Apple is signing long-term deals for more bandwidth as the company builds up its Internet infrastructure, the Wall Street Journal reports. The infrastructure will be “capable of delivering large amounts of content to customers.” Though the WSJ points out Apple could need more bandwidth for existing services such as iCloud, iTunes, and the App Store, the report also notes the infrastructure could handle more traffic if Apple “decides to move deeper into television.” Bill Norton, chief strategy officer for International Internet Exchange, estimates Apple now has the bandwidth to move hundreds of gigabits of data per second. “That’s the starting point for a very, very big network,” he said. It’s possible that Apple is expecting to radically increase the number of Apple TV devices in the marketplace, begin to offer 4K-quality streams, or both.
Apple recently added a new Apple TV page to its online store, fueling speculation that a major update to its “hobby” device will be happening soon. iLounge has reported that games will be a larger part of Apple TV after an update.
World Wrestling Entertainment has all but confirmed the WWE Network will be coming to Apple TV as a new channel on February 24. In a FAQ post on the WWE Network Facebook page, a fan asked about Apple TV, and a network representative wrote that the WWE Network app would launch “directly” on Apple TV on Feb. 24 — the same day the network launches. If this happens, it would be the first pre-announced channel on Apple TV. WWE Network will cost $10 per month with a six-month commitment, featuring all 12 live WWE pay-per-view events, a WWE video-on-demand library, and more. [via MacRumors]
Apple is testing upcoming Apple TV versions with an AirPort-style router and built-in TV tuner, 9to5Mac reports. The Apple TV with a router appears to combine the Apple TV and AirPort Express for upgraded bandwidth and video quality for the device, enabling the router to prioritize video stability while doling out data to other devices as needed. Separately, the TV tuner component would allow users to access their television content through an Apple interface, finally bringing to market a feature rumored to be in development at the time of Steve Jobs’ death in 2011. Neither of these features is guaranteed to appear in new Apple TV hardware — but the possibility is there, as prototype versions reportedly exist. The article also backs our earlier report that game support would be a key part of an upcoming Apple TV update; existing iOS devices would be used as controllers, according to the new report.
The report also notes that Apple has added an Apple TV section to its online store, rather than treating Apple TV as an accessory, hinting at major upcoming changes. Accessories, a Q&A section, AppleCare, and a page for refurbished Apple TVs are all included in the new section.
Apple has added a Red Bull TV channel to Apple TV today. The channel offers a variety of extreme and adventure sports programs.
The channel also has a section for upcoming events. Red Bull TV’s website gives would-be users a good idea of what to expect from the Apple TV channel.
iLounge has heard from reliable industry sources that Apple TV will soon be getting proper game support in an update, likely to come in March or earlier. We’ve heard that developers are currently working on Bluetooth controller options, and it’s expected that games could be downloaded directly to the Apple TV rather than relying on another iOS device as an intermediary. One developer has suggested that game support could be backward-compatible with the current-generation Apple TV. However, it’s unknown what current Apple TVs would use for storage — it’s possible iCloud could be part of a solution. This update would effectively put Apple TV on par with the latest Roku devices, which have already had their own app stores for some time. An Apple TV App Store has been awaited for years.
Apple has added a Sky Sports channel to Apple TV in the U.K. The channel, from Now TV, enables viewers to purchase access to live sporting events on an as-needed basis. To the best of our knowledge, this appears to be the first permanent, international-only Apple TV channel. A Sky Sports Day Pass offers 24 hours of sports coverage from six channels for £9.99. [via Engadget]
Apple has pushed out another quiet but major content update for the Apple TV, adding four additional channels. While availability of the new content channels varies between countries, U.S. Apple TV users now have access to the ABC television network, Bloomberg, Crackle, and 16 different Korean television channels in KORTV.
The new Bloomberg channel provides streaming access to a variety of programming on business, lifestyle, and politics and allows users to browse by show for on-demand viewing, watch live streams of specific events or breaking news, or search for specific content. The ABC channel provides clips, full episodes and live streaming—though most of the content is locked unless you subscribe to one of a number of participating cable providers. Crackle, previously available as an iOS app, brings Sony’s free online movie and TV show streaming service to the Apple TV. KORTV is a Korean TV network providing access to ten free channels and six premium channels along with video-on-demand content. These new channels appear on the Apple TV without the need for a specific software update, and are available now.
Apple has posted holiday shipping deadlines on its online store to inform customers of when orders must be placed to receive products by Dec. 24. The site shows when iPads, iPhones, iPods, Apple TVs, Macs, and other select accessories must be ordered to ensure delivery by Christmas Eve, for both standard and next day shipping. Notably, customers only have a few days left to receive an iPad mini with Retina display by Christmas Eve, with Dec. 5 being the deadline. The iPad Air can be ordered up until Dec. 9, and the iPhone 5s must be ordered by Dec. 12 for pre-Christmas delivery. Apple’s online store is offering free shipping on all products through Dec. 22.
Yahoo Screen and PBS channels have both been added to Apple TV. Yahoo announced the addition of Yahoo Screen, a channel that features video from Yahoo, including Saturday Night Live, The Onion, Comedy Central, and Vogue, among others.
PBS has also added a new channel to Apple TV. The app requires an activation code to be entered on a computer or portable device, and the creation of a free account. [via 9to5Mac]
Killer Duck Decals is featuring some really interesting Apple TV skins ($10) on its site. The skins fit over the entire Apple TV. Six designs are currently available.
Nintendo fans might love the NES, SNES, Gamecube console skins, as well as the Portal-themed and Mario Question Block skins. A cartoony waffle skin is another option. [via Cult of Mac]
Alongside iOS 7.0.4, Apple has released version 6.0.2 of its Apple TV software, which is based upon the same iOS code. There do not appear to be any obvious changes to the interface in the update. The update should occur automatically, but can be manually pushed to the device through the Settings menu.
Apple has released version 6.0.1 of its Apple TV software. It’s currently unknown what changes have been made or what features may have been added at this point; updates are available through the Settings menu, General, then Software Updates. As a patch, the update should take less than a minute to download.
Following the release of iMovie 2.0 for iOS, Apple has added a new iMovie Theater channel to Apple TV. The new iMovie Theater feature in iMovie lets users share home movie clips to any Apple device, which now includes the Apple TV.
No software update is needed to add iMovie Theater to the Apple TV; the channel now appears automatically, having been pushed to devices through Apple’s servers. The new iMovie 2.0 for iOS is free with the purchase of a new iOS device, or as a free update to the previously purchased version.
Today’s Apple event will be streamed live on Apple’s web site and on Apple TV. The event starts at 10 a.m. Pacific. This morning, the Apple Events icon popped up on the Apple TV main page, followed by the announcement on Apple.com.
It’s expected that Apple will unveil a fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini with Retina display today. Recent speculation suggests that the company could also debut iPad covers, and other accessories are also likely for the new models.
Apple is in the process of rolling out new movie and TV listing pages for the Apple TV. The new design adds extra banner graphics to the pages, and makes subtle changes to navigation within the pages. Updated pages are only available for certain listings at this time, and appear not to be identical in different countries.
For movies, moving to the “Viewers also watched” line of box covers now begins the process of scrolling the page downwards, and for TV shows, the scrolling column of episodes on the right side of the screen is now nested and shorter than before. The changes collectively fill the screen with more art than before, as the Apple TV menus were historically heavier on black space, as shown in the included comparison screenshot below.
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.