Apple is developing a new keyboard for the full-size iPad that “mimics” Microsoft’s Surface touch cover, according to a blog post from Jamie Ryan, who formerly worked for Apple in Developer Relations. Ryan writes that it’s “not clear whether the process is far enough along” to debut tomorrow, but a number of different keyboards have been tested; he speculates the keyboard could use Bluetooth 4.0 to connect. As Ryan also claims that other “cover like” accessories have been looked at, there’s a possibility that Apple’s “We still have a lot to cover” invitation for tomorrow’s event is a reference to this. He also writes that Apple believes that “the market for the large iPad is mainly professionals looking to work on it whereas the iPad mini is mainly content consumption.”
It also appears as if new Apple TV hardware won’t be debuting at tomorrow’s event, despite prior claims from MG Siegler, who tweeted last month that new Apple TV hardware would be unveiled in October, and in August claimed that a “television product” with a possible new way of interacting with the device could be released by November. Siegler now says that “the most recent whispers I have heard is that the Apple TV project has been delayed a bit.” While leaving open the possibility that there could be an updated Apple TV unit or software at tomorrow’s event, “the device with some sort of newfangled control system” doesn’t appear to be ready to ship.
Apple has added Vevo and NHL channels to Apple TV in Germany. Users will find the channels have been automatically added to the home screen. Vevo requires users to sign up for a free account, while the NHL channel requires a subscription. U.S. Apple TV users received the Vevo channel in August, and the NHL channel was added back in 2011. [via Macerkopf (translated link)]
An over-the-air update for Apple TV has added two new channels to the device — Major League Soccer and Disney Junior. MLS has experienced a recent spike in popularity, and the new channel will let users watch live games and highlights.
Disney Junior is the third Disney channel to hit Apple TV, joining the flagship Disney Channel and Disney XD. As one would might guess, Disney Junior is oriented toward younger viewers. It requires a cable provider-specific login, as did the prior Disney channels.
Apple TV has reposted its 6.0 software update. Interestingly, the update now appears to be based upon iOS 7.0.2, making Apple TV the first device to include this version of iOS. The iPhone 5c and 5s currently run iOS 7.0.1, as did the original version of the 6.0 software update. Apple pulled the most recent software update on Monday after complaints of bricking devices, among other issues.
Marshall Headphones has announced the Stanmore ($400), a new Bluetooth speaker. Modeled after a vintage Marshall amp, the Stanmore also has analog knobs for control. The Stanmore puts out 80 watts of total output from a 5 1/4” woofer and two 3/4” tweeters.
Optical output is also included with the Stanmore, so devices including the Apple TV can be connected to the speaker. A 3.5mm input and RCA input are on board, as well. Marshall’s Stanmore is available now in black or cream.
Apple has pulled Apple TV Software Update 6.0, which was released last Friday. The software update — which provided support for iTunes Radio, among other enhancements — caused some Apple TVs to fail during the update process, requiring an iTunes restore. According to reports, some Apple TVs have been “bricked” (rendered inoperable) due to the update, while others were unable to download any content. Apple TV 5.3 is currently shown as the “up to date” software once more. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has released Apple TV Software Update 6.0, the latest feature and content update for its set-top box. The new version provides support for Apple’s new iTunes Radio streaming service, introduced in iOS 7 and iTunes 11.1 for users in the U.S., along with several other enhancement, including the ability to browse and purchase from the iTunes Store, sync Podcast stations across multiple Apple TV and iOS devices, and access videos from the new Shared Streams feature in iOS 7.
The update also lists support for AirPlay from iCloud, a new feature that will allow users to play videos from iTunes in the Cloud using an iOS device, and highlights the new content channels that were added at the end of August. Apple TV Software Update 6.0 is available now for the second- and third-generation Apple TV and can be downloaded by selecting Settings, General, Check for Updates.
Although not addressed during yesterday’s media event, the Apple TV is scheduled for a software update on Sept. 18, AllThingsD reports. One new feature in the update will let users stream their purchased iTunes content to another user’s Apple TV using AirPlay. The content will stream directly from the cloud to an Apple TV — it will no longer be necessary to download the content to an iOS device to send to the TV. It’s also likely that the update will contain iTunes Radio, Apple’s new music exploration service. The software update will be released the same day as iOS 7.
Three recent shipments of “set top boxes” received by Apple in August could signify a new upcoming version of its Apple TV. A blog post citing bills of lading documents notes that Apple received a 35,000-pound shipment from Shenzhen, China on Aug. 25 described as “Set Top Box with Communication Function.” An Aug. 18 shipment with the same weight was described as “Set Top Boxes,” and an initial 15,000-pound shipment of set top boxes was received another week earlier on Aug. 11. The large shipments came from Apple supplier BYD; a previous shipment of “set top boxes” from Apple partner Hon Hai/Foxconn in December 2012 contained prior-generation Apple TVs. It’s possible Apple could reveal a new TV product — a refreshed Apple TV or something else — at the company’s Sept. 10 event, which is believed to be focused on iPhones and iOS 7. If not, a later expected event for new iPads could bring news of a new TV-related product. [via Panjiva]
Apple TV is experiencing an unusual outage that is preventing users from accessing the TV Shows features of the devices. As of this writing, the TV Shows icon has been missing for over an hour.
A number of users have tweeted about the issue within the past hour, and our devices are not seeing the icon, either. Apple has yet to comment on the outage.
Updated: The TV Shows app returned to U.S. Apple TVs after a roughly five-hour outage.
Apple has added ESPNEWS and ESPN Deportes to the ESPN channel list on Apple TV. ESPNEWS is ESPN’s 24-hour sports news channel, and ESPN Deportes is the company’s Spanish-language sports channel. There are now seven ESPN channels on Apple TV, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, and Goal Line, the last of which is a live college football channel only available during college football Saturdays.
All of the ESPN channels require a cable provider sign-in. It’s a big week for new channels on Apple TV, as Vevo, Disney, Disney XD, The Weather Channel, and the Smithsonian Channel were just added on Tuesday.
Apple has added new channels to Apple TV today — Vevo, Disney Channel, Disney XD, The Weather Channel, and the Smithsonian Channel. Disney XD is a separate channel from Disney Channel, aimed at preteens and teenagers; both Disney channels require signing in with a selected cable provider. Smithsonian Channel includes a collection of on-demand videos, and does not require an existing cable TV subscription. After requesting your city or zip code, The Weather Channel uses a new interface to show you today’s weather, full-screen hourly and 10-day forecasts, region-specific forecast videos, access to Weather Channel shows, topics of interest, and featured videos.
It was expected that Vevo would be introduced to the device soon, and the channel has both live and on-demand music videos. Interestingly, a system update isn’t needed to see the new channels, which means a prior update enabled Apple to add full-fledged channels to the Apple TV at any time. The new channels do not appear to be available outside of the United States at this point.
A new report from Quartz suggests that Apple is continuing to pursue talks for a future television offering. The report suggests that Apple has shifted its focus to negotiating directly with individual content providers rather than traditional cable companies. New sources familiar with the matter have revealed that Apple is negotiating with production studios and networks such as Disney’s ESPN, Time Warner’s HBO, and Viacom about possible strategies. Additionally, Apple reportedly has concluded that it “doesn’t need all, even most, content providers on board before it can release a TV set that people would buy,” rather just “enough good programming to distinguish the new product.”
While it remains unclear what stage these talks are at, sources indicate that Apple’s strategy could involve forming its own pay television service with content delivered entirely over the Internet—a virtual multichannel video programming distributor (“MVPD”), akin to planned offerings from Google, Intel, and Sony. With agreements from content providers, Apple could also offer channel-specific apps without the need for an existing cable television subscription. Apple has already gradually rolled out new services to the current Apple TV set top box, with both ESPN and HBO GO being added in a software update in June. These apps, however, depend on existing cable television subscriptions to the ESPN and HBO channels, as well as streaming agreements with specific cable providers.
Following previous reports that music video site Vevo is developing an Apple TV app, the Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Vevo—a joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group—has already signed a deal with Apple to deliver on-demand music videos to the Apple TV along with a new channel of original programming. The Wall Street Journal cites “people familiar with the matter” as noting that Apple could release the Vevo Apple TV app as soon as this week. A similar deal has been made with Samsung, however its launch is reportedly “a few weeks away.”
In a CNBC interview, Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson was asked what’s “gone wrong” with Apple’s plan to revolutionize TV, which Isaacson heard firsthand from Jobs before his death in 2011. While the hardware and software were reportedly not problems, getting all the cable providers on board with on-demand programming was the main issue, Isaacson said. “That’s very hard with the cable bundling system we have,” he said.
When Jobs spoke of cracking the code to TV, “He was talking about being able to get whatever you want, on demand, like you could with any song for 99 cents instantly in the original iTunes store,” Isaacson said. And creating an easy interface for viewers isn’t the problem. “That is something I think Apple can crack,” he said, suggesting that the goal was to eliminate multiple remote controls and multiple boxes in favor of a simpler control system anyone could understand.
Music video site Vevo is developing an Apple TV app that will play its 24/7 music video channel, according to AdAge. The app would play Vevo TV, a traditional music video channel that plays videos around the clock without letting viewers select which videos they want to watch. Vevo already has both a regular and iPad-only HD app for iOS. Neither Apple nor Vevo commented on the report.
As Apple has recently released Apple TV app-like sections for HBO and ESPN while readying a Time Warner Cable app, the company has also “talked in-depth with other big distributors about similar apps,” according to The New York Times. So far, Apple’s move into TV has been focused on cooperating with distributors and programmers, though its “grand vision” — long-rumored to involve a TV set — is still a mystery. Apple apparently intends to collect fees from distributors to provide enhanced service while continuing to keep current subscribers paying for cable. An example of this enhanced service should be seen in the upcoming Time Warner app, which some say will offer a programming guide that’s “far superior” to Time Warner’s. It’s also noted that Apple has proposed an ad-skipping technology that would charge users for skipping ads, as reported earlier this week by Jessica Lessin. The technology would aim to compensate networks for ad revenue lost, preserving a monetization option for digitally distributed TV programming.
Maclocks has introduced the Apple TV Security Mount ($45). Made from aluminum and colored black to match the Apple TV, the security mount includes a bracket and lock to keep an Apple TV secure. The design allows for proper ventilation to prevent overheating, and protecting against Wi-Fi signal loss.
The Apple TV Security Mount can be secured to any flat surface using mounting holes in the bracket, and a security cable lock can be added for $20. Maclocks’ Apple TV Security Mount is available now.
Apple is close to a deal with Time Warner Cable that would give Time Warner subscribers access to channels on Apple TV, Bloomberg reports. An agreement between the two companies could be announced “within a few months,” according to sources. A recent Apple TV update added HBO GO and WatchESPN to the device, among other subscription services. Sources also say Apple is hiring Hulu senior vice president Pete Distad to help negotiate with media and cable companies.
Noted within Apple’s official announcement regarding HBO GO and WatchESPN launching on Apple TV, the company has disclosed that iTunes users have downloaded more than one billion TV episodes and 380 million movies from iTunes. While the numbers pale by comparison with app and song download numbers, they represent interesting milestones for video content. Apple notes that iTunes users are now purchasing more than 800,000 TV episodes and more than 350,000 movies per day. The Apple TV now offers users more than 60,000 movies and more than 230,000 TV episodes.