade necessary to support the higher 4K resolution.
Today EPIX announced it has joined the ranks of other pay channels like HBO and Showtime, offering an Apple TV app for the first time. EPIX is offering a “limited free trial of the app exclusively on Apple TV,” with a report from Variety spelling out that new subscribers enrolling through Apple TV will receive a four-week free trial before having to sign up for the channel through their cable provider. The app provides access to the channel’s live programming and the ability to add content to a queue, search through the channel’s older content, browse curated collections and view movie trailers. The app is also available on iPhone and iPad, where users can download content for offline viewing.
Apple has recruited Timothy Twerdahl, the former head of Amazon’s Fire TV unit, to be the new vice president heading up Apple TV’s product marketing, Bloomberg reports. The move has pushed out the role’s former occupant, Pete Distad, who sources say will now be working with Eddy Cue on Apple’s ongoing efforts to secure new streams of content. Twerdahl brings plenty of experience in the streaming content and set-top device industry, spending time as an executive at Netflix and vice president at Roku before he landed at Amazon.
Apple has given third-party Apple TV accessory makers access to tvOS specs that will allow them to make use of App Launch and a slew of new accessibility features, 9to5Mac reports. The tvOS 10.0.1 update released in October added support for the new features, but Apple only recently made the necessary information available to partners in the Made-for-iPhone/iPad/Apple TV licensing program. Now accessory makers producing things like game controllers can instruct the device to prompt users to install companion apps like iOS devices already do, simplifying the installation process and handling things like firmware updates. WiFi Accessory Configuration is also enabled to allow wireless devices piggyback off of the Apple TV to avoid manually selecting the correct network and entering the password to connect. VoiceOver features to provide audio cues for what’s on the screen for the visually impaired is also now possible.
Apple has released a new batch of second betas to developers today — iOS 10.3 for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, tvOS 10.2 for Apple TV, and watchOS 3.2 for Apple Watch. iOS 10.3 contains Find My AirPods support, tvOS 10.2 boasts improved scrolling support, and watchOS 10.2 brings the screen-disabling Theater Mode to the Apple Watch, among other improvements. A public beta for iOS 10.3 should be available in the near future.
Kicking off Apple’s investor conference call following the company’s announcement of quarterly numbers for Q1 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that the quarterly results represented the highest revenue in Apple’s history, along with breaking unit and revenue records for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, services, and Mac, as well as four out of five major geographic segments where Apple operates. Cook explained that the iPhone had a tremendous quarter thanks to exceptional demand, and that the iPhone 7 Plus demand was especially strong and represented a higher portion of the new product mix than Apple has ever seen with prior “Plus” models. Apple Pay users more than tripled over the past year, with four new countries added in the past quarter, bringing Apple Pay into a total of 13 markets; hundreds of millions of transactions and billions of dollars in purchases were made using Apple Pay in the December quarter alone. Cook also noted that Apple Pay on the web has been a success with over two million small businesses now able to accept online invoice payments using Apple Pay via services such as Intuit and Freshbooks, and revealed that soon Comcast customers will be able to pay their bills online using Apple Pay. Mac also returned to growth in the prior quarter with the release of the new MacBook Pro models and generated its highest quarterly revenue ever. Cook noted that most customers in the quarter were buying their first Mac, with the majority coming from the Windows platform.
Following yesterday’s release of iOS 10.2.1 and tvOS 10.1.1, Apple has rolled out its first betas of iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2. Featuring a build number of 14E5230e, the iOS 10.3 beta adds Location and Play Sound for AirPods as part of the Find My iPhone feature, allowing users to initiate a high volume sound emission from AirPods to aid in locating them, although there is no mention in the release notes of the “theater mode” that was rumored to be included in iOS 10.3. The release notes for iOS 10.3 beta 1 also mention that new SiriKit car commands are in development — although the notes do not expand on the feature — and that the emergency SOS feature remains supported only in India. Enhancements to WebKit will allow web developers to create alternative page styles that respect the “Reduce Motion” setting on iOS devices.
The release notes for tvOS 10.2 beta 1 note that the update now adds accelerated scrolling support for UIKit and TVMLKit apps that will allow users to scroll through large views of content much more quickly using large swipes of the Siri Remote, as well as an index that can be accessed by swiping on the far right side of the Siri Remote. Device Enrollment and Mobile Device Management support has also been expanded for provisioning Apple TVs in enterprise and education environments.
In addition to today’s iOS release, Apple has also released updates for Apple TV and Apple Watch. tvOS 10.1.1 comes to the fourth-gen Apple TV, and watchOS 3.1.3 was released for Apple Watch. Like iOS 10.2.1, both of these updates also appear to be primarily focused on performance improvements and bug fixes. watchOS 3.1.3 can be downloaded through the iOS Apple Watch app.
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 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 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 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.