In a move intended to promote its own Prime Video service, Amazon is banning the sale of competing video streaming devices on its online store, Bloomberg reports. An email recently sent to its marketplace sellers noted that it will no longer be selling Apple TV and Google Chromecast devices; no new listings will be permitted and existing listings will be removed on October 29. In the email, Amazon stated that “It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.” Prime Video is not supported on the Apple TV and Google Chromecast, although of course Amazon’s own Fire TV supports the service, as do other platforms by Roku, Microsoft, and Sony, which will continue to be permitted for sale on Amazon. With the new Apple TV supporting third-party apps, it’s unclear whether Amazon may opt to build a Prime Video app for Apple’s new set-top box platform. Apple’s new Apple TV is set for release this month, but no firm release date has been announced yet.
Apple has released the second beta of its tvOS for the new Apple TV to registered developers, allowing those who have already received a development kit for the new Apple TV to continue getting a head start on Apple TV App Development prior to the public release of the new set-top box. The release notes for the second beta indicate fixes in areas including app launching, Bluetooth, Game Center, home screen, keyboards, media playback, screen savers, and more. The tvOS beta can be downloaded by registered developers from Apple’s Developer Site; a new Apple TV is required to run the tvOS beta.
The new Apple TV supports the use of Bluetooth headphones and speakers, 9to5Mac reports in a hands-on look at the device. While the new model’s Bluetooth capability has already been mentioned in regards to game controllers, the ability to link wireless headphones and speakers will appeal to a broad group of users who want to listen to music or view movies without using their TV’s speakers. Apple has yet to announce a firm release date for the new Apple TV, which the company says will be coming in late October — Apple’s website still just lists the device as “coming soon.”
CBS is planning to launch its All Access service for the Apple TV, according to a new report from 9to5Mac. Citing sources with knowledge of the matter, the $6/month All Access subscription service could be coming to Apple TV “in the near future.” The service has just been announced for the Android TV platform, however, a deal could apparently not be worked out with Apple in time for the launch of the new Apple TV. The CBS All Access service provides subscribers with live streaming from local CBS TV stations and on-demand access to a library of 6,500 TV episodes, and is currently available for iOS, Android, and Roku, but remains the one major service missing from the Apple TV platform. In its press release earlier today, CBS did note that support for “additional connected devices” is coming, although no specific platforms were mentioned.
Games made for the new Apple TV must support the device’s included remote, according to the App Programming Guide for tvOS, as pointed out by developer Dustin Westphal in a recent tweet. Although the device will support third-party controllers, those controllers can’t be required to play a game. This represents a change — as recently as last week, Apple allowed developers to require an extended game controller. Apple’s guide also notes “tvOS games that support controllers must support the extended control layout,” and games that support that layout must be playable solely using one standalone controller. All controllers for tvOS games must also have a pause button. [via TouchArcade]
Popular media streaming app Plex is coming to Apple TV, according to a report from IT World. Plex co-founder Scott Olechowski confirmed that the company is awaiting tvOS developer beta information to work on adapting the app to the new platform. The app — which organizes video, music and photos on a computer and allows them to be streamed to media players, smart TVs and mobile devices — is available on iOS, but has only been accessible on Apple TV through a software hack. While Olechowski declined to give a timeline for Plex’s debut on Apple TV, he said there is no question that it will be possible to run a fully loaded version of the app on the new platform. “Our goal is to enable people to enjoy Plex on the hardware platforms of their choice, and there is no doubt this will be a top platform for us,” he said.
SteelSeries has announced Nimbus, the first wireless gamepad controller for the new Apple TV. Featuring a rechargeable battery with over 40 hours of life, a Lightning connector for rapid charging, and pressure sensitive buttons for precise control, Nimbus is designed to allow users to take advantage of the gaming capabilities of Apple’s new tvOS platform, while also supporting the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The SteelSeries Nimbus Gaming Controller is expected to be available on Apple’s online store and in Apple Retail stores in late October for $50.
A new tweet from Steve Troughton-Smith has revealed that Apple has actually listed the new Apple TV’s RAM in the documentation as 2GB – a very uncharacteristic move for the company which normally says nothing publicly about the amount of RAM in each of its iOS devices.
Very out of character, Apple has listed the new AppleTV’s RAM amount in the documentation (it’s 2GB)— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) September 9, 2015
In a similar vein, an Adobe blog post yesterday revealed that the new iPad Pro is expected to include an unprecedented 4GB of RAM, although the memory references were later removed from the post, making it unclear whether the information is in fact accurate or whether Apple simply may not yet want these details revealed. (via GforGames)
In order to give developers a chance to develop Apple TV applications in advance of the public release of the new set-top box, Apple is making a limited number of Apple TV Developer Kits available to registered Apple Developer Program members. To qualify, developers must already be members of the Apple Developer Program, must be located in one of 22 specific countries and must register to request a kit by Sept 11 at 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time. The kit includes the new Apple TV, Apple TV Remote, Power cord, Lightning to USB Cable, USB-A to USB-C Cable, and documentation. Apple notes that due to limited availability, priority will be given to teams that already have apps on the App Store, and developers will be notified of whether or not they have been selected beginning on Sept. 14.
In addition, Apple has already posted developer documentation on building apps for the new Apple TV as well as downloads and release notes of the new tvOS beta. Of particular note is that “the maximum size of an Apple TV app is limited to 200MB. Anything beyond this size needs to be packaged and loaded using on-demand resources.”
Apple today debuted its long-awaited next-generation Apple TV set-top box, incorporating what the company calls a “new foundation for TV” consisting of more powerful hardware, a modernized operating system, a completely revamped user experience and a development framework and App Store for facilitating third-party apps. The new Apple TV will include a remote that includes a glass touch surface and Siri support for interacting with the TV user interface. Users can swipe to navigate through menus, or give a wide variety of Siri voice commands to search for and play content, look up information, and navigate the Apple TV. A new Universal Search feature allows users to find content across multiple sources — currently iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, HBO, and Showtime — as well as searching with Siri for content by type (“action films”), actor, or even guest star.
When viewing content, users can also click and swipe to scrub through a show with thumbnails preview images shown on the scrubber bar, or use Siri commands such as “skip ahead 7 minutes” to go forward, or “what did she say?” to skip back 15 seconds and temporarily turn on captions. Contextual information can also be looked up when watching a movie or TV show by issuing Siri commands such as “Who stars in this?” to see cast information, or even non-contextual information such as sports scores or weather. A notification overlay appears to provide information without taking the user out of the current video, and users can either dismiss or swipe up to pause playback and show more detail.
Ahead of what 9to5Mac believes will be Apple’s only event this fall, the site’s sources have spilled more last-minute details about the company’s new products. Contrary to previous rumors that had the iPad Pro starting at 64GB of storage, the new device will reportedly start at a base 32GB storage capacity — still double that of current iPad base models — priced at $800. 64GB and 128GB models are expected to cost $900 and $1,000, respectively, and LTE-capable models will tack on another $130 — bringing the total cost for a top-of-the-line iPad Pro to $1,130, just under the base price of a new Retina MacBook. In addition to camera upgrades, all-new “3D Touch Display” screens, improved A9 chips and more efficient wireless systems, the new iPhones are expected to feature always-on Siri functionality, allowing users to activate Apple’s personal assistant simply by saying, “Hey Siri” at any time. Current iPhone models have to be plugged into a power source to activate that feature.
The fourth-generation Apple TV is getting software upgrades too, expected to run a new iOS 9-based system appropriately named “tvOS.” While based on the current Apple TV OS, the new system reportedly includes plenty of new elements from iOS 9 and El Capitan, including enhanced transparency effects. And finally, although Apple Watch isn’t expected to get a second-generation version this year, the company is expected to debut new gold color options and bands at today’s event — a PRODUCT(RED) Sport band box has already been posted on Twitter — as well as possible announcements about the company’s collaborations with popular fashion brands. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. Pacific time (1 EST) today.
Twitter’s Periscope team has been secretly building an Apple TV app, TechCrunch reports. With Apple expected to unveil a new Apple TV set-top box tomorrow that includes an App Store (yet no official third-party SDK has been released), it seems Apple has approached some third-party developers quietly, in much the same way as the company handled its initial HomeKit rollout. Sources for the report confirm Periscope will be one of the first apps to debut for the new Apple TV, and although the specific functionality of the app has not yet been revealed, it seems likely that it will be focused on allowing viewers to watch Periscope streams on the big screen.
CBS announced it will stream Super Bowl 50, four NFL playoff games and and two regular season games through its CBS Sports app, available on Apple TV and several other platforms. The live streams are available for free and won’t require authentication to be viewed. The October 4 game between the Jets and Dolphins in London will be the first to stream live, followed by the November 26 Thanksgiving Day game between the Panthers and Cowboys. All of CBS’ AFC playoff coverage will be streamed as well, including Wild Card, Divisional, and Championship games.
The fourth-generation Apple TV will have a faster processor, but will lack support for 4K video streaming, 9to5Mac reports. Sources said the new Apple TV will contain the A8 chip found in current iPhones — making it much faster than the previous Apple TV model — and run an iOS 9 core capable of reducing the size of App Store apps and improving load times for gaming. But even with all its hardware upgrades, the new Apple TV won’t feature 4K support for content streaming or AirPlay and sports the same HDMI and USB ports as the current Apple TV box. There is still speculation about whether the new Apple TV will feature the same 8 GB of internal storage as previous models, with sources saying Apple has considered making a 16 GB model the new standard — or at least offering a model with 16 GB of storage for a slightly higher price. Either way, sources seem to agree that some model of the new set-top box will start at $149.
The device’s motion-sensitive metal remote control will now come in a black/gray color, as opposed to the silver remote found with past Apple TVs. A Siri and Home button will be found beneath a touchpad, with rocker buttons on the side that may act as volume controls.
The fourth-generation Apple TV will cost $149 and feature a universal search, enabling users to enter the title of a movie or TV show once and view results from multiple sources, BuzzFeed reports. Sources familiar with Apple’s plans said the universal search feature is the cornerstone of the new Apple TV, finally providing for searches across multiple streaming services and the iTunes Store. Users will also be able to run more targeted searches, or search by specific actors or directors. Sources said the new search incorporates Siri, as well as features once provided by Matcha — an iOS app that searched for available content from streaming services, TV providers and digital stores like iTunes and Amazon before being bought by Apple in 2013 and shut down. Matcha’s functionality has resurfaced in the new Apple TV, addressing a long-standing user complaint that the search methods on previous Apple TV models are frustrating and not intuitive.
Anticipation is building for Apple’s new, feature-packed Apple TV, and the new set-top box will also feature Bluetooth controller support, according to 9to5Mac. Apple TV will support certain third-party Bluetooth controllers, in addition to coming with its own motion sensitive remote that can be used as a game controller. We’ve been expecting such capabilities to be included in a new Apple TV for a few years now. The new set-top box will support Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11ac wireless standards. This new report also claims Siri will not just be a feature, but a “main focus” of the new Apple TV, allowing for much easier navigation of the device.
The fourth-generation Apple TV will cost less than $200 and is on pace to be available in October, 9to5Mac reports. Sources say Apple executives haven’t finalized the price, but that it will likely come in somewhere between $149 and $199, either of which will make it more expensive than the $99 starting price asked for the third-generation Apple TV when it launched in 2012. Apple plans to keep the third-generation model available — it’s now priced at $69 — to compete with similar products from Roku, Google and Amazon. The new Apple TV is expected to be introduced at Apple’s September 9 event and the new set-top box is said to include new features like Siri integration, a motion-sensitive remote, and a drastically redesigned user interface.
Apple will be discontinuing support for another series of its older products, which are being moved to “Obsolete” status as of September 8th, 9to5Mac reports. According to internal documents from Apple, the report notes that the original first-generation Apple TV, fifth-generation iPod nano, second- and third-generation iPod touch, and third-generation iPod shuffle will be designated as “Obsolete” in Asia-Pacific/Canada/EU/Japan/Latin America and all Apple Retail Stores, while these models will be designated as “Vintage” in the U.S., where Apple is still required to provide hardware service for a longer period of time as required by California law. The iPod classic and third-generation iPod nano will be declared as “Obsolete” in all markets. 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.
Apple’s signifcant update to its upcoming Apple TV set-top box is expected to feature some significant user experience improvements, according to a new report by TechCrunch. While many of the details such as the inclusion of Apple’s A8 processor, a touch-based remote, and an SDK for developers to take advantage of have already been revealed previously, this latest report suggests that all of this will combine to create a vastly better user experience from the current three-year-old Apple TV platform.
The new remote is expected to be larger and thicker, including a Touchpad area at the top and a microphone for Siri, confirming earlier reports — however, new information reveals that the remote will also be motion sensitive, “likely including several axis’ worth of sensors that put its control on par with a Nintendo Wii remote.” This suggests that the new Apple TV remote could effectively double as a game controller. The report also suggests that Apple will be get more performance out of the A8 CPU as it will not have to contend with battery life concerns from a device that is plugged into a wall, and will thereby be able to support an updated user interface that will provide “much better effects and navigational improvements” which will be particularly appreciated by users with large libraries. Sources indicate that the new experience is expected to “blow away” existing television and home media interfaces, describing it as the “first real Apple TV product.”
Pricing remains a major sticking point in Apple’s negotiations with content providers for its proposed subscription television service, according to a new report from The Information. Although Apple had been planning to unveil a new TV service as early as this fall, and was reported to be making progress in negotiations in June, more recent reports have indicated that the service isn’t expected to debut until 2016, citing talks that have been progressing more slowly than expected.
This latest report provides some insight, indicating that the major sticking point in negotiations is Apple’s desire to hold consumer pricing to roughly $40 per month, which is said to be considerably less than the media companies want to license their TV content to the service. This echoes similar difficulties Apple had in negotiations with record labels last fall, with Apple eventually capitulating. Despite the uncertain future of a television subscription service, Apple still plans to debut new Apple TV hardware in September, but will likely focus on integration with HomeKit and security. [via AppleInsider]