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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.

Apple releases second betas of iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, and watchOS 3.1.1 to developers

Apple has released its second betas of iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, and watchOS 3.1.1 to developers today. The first betas were released a week ago, and Apple also later added the Single Sign-On feature for Apple TV and iOS beta users.

Apple adds Single Sign-On in tvOS 10.1 and iOS 10.2 betas

Apple has quietly enabled its promised Single Sign On feature on its back-end servers for users running the iOS 10.2 or tvOS 10.1 betas. A new TV Providers option began appearing recently for U.S. users of the Apple TV and iOS betas. On the Apple TV, the setting is 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.

Bell announces Fibe TV support for Canadian Apple TV users

Canadian telecommunications company Bell has announced that its Fibe TV service is now available on the Apple TV, making it the first Canadian television provider to embrace Apple’s television platform. Fibe TV subscribers can download the Bell Fibe TV tvOS app, giving them access to the entire Fibe TV channel lineup from the fourth-generation Apple TV. In its current incarnation, the app simply provides live streaming, although Bell promises that users will be able to watch Fibe TV recordings as well as pause and rewind live TV by the end of the year. While users will still need a Fibe TV subscription and primary Fibe TV receiver, it appears the Apple TV app will eliminate the need to purchase additional secondary receivers. In addition, Bell will begin selling the fourth-generation Apple TV both online and directly from its Bell stores in both Ontario and Québec. [via iPhone in Canada]

Apple seeds first betas of iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1.1 to developers

Apple has released the first betas for iOS 10.2, tvOS 10.1, and watchOS 3.1.1 to developers today. This follows today’s earlier public release of iOS 10.1.1.

Apple to provide more unified TV experience with new ‘TV’ app for Apple TV

During today’s event in Cupertino, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced a new TV app for the Apple designed to provide a unified TV experience with a central launch screen for all movies and TV shows across multiple content apps such as iTunes, HBO NOW, Hulu, Starz, Showtime, and more. Expected to be available in the U.S. in December as part of a tvOS update, the new TV app will provide a “Watch Now” screen showing a play queue of recently watched TV series’, unfinished movies, and recommended content based on what the viewer has previously watched. A “Library” screen will provide unified access to the user’s purchased iTunes Movies and TV Shows, and a “Store” section provides access to iTunes content, as well as directly downloading other content provider apps from within the TV app. During the demonstration, Apple TV team member Jennifer Folds also hinted that the promised Single Sign-on feature for third-party apps would likely be available around the same time that the TV app launches in December. Apple is also bringing the new TV app to the iPhone and iPad, allowing users to see the same content index and view content across all of their devices.

Report: New Apple TV app to provide show recommendations

An Apple TV app set to be announced Thursday will help users find new shows based on what they already like, USA Today reports. Sources said the app has been referred to as “the Watch List” in discussions with network executives, and it will recommend shows based on what viewers are accessing with their Apple TV. The move could be a boon for networks looking to adapt to a digital marketplace where they can’t simply schedule a new show next to an established hit to get their audience to give it a try.

Apple releases fourth tvOS 10.0.1 beta

Apple has released a fourth developer beta of tvOS 10.0.1, following a new iOS 10.1 beta earlier this week. The release notes, along with the minor version number, indicate that this beta is focused primarily on bug fixes and performance improvements to tvOS 10. Registered developers can download the tvOS beta directly from Apple’s developer site or install a configuration profile to update to the latest beta version via the built-in Software Update mechanism in tvOS 10.

Apple releases iOS 10.1 beta 3 to developers

Apple has released the third beta of iOS 10.1 to registered iOS developers today. The company also released its third beta for tvOS 10.0.1. These new releases come less than a week after the second beta releases were released to developers.

Apple discontinues third-generation Apple TV

Apple has officially discontinued the third-generation Apple TV, communicating the news to education partners and pulling the device from its online store, 9to5Mac reports. The company began phasing out the device last month, instructing employees to pull the third-generation models from Apple Store shelves and send them back to Apple. In an email, Apple promised to fulfill backlog orders of the device, but redirected partners to other products for new purchases. Refurbished models are still being sold on Apple’s website.

Apple releases second iOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1, tvOS 10.0.1 developer betas

Apple has now released a second set of developer betas for iOS 10.1, watchOS 3.1, and tvOS 10.0.1 to registered iOS developers. The documentation accompanying the new betas lists few significant changes, suggesting the new versions are primarily focused on fixing bugs and improving performance. Registered iOS developers can download the new betas from Apple’s Developer site.

Twitter releases Apple TV app

Twitter has released the anticipated Apple TV version of its popular social networking app, following reports last month that it was in talks with the NFL to live-stream Thursday-night football games on the big screen. The new Twitter app for the Apple TV goes beyond NFL streaming, however, providing a live Bloomberg Markets channel which can be viewed while accompanied by Tweets, along with Twitter Moments and Top Vines and Top Periscopes. Notably, the app does not provide any access to a user’s own timeline or messages, and reports indicate that the NFL Thursday Night Football feed being used by Twitter is being supplied by CBS.



Apple releases iOS 10, watchOS 3 and tvOS 10

As announced last week, Apple has released iOS 10, its latest operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The update should now be available for over-the-air installation via Settings, General, Software Update, or by connecting to iTunes and using the Check for Updates option. The iOS 10 public release includes the new “Raise to Wake” feature, added Siri intelligence in the keyboard, enhancements to 3D Touch, redesigned Lock Screen, Notification Center, and Control Center user interfaces, the addition of the HomeKit Home app, upgrades to the Phone, Messages, Music, Photos and Maps apps, access to the iMessage App Store, and a number of other under-the-hood performance and stability improvements.

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