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Apple negotiating for HBO Go on Apple TV

Apple is negotiating to carry Time Warner’s HBO Go app on Apple TV by mid-year, according to a report. HBO subscribers would have access to more than 600 hours of TV shows and movies on Apple TV. There are already HBO Go apps for iPad and iPhone, but this would be the first Apple TV app requiring pay-TV authentication. [via Bloomberg]

Report: New Apple TV upgrades internals, same size

An Apple spokesman has taken the unusual step of speaking about an apparently unreleased new product, dampening expectations that the company will modify both the inside and outside of the upcoming Apple TV refresh. According to The Next Web, Apple says that the new Apple TV is only an internal upgrade with a new model number, refuting an earlier report of a slightly smaller chassis based on published FCC documents. “We sometimes make component changes which require an updated model number for regulatory approval,” said the Apple spokesperson. “The component changes we made don’t affect product features and Apple TV customers will continue to have the same great user experience.”

Apple TV 3,2 is a “mid-season refresh,” and believed to feature the A5X processor and the Broadcom BCM4334 wireless chip. The report speculates that the apparent several-millimeter size difference was based on measurement of the new unit without its external shell.

New Apple TV slightly smaller; new CPU and antenna?

A fourth-generation Apple TV with slightly smaller dimensions has been revealed in a recent Federal Communications Commission filing. The device, which appears to be the Apple TV3,2 discovered in iOS 6.1, features a length and width of 93.78 mm, compared to the current model’s 98 mm. A new model number, A1469, is also spotted on the illustration of the device. Another report notes the new device uses one antenna instead of two, and also is likely to contain a different A5X processor. Bluetooth 4 continues to be inside, as does 802.11a/b/g/n support, without support for the latest 802.11ac standard. [via Engadget, Anandtech]

Apple TV Software Update 5.2 adds Bluetooth input, more

Apple today released Apple TV software version 5.2 for the second- and third- generation streaming media players. Arriving alongside iOS 6.1, the update brings enhanced support for iTunes in the Cloud, the addition of the Up Next feature introduced in iTunes 11, and long-awaited Bluetooth keyboard support. Apple notes that the Apple TV can now be controlled by Bluetooth wireless keyboards—the first official feature to unlock Bluetooth hardware that sat unused in the devices up until now.

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As with all Apple TV software, version 5.2 can be downloaded directly from the Apple TV’s Settings > General menu.

Additionally, a third version of the update was released, for the yet-unannounced AppleTV3,2. The second- and third-generations are denoted as AppleTV2,1 and AppleTV3,1, respectively. It’s not clear what this new hardware entails, or when it may be coming. Notably, MacRumors suggests it may be an international model.

iOS 6.1 out, adds LTE carriers, Siri-Fandango, more

Apple today released iOS 6.1, the newest version of the mobile operating system for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Weighing in at 107 MB, the update can be installed over the air or by connecting to iTunes.

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According to the release notes, the update adds LTE support for an additional 36 iPhone and 23 iPad LTE carriers, the ability to purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri, individual song downloads from iCloud for iTunes Match subscribers, and a new button to reset the Advertising Identifier. Interestingly, using Fandango to purchase tickets requires you to have separately downloaded Fandango’s app. An Apple TV update based upon iOS 6.1 was released simultaneously.

 

Staples to sell Apple products?

A mock-up page found on office supply company Staples’ website briefly advertised the Apple TV for half off, according to a new report, leading to speculation that the retail chain will start selling Apple products—most likely without such aggressive discounting. Other temporary product pages included references to adapters, Lightning adapters, EarPods, and iPad Smart Cases and Smart Covers.

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Since the initial report, the test pages have apparently been removed by Staples, but screenshots show the mock-ups. Staples has not carried Apple’s product line, reportedly due to issues in acquiring products from Apple itself. [via 9to5Mac]

 

Apple TV gets Watchever video service in Germany

Apple TV has added an app for Watchever video service in Germany, according to reports. Watchever is a Netflix-style streaming video service that offers movies and TV series for a monthly fee. This is the first time Apple has added a service to Apple TV that is only available internationally, with the service limited to one country — in this case, Germany. It raises the possibility that Apple could add more smaller, more regional services to Apple TV going forward. [via The Next Web]

Apple TV to support Bluetooth keyboards after update

The newest Apple TV beta features a Bluetooth menu, and allows wireless keyboards to pair to the second- and third-generation Apple TV, 9to5Mac reports. While Bluetooth chips have been found in Apple TV units since the second-generation model, the hardware capability has been left unsupported by the device’s software. Rumors have suggested that Bluetooth support would be added in an update, however, it has never actually surfaced. With the new beta, users can control the Apple TV without the included remote by using a wireless keyboard, including typing and arrow keys for navigation — however, the update does not yet allow for pairing Bluetooth speakers, a mouse, or Macs.

Apple CEO pegs modernized TV as “intense interest”

For the first time, Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly hinted that Apple might be taking active steps towards making a television set, according to quotes from an NBC News interview with Brian Williams. “When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook said, using language that moves beyond Apple’s gentler prior “hobby” and “pulling the string” descriptions of its TV-related initiatives. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.” While it’s possible that Cook was speaking about the existing Apple TV, it would be curious to allude to an existing product in such a way; at the very least, Cook’s comments could suggest a major push, update, or redesign for Apple TV. Cook’s full interview on NBC’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams” airs at 10 p.m. Eastern tonight.

Updated Dec. 7: NBC has posted part one and part two of Tim Cook’s full interview on “Rock Center with Brian Williams.”

Software update 5.1.1 released for Apple TV

Alongside iTunes 11 and an updated iOS Remote app, Apple today released Apple TV software version 5.1.1 for the second- and third- generation streaming media boxes.

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It initially appears that this update is for compatibility purposes only. As with all Apple TV software, version 5.1.1 can be downloaded directly from the Apple TV’s Settings > General menu.

Users report malfunctioning Apple TVs after update

Some Apple TV users are reporting that a recent software update is removing functionality from their set-top boxes. An Apple Support Communities thread with more than 28,000 views and 230 replies highlights the issues — a software update for the second-generation and third-generation Apple TVs is causing a number of reported problems. Some users can’t connect to their network after the update, while others are losing functionality entirely, as the Apple TV displays a blinking light while the TV screen stays black. A number of users are downgrading their software to restore functionality. Apple TV software version 5.1 was released on Sept. 24; the support thread started on Sept. 25. [via Apple Insider]

iPad “little more” event to stream live on Apple TV, web

Apple’s special event at 1PM Eastern today will stream live on Apple TV, as indicated by a new Apple Events icon that is now appearing on the Apple TV home screen.

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Apple TV users can click to watch the event, which will introduce the iPad mini and other products. Updated: The event will also stream live on Apple’s website, where it will be viewable via computers, tablets, and pocket devices.

Apple TV updated to software version 5.1

Apple has released an update for Apple TV: version 5.1 (10A406e) follows up on the March 2012 release of Apple TV software version 5.0.

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Version 5.1 adds support for Shared Photo Streams, as well as streaming audio content from the Apple TV to AirPlay speakers and AirPort Express wireless routers. A list of new features from Apple’s web site follows after the break.

Bloomberg: No new Apple TV product this year

Apple won’t release a new TV product this year, reports Bloomberg. Seemingly confirming comments attributed to Apple executives by an analyst last month, Bloomberg’s sources note that Apple’s negotiations with cable companies have reached an impasse, with newly-reported conflicts over whether Apple could take sole control over the device’s screen interface software; Comcast reportedly has said no, while Time Warner Cable has been more open-minded. Apple and cable providers also disagree on the possible distribution method of a new Apple TV set-top box, as to whether it should be leased through the providers, or sold directly to customers.

Report: Updated AirPlay to connect without Wi-Fi network

According to The Telegraph, Apple plans on improving its AirPlay technology so that an iPhone, iPod or iPad can connect directly to speakers without use of a Wi-Fi network. AirPlay currently enables iOS devices to wirelessly perform audio, photos, video, and sometimes screen sharing through AirPlay-equipped accessories on the same Wi-Fi network. The report suggests the enhanced feature may solely be for music streaming, rather than for all forms of media, and has been developed under the working title “AirPlay Direct.” It also notes that the new feature could be announced alongside the next iPhone, though no specific products have apparently been signed off on yet. Further, it’s unclear as to whether AirPlay Direct will be compatible with older AirPlay accessories and Apple devices, or possibly require new hardware features such as dual-band Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 4/Smart.

iTunes Festival now available on Apple TV

Apple has quietly added a new content section to the Apple TV for the upcoming 2012 iTunes Festival in London. The Festival will feature 30 nights of free, live music from more than 60 artists performing at the Roundhouse in London. Apple has already released a universal iOS app for the iTunes Festival providing users with both live streaming of shows and later on-demand viewing, and users will also be able to stream content to iTunes or to the Apple TV via AirPlay from an iOS device or directly within the new iTunes Festival section. Previous shows are expected to be available for only a limited time, and it is unclear for how long the iTunes Festival content will remain available on the Apple TV following the conclusion of the event on September 30th.

Apple SVP Cue: no HDTV coming anytime soon

During a meeting with analysts, Apple senior vice president of Internet services and software Eddy Cue indicated that the company won’t be entering the TV market in the near future. “Relative to the television market, Eddy Cue, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services, reiterated the company’s mantra that it will enter markets where it feels it can create great customer experiences and address key problems. The key problems in the television market are the poor quality of the user interface and the forced bundling of pay TV content, in our view,” writes Pacfic Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves, as recounted by Fortune. “While Apple could almost certainly create a better user interface, Mr. Cue’s commentary suggested that this would be an incomplete solution from Apple’s perspective unless it could deliver content in a way that is different from the current multichannel pay TV model[...] Unfortunately for Apple and for consumers, acquiring rights for traditional broadcast and cable network content outside of the current bundled model is virtually impossible because the content is owned by a relatively small group of companies that have little interest in alternative models for their most valuable content.”

Apple TV plans to blur lines between live, on-demand content

Apple’s vision for a set-top box device includes features designed to “simplify accessing and viewing programming and erase the distinction between live and on-demand content”, according to a new report. Citing people briefed on Apple’s plans, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is proposing a system through which viewers would be able to start any show at any time through a device that would store TV shows on the Internet. The report claims that the device will feature an interface that “could resemble the navigation icons” on the iPad, or in other words, very similar to the current Apple TV software. The interface may also offer on-screen space for social media features, and would also enable viewers to access content from the device on other Apple products.

The report goes on to detail some of the challenges facing Apple as it attempts to put such a service together, including apprehension on the part of the cable operators to let Apple gain a greater foothold in the TV market, and the fact that cable operators’ existing rights over TV content are likely insufficient to cover all of Apple’s proposed services, in particularly the Internet-based DVR service. It also states that Apple wants viewers to be able to access all episodes of current seasons of TV shows, instead of only a few episodes of a current season, as is currently the case on many cable operators.

Apple in talks with cable operators over live TV

Apple is in talks with some of the U.S.’ largest cable operators about letting an Apple device serve as a set-top box for live television and other content, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that no deal has yet been reached with any of the operators, possibly due to their reluctance to let Apple establish a larger presence in the TV business. Although the report does not state whether the device in question is an iteration of the current Apple TV or a more sophisticated device, it does cite two people briefed on the matter who claimed that the technology could be embedded in a television.

Apple seeds iOS 6 beta 4 to developers

Apple has released the fourth beta version of iOS 6 to developers. As with prior iOS 6 beta updates, beta 4 is available as an over-the-air software update or as a direct download from the iOS Dev Center, and is accompanied by a new beta version of the Apple TV software, as well as an updated version of Xcode and the iOS 6 SDK. The new version is listed as build 10A5376e; it is unclear what changes may be contained in the release. iOS 6 beta 4 is available now to registered iOS developers.

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