Apple has started shipping its second-generation Apple TV to pre-order customers. According to a comment made by iLounge reader Chuck, it appears the units are shipping directly from China instead of from a U.S.-based warehouse, with the delivery promised on September 28 or later—in-line with Apple’s previously announced intention to ship the device this month. Apple’s online store still lists a 2-3 week wait for new orders; there has been no indication of when the second-generation Apple TV might be available for purchase in Apple’s retail stores.
Apple has notified second-generation Apple TV customers that it is refunding expedited shipping charges because of an unspecified delay. “Our records indicate that when you placed your order you paid for upgraded shipping,” Apple says in the email. “Due to a delay, we may have not been able to meet our delivery commitment.” Apple has previously refunded some expedited shipping charges for just-released products when it has been necessary to drop ship them directly from China, however, the email does not specify either a revised delivery date or suggest that Apple TV will miss Apple’s promised September release. To the contrary, iLounge has confirmed that the company has also been issuing refunds simultaneously for expedited iPod orders, and already started authorizing the credit cards of pre-order customers, which AppleInsider notes was done eight days prior to the iPad’s launch in April.
New evidence of apps support on the second-generation Apple TV has surfaced online. Mac Rumors points to a LinkedIn profile of an Apple intern, who describes him/herself as an “AppleTV Apps Engineer.” Last week, it was revealed that the second-generation Apple TV, despite using a user interface extremely similar to that of the first-generation model, actually runs a version of iOS. Reports from Engadget prior to the device’s launch that correctly predicted a 720p video output cap, the device’s A4 chip, and its use of iOS, also said the new Apple TV would be capable of running third-party applications, although not necessarily the same apps found on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
AirPlay, Apple’s revamped version of AirTunes meant for streaming audio, video, and photos to compatible devices, may also allow for streaming of content from third-party applications, according to a new report. Citing testing done by a reader using the first iOS 4.2 beta, Mac Rumors reports that every application that uses the standard iOS audio/video playback interface now shows an AirPlay button for streaming. While the second-generation Apple TV, the only AirPlay device announced so far to accept video and photo streams in addition to audio, has yet to be released, a reader was successfully able to stream audio to an Airport Express from the following applications: Safari, YouTube, Netflix, Videos, iPod, BBC News, and MLB At Bat, suggesting that third-party apps may be able to stream video as well as audio to compatible devices. Notably, the software is still in beta, and as such the feature could be removed and/or tweaked prior to iOS 4.2’s public release.
The second-generation Apple TV runs a variant of iOS, according to the USB device configuration list found in the first beta version of iOS 4.2. TUAW reports that the list contains a discriptor for “AppleTV2,1” referencing the new set-top box, and indicating that it is indeed an iOS device. Notably, the “productString” and “productID” fields list it as “iProd” and “4765” respectively, indicating that it is the same device that was previously identified as the second-generation iPad, due to the fact that the original iPad used a similar “iProd” descriptor. During Apple’s demonstration of the second-generation Apple TV, the device sported an interface similar to that of the first-generation model, despite the device being based on the same Apple A4 chip used in the iPad, iPhone 4, and fourth-generation iPod touch instead of the Intel processor found in the prior model.
Initially paid little attention on the first-generation Apple TV, a rear-facing USB port has been changed on the second-generation model—a point not mentioned during Wednesday’s introduction of the new Apple TV in San Francisco. The old port was a full-sized female USB connector, physically capable of connecting to keyboards, other peripherals, and even Apple’s own Dock Connector to USB cables; the new port is a female Micro-USB connector, located immediately beneath the HDMI port and labeled only with a small USB icon. Apple describes it as being “for service and support,” without further explanation.
Apple TV’s full-sized USB port was included on the original Apple TV solely for use by authorized service professionals, enabling a crashed device to be restarted and potentially diagnosed at an Apple Retail Store with appropriate tools. It was never supported by Apple for any type of accessories during the product’s three-year lifespan, despite some user interest in adding additional storage capacity, TV tuners, keyboards, and other peripherals to the device. However, hackers seized upon the USB port to enable unauthorized improvements to the device’s software, using inexpensive USB memory keys to create “patchsticks” that installed customized modifications, including services such as XBMC and Boxee.
Due to the change, USB to Micro-USB adapters will now be necessary to connect common devices to the second-generation Apple TV—assuming that hackers succeed in enabling it to be used for something other than service purposes. Until and unless that happens, the Micro-USB port will remain “for service and support,” only. (Thanks, Brian.)
Apple has confirmed to Ars Technica that it will not be releasing an update to bring the new second-generation Apple TV features such as Netflix streaming to the older device. As with other products Apple has discontinued, the first-generation Apple TV will continue to work in the same way as it already has: users will continue to be able to purchase movies and TV shows directly from the first-generation Apple TV and download new content to the device’s internal hard drive. Notably, however, the first-generation Apple TV will not provide any support for TV Show Rentals, even those rented directly within iTunes 10.
In separate interviews with Bloomberg Businessweek and AllThingsD, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has provided some insight into yesterday’s announcements. Jobs told Bloomberg that Apple could open an App Store for the TV when the time is right. When asked if the iPad could evolve into the TV of the future, Jobs said, “That’s how I do most of my TV watching today.” Discussing Apple’s new Ping social networking service, Jobs told AllThingsD that the company had held talks with Facebook about a variety of potential partnerships, but that the talks went nowhere, due to “onerous terms that [Apple] could not agree to.” Jobs did say that the service could incorporate Facebook Connect, making it easier to find friends, but said that users can still find friends by typing their names into search or sending them email invitations. Curiously, several reports—which have been confirmed by iLounge editors—indicate that a Facebook Connect option was seen for a brief time on Apple’s Ping service before being removed for unspecified reasons.
Apple has posted a stream of yesterday’s Fall 2010 iPod event on its website, as well as a downloadable version on its Apple Keynotes podcast. During the event, Apple announced iOS 4.1 and 4.2, new models of the iPod shuffle, iPod nano, and iPod touch, iTunes 10 with the new Ping social networking service, and a new cheaper streaming-based Apple TV. For more information on the event, see our summary article, our complete transcript, and our image gallery of the new products.
iLounge has posted a gallery of Apple’s official photography for the sixth-generation iPod nano, fourth-generation iPod touch, second-generation Apple TV, and fourth-generation iPod shuffle, all of which were announced today during the company’s annual fall music event; a full transcript of the event is available here, while the photo gallery can be viewed below.
The online Apple Store has now been updated with the new iPod and Apple TV announced today at Apple’s special event. The new iPod shuffle is now sold only in a 2GB capacity for $49 and available in five colors. The new iPod nano is available in 8GB and 16GB capacities for $149 and $179, respectively, and comes in seven colors including a (PRODUCT) RED special edition. The new iPod touch is available in 8GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities for $229, $299 and $399 respectively. Unlike last year, Apple is also no longer selling a previous-generation iPod touch in the 8GB capacity; all of the three available iPod touch models are now the fourth-generation. All iPod models can be ordered today with expected shipping times of one week. The new Apple TV is also available for pre-order today for $99 with an expected ship date of September. Notably, the iPod classic did not receive an update today however it still remains on sale on the Apple Store in a 160GB capacity for $249.
Apple today introduced a revamped version of its AirTunes technology. Dubbed AirPlay, the new streaming technology allows not only audio, but also video and photos to be streamed from any iOS device to another iOS device or the new Apple TV. The new AirPlay technology, slated to be included in iOS 4.2, will allow iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users to instantly stream content from their device directly to their Apple TV, while controlling playback and storing the content on the iOS device. Apple has also also announced plans to license its AirPlay technology for inclusion in speaker docks, AV receivers and stereo systems from companies such as Bowers & Wilkins and Denon. The new AirPlay technology will not only stream music and other media content but can also transmit information about the content allowing song titles, artists, album names, elapsed time and album artwork to be displayed on AirPlay-enabled speakers with graphical displays.
With today’s introduction of the new Apple TV, Apple has also announced the addition of Netflix support to the Apple TV, allowing Netflix subscribers in the U.S. to access movie rentals from Netflix, including access to users’ Instant Queues and synchronization of playback positions with Netflix on the web and other devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
Apple today announced a long-awaited update to its Apple TV home entertainment device, significantly reducing the size of the device and shifting the focus to a streaming rather than syncing model. Almost entirely preserving the interface of the Apple TV 3.0 software update, the new Apple TV device will now include the aluminum seven-button Apple Remote that was previously released but not included with the device, while dropping the component video and stereo audio ports in favor of one HDMI port and an optical audio port. The new Apple TV measures 0.9” by 3.9” by 3.9”, and weighs 0.6 pounds. Its black plastic shell is flat and mostly matte on top with a glossy Apple TV logo, tapering on the sides from glossy straight sides to a gentle secondary flat surface on the bottom, elevating the bulk of its body off of the table it’s on. Now powered by the Apple A4 chip, the system supports full 802.11n networking—2.4GHz and 5GHz—as well as 802.11a/b/g standards, and continues to have 720p H.264 and M-JPEG support, with 640x480 MPEG-4 support—like the prior Apple TV.
At Apple’s event today, Steve Jobs reiterated that the goals of the new Apple TV design were to provide Hollywood movies & TV shows, all content in HD, lower content prices and reduce the dependency on computer and storage management. As part of the new design and goal of reducing storage requirements, the new Apple TV will move to an entirely rental-based model with no purchases available on the device. First-run movies will be released as HD Rentals for $5 on the same day as the DVD release, and HD TV Shows will now be available for rent for $1, commercial free, as opposed to the prior $3 per episode price. Content will be initially be available from the ABC and FOX networks, with other networks hopefully coming on board in the future. The new Apple TV will also provide support for Netflix streaming in the U.S. in addition to its current support for streaming videos from YouTube and photos from Flickr and MobileMe. The new Apple TV will also continue to include support for streaming content from an iTunes library. The new Apple TV will be priced at $99 and will be available from Apple Stores and online in about four weeks, with pre-orders starting today.
Apple is preparing to announce a next-generation version of the Apple TV with Netflix streaming capabilities, according to a new report. Citing three people with knowledge of Apple’s plans, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that the inclusion of Netflix content might help boost sales of the “hobby” product, and that two of the three sources claimed the revamped device will be announced at Apple’s media event later today. The report also states that the new Apple TV will be priced at $99, as previously rumored, but did not make any mention of a potential name change for the set-top box. Prior reports have stated that the next-generation Apple TV will be based on iOS; Netflix currently has apps for Apple’s other iOS devices.
Apple has begun emailing select members of the press, inviting them to a special event in San Francisco on September 1. As it has been in the past, the event will be held at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, and will be focused on the company’s iPod line, as indicated by the invitation’s image of an acoustic guitar with an Apple logo cut-out. Apple is widely expected to introduce updated iPods at the event, likely including the fourth-generation iPod touch, and possibly a rumored next-generation Apple TV, which may be renamed iTV, as well as 99 cent TV episode rentals.
Apple plans to hold its annual iPod media event in San Francisco on September 7th, according to a new report. Contained within the same Bloomberg report that suggested Apple would be debuting a 99 cent TV show rental service, yet curiously overlooked by multiple outlets—including iLounge—the brief statement cites two people as saying Apple will launch a new iPod touch, an improved Apple TV, and the TV show rental service at the event. Traditionally, Apple has held the event in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco; the Yerba Buena’s calendar shows an event scheduled for the 7th in its gallery area, but nothing being held in the theater on that day.
Apple is in talks with Fox parent News Corp., along with other media companies, to offer 99 cent TV episode rentals through iTunes. Bloomberg, citing three people familiar with the plan, reports that users would have a 48 hour rental window, and that Disney and CBS are also part of the discussions. “This is a smart move by everyone,” said David Bank, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in New York. “Something like this a la carte rental service is an incremental opportunity and it doesn’t upset the existing ecosystem.” The report goes on to reiterate prior reports of a next-generation Apple TV, with a smaller hard drive than prior models that will be priced at $99 and tied into the rental service.
Elgato, makers of the EyeTV tuner hardware and software for the Mac, have no plans to change its products’ names despite the possibility of Apple changing the Apple TV’s name to the phonetically identical “iTV.” Engadget has reported that the next-generation Apple TV will see its named changed to “iTV” while undergoing some hardware and software changes. “They don’t see themselves changing the name of the product line,” said a spokesman for Elgato Systems, noting that there are also i.TV applications and the ITV British television network for Apple to be concerned about. “iTV was going to be the original name for the Apple TV,” another Elgato spokesman noted, “I don’t think Elgato said anything about changing the name then… But who knows what Apple have in mind.”
Executives for U.K.-based broadcaster ITV are enraged by a report that Apple may change the name of its Apple TV set-top box to ‘iTV’. Earlier this week Engadget reported that the next-generation Apple TV would see its named changed to ‘iTV’—the name it was originally called by—while also gaining some sort of app functionality. While it is believed that the name was scrapped in part due to Elgato’s EyeTV products for Mac, it appears that the name runs afoul of more than just a single product. “You only have to look at recent problems with the iPhone 4 to see not everything Apple produces is gold dust,” an ITV insider told Mirror.co.uk. “We all take our ITV brand very seriously and we’ll do everything in our power to protect it.”