Sunday March 9, 2014 3:23 am PDT by Richard Padilla
In preparation for this week's iTunes Festival at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2014, Apple has expanded its Apple TV lineup to include a revamped iTunes Festival channel that allows users to live stream the concert's shows as well as view lineups and artist information.
The channel showcases artists who will be performing at the festival such as Kendrick Lamar, Coldplay, and Keith Urban, complete with artist bios and concert showtimes. Direct iTunes links to artist albums are featured as well, along with full details on opening acts.
Apple also updated its iTunes Festival app for iOS last week, which introduced a new design and a revamped icon. Apple announced last month that it would be expanding its iTunes Festival to the U.S. for the first time, as five shows will be held from March 11-15 at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas as a part of the film and music-focused SXSW event.
Friday February 28, 2014 2:01 pm PST by Juli Clover
Earlier today, reports indicated Apple's $25 gift card with the purchase of an Apple TV promotion could be an effort to clear out stock ahead of an imminent updated Apple TV launch, but notable Apple journalist Jim Dalrymple has said that is not the case.
According to one of his famous "Nope" posts, Apple does not have plans to release a new Apple TV in the immediate future. Specifically, Dalrymple clarified to MacRumors that the company is not on the verge of launching a revamped Apple TV next week, but he does not appear to refute reports suggesting a redesigned box could come in later in the year, possibly ahead of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.
While the promotion led to some chatter about an immediate Apple TV product launch, the majority of Apple TV reports over the course of the last month or two have pointed towards a revamped Apple TV that might be revealed at some point in March or April. Bloomberg has suggested the new Apple TV could be revealed in April with a launch coming later in the year, while the Financial Times has just released a similar report pointing towards a launch ahead of WWDC in June.
Though an updated Apple TV will not come in the immediate future, a launch later in the year has not been ruled out. It is clear that Apple is working on some kind of update to the product, with rumors hinting at the new Apple TV gaining gaming support and possibly a full App Store.
Friday February 28, 2014 1:36 pm PST by Juli Clover
Apple's much-rumored revamped Apple TV product will be revealed "any week now" according to a new report from the Financial Times, though notable Apple journalist Jim Dalrymple poured water on a separate report, saying an Apple TV will not be launching soon.
Though a launch date is uncertain, rumors have indicated the redesigned Apple TV product will include support for games, which the Financial Times confirms. It may also include a fully-fledged App Store, bringing apps to the set-top box for the first time.
The significantly redesigned hardware will include greater support for video-games, already a popular pastime on its iPhones and iPads, as well as other new features which could include bringing its App Store to the TV set for the first time.
The release, which was delayed from the end of last year, could come "any week now", this source said. Apple has not commented on the rumours.
Rumors of a revamped set-top box first begun appearing in early 2013, with TechCrunch's MG Siegler pointing towards an Apple TV product with a focus on gaming. Later in the year, hints of a delay surfaced, and it appears that the product was indeed scheduled for a 2013 launch that was later pushed back to 2014.
A recent report from Bloomberg suggested Apple was on the verge of revealing a new set-top box, possibly at some point in April, but indicated an actual product launch might come somewhat later in the year, which could potentially account for the discrepancy between launch reports from the Financial Times and other media outlets and a "Nope" from Jim Dalrymple.
In addition to games and support for Apple's iOS 7 controllers, other Apple TV rumors have pointed to a hardware product that combines the Apple TV with the router features of the existing AirPort Express. It has also been suggested that Apple is planning to work in conjunction with cable companies to build an Apple TV interface over existing cable content, essentially replacing the cable box.
Earlier today, Tim Cook told shareholders that the Apple TV generated $1 billion during 2013, counting hardware sales and movie/TV show rentals. He also noted that it was "a little more difficult to call [the Apple TV] a hobby these days" given its ever-increasing growth.
The company has also began offering a $25 gift card with the purchase of an Apple TV, possibly in an effort to clear out existing inventory ahead of a new product launch, and the Apple TV has also gained its own product section on Apple's online storefront.
Friday February 28, 2014 9:31 am PST by Jordan Golson
During Apple's annual stockholders meeting in Cupertino today, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple sold more than $1 billion worth of its Apple TV set-top box in 2013, putting sales at close to 10 million units for the year.
This is a roughly double the 5 million it sold in fiscal 2012, which was double its Apple TV sales in 2011. Cook has traditionally called the Apple TV a "hobby", but said today that "it's a little more difficult to call it a hobby these days". Horace Dediu created a chart showing the impressive growth of Apple TV sales over the past several years, making it the fastest growing device in Apple's hardware lineup.
It has been repeatedly rumored that Apple is working on an improved set-top box and also a full-fledged television set. A new set-top box is expected to be introduced in the next couple of months, though it's unclear when the device itself would go on sale. A recent report said Apple would be introducing an SDK for Apple TV application development with an accompanying App Store launching to the public later in 2014.
Apple also launched a sale on the Apple TV at the company's online and retail outlets in the U.S., giving out a $25 iTunes Gift Card with purchase of the $99 device -- an unusual move for the company which only rarely offers sales on its devices.
Update 11:21AM: Re/code's Peter Kafka says the $1 billion number includes content sales on the Apple TV box, including movie rentals and TV show purchases.
Friday February 28, 2014 6:49 am PST by Eric Slivka
With rumors of a new Apple TV set-top box swirling, Apple's brick and mortar stores have launched a one-week promotion offering customers who purchase the current model a $25 iTunes Store gift card, reports 9to5Mac.
The promotion naturally sparks speculation that Apple is trying to clear stock of the current model ahead of new hardware. A recent report from Bloomberg claimed, however, that while Apple was aiming for an April introduction of the new Apple TV, a launch would not come until much later in the year around the holiday shopping season.
The Apple TV recently received added prominence in the Apple online store with its own major heading as opposed to its previous placement as an accessory, suggesting that Apple may be laying the groundwork to move the Apple TV from its longtime "hobby" status to a full-fledged product on par with its other lines.
Apple has reportedly considered a new set-top box that would combine the features of the current Apple TV with the Wi-Fi router features of the existing AirPort Express. The new Apple TV could also leverage iOS devices and Bluetooth accessories as game controllers for a potential Apple TV App Store, while also adding an Apple software layer on top of users' existing cable television services. Apple has also reportedly been in talks with Time Warner Cable about a potential content deal.
The new gift card offer on the existing Apple TV runs through March 5 and is currently not offered on the Apple online store. As with all iTunes gift cards, the credit can be used in any of Apple's digital content stores, including the iTunes Store, App Store, Mac App Store, and iBooks Store.
Update 8:20 AM: Apple has now posted the Terms and Conditions [PDF] for the offer, indicating that it is valid both in-store and online, but only in the United States.
Update 3:07 PM: Notable Apple journalist Jim Dalrymple has said that a new Apple TV release is not imminent despite the gift card promotion.
Monday February 24, 2014 7:00 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
World Wrestling Entertainment today announced that its WWE Network channel is now live on the Apple TV and its updated WWE app is available in the iOS App Store [Direct Link]. WWE subscribers will have full access to the 24/7 live streaming network, which includes replays of classic matches, pay-per-view events like WrestleMania and other original programming.
"Today is a historic day for WWE as we transform and reimagine how we deliver our premium live content and 24/7 programming directly to our fans around the world," said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. "WWE Network will provide transformative growth for our company and unprecedented value for our fans."
At launch, WWE Network programming is available only to U.S. customers, with access coming to other countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics before early 2015. The service requires a $9.99 monthly subscription with a six-month minimum commitment. Customers can demo the channel using a free one-week trial, which is available for a limited time.
Fans can sign up for the newly launched WWE Network on the service's website or via iTunes from the Apple TV or WWE app. Customers who signup for the WWE Network automatically receive one free week before they are billed for the service.
Wednesday February 12, 2014 7:29 pm PST by Husain Sumra
Apple's plans for its revamped Apple TV have been scaled back compared to what the company had previously intended, reportsThe Wall Street Journal. According to the publication, Apple was originally approaching media companies directly to obtain content rights for an ambitious a-la-carte-Internet-enabled TV set-top box, but has since gone in a different direction.
In the current discussions, which involve at least two big media companies, Apple envisages working with cable companies, rather than competing against them, the people said. For programming, it would rely on cable providers to acquire programming rights from media companies, rather than acquire them on its own, the people said. Apple might consider seeking some rights directly in the future, one of the people said.
Apple had been trying to negotiate with companies like CBS and Disney to offer the networks' content directly to Apple customers over the Internet, cutting out cable and satellite providers like Comcast, Time Warner and DirecTV. However, the media companies consistently pulled out of negotiations, fearing that any potential deal with Apple could damage their revenue streams.
Apple's ambitious plans went even further, as the company hoped to erase the distinction between live and on-demand TV, allowing users to watch any show at any time via iCloud as well as being able to skip commercials. In addition, Apple explored the possibility of paying media companies more for ad-free TV.
Having abandoned those lofty ideas in the face of failed negotiations, Apple is now asking content providers for the last five episodes of any given show rather than an entire season. This structure is similarly used by Hulu and is considered a standard amongst TV show streaming services.
Apple's latest approach is far less ambitious. Instead of asking for full current seasons of shows, it is asking programmers for just the most recent five episodes of current-season shows—the standard for video-on-demand services in the TV industry, a person familiar with the matter said. Apple is also proposing to disable fast-forwarding on shows for three days after they air, which would protect TV channels.
The Wall Street Journal also suggests that it is unclear whether Apple will sell its own box or allow cable distributors to lease boxes to customers when the company is able to establish a deal for a television service.
Apple has long been in negotiations with Time Warner Cable for some sort of television-related product, with a recent report suggesting talks are ongoing. Apple may run into some trouble reaching a deal with TWC, however, as Comcast has reportedly inked a deal to purchase the company.
Apple may be planning to unveil a redesigned Apple TV box in April, which is rumored to include both app and game support, but it is unclear whether that product will also offer new television-related content.
Wednesday February 12, 2014 9:53 am PST by Jordan Golson
Apple is planning to introduce a new Apple TV set-top box in April according to Bloomberg, but the report says Apple would not begin selling the box for months. Apple is also in talks with content providers including Time Warner Cable to provide TV shows and other media. The new box is said to include an upgraded processor and a revamped interface. The current Apple TV UI is getting a bit unwieldy as the company has continued to add new content channels over the past year.
Apple is aiming to have the device available for sale by the Christmas holidays, though the release date could change because the company is still in the process of securing new agreements with programming and distribution partners, said two people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.
Earlier this week, a reference to new Apple TV hardware was discovered in a recent release of iOS 7 and rumors have suggested that a new Apple TV could see added support for apps and Bluetooth game controllers in the next few months. At the end of January, the Apple TV received new prominence on the Apple Online Store, suggesting the platform could be developing into more than just a "hobby".
The long delay between the introduction of the new Apple TV box and its public launch would be unusual for Apple, which prefers to announce and release products in a short time period. Apple has only had long lead times between announcement and release for major new product releases -- the iPhone debuted six months before it's public launch owing to the unique FCC permitting process for new cell phones, and the iPad was presented more than two months before it first went on sale. The new Mac Pro was previewed six months before its final release as well.
It's possible that Apple will introduce a new App Store platform for the Apple TV, with the delay giving developers time to build new apps for the device.
Monday February 10, 2014 10:09 am PST by Juli Clover
Recent rumors have indicated Apple is planning to release a redesigned set-top box in the near future, and hints of the new hardware have already appeared in iOS 7 software builds, according to 9to5Mac and developer Hamza Sood.
There is a reference to the AppleTV4,1 listed in the iOS 7 Apple TV framework that handles AirPlay. AppleTV4,1 does not correlate to an existing Apple TV device, thus pointing to new hardware.
The current Apple TV (which was tweaked in 2013) is listed internally as AppleTV3,2, while AppleTV3,1 refers to the 1080p device released in 2012. AppleTV2,1 references the first ios-based Apple TV released in 2010.
According to 9to5Mac, references for AppleTV4,1 first appeared in the original version of iOS 7 released in September, but were not discovered until recently. AppleTV4,1 appears to be a reference to an entirely new device that is more than just an iterative update to Apple's existing set-top box.
An updated Apple TV has been expected for quite some time, as Apple's last refresh of the device was a minor tweak last year that saw the device upgraded to a smaller A5 chip. The device has otherwise retained the same look and functionality since the third-generation Apple TV was released in March of 2012.
Rumors have suggested that the revamped box might include game support, an Apple TV-based App Store, and support for Bluetooth controllers. Apple is also said to be testing a set-top box that combines the Apple TV with wireless router functionality and the company may also be testing a version of the device with a TV-tuner component allowing users to pull in content from their existing cable boxes, overlaying channels with an Apple interface.
Recently, Apple revised its online storefront to give the Apple TV greater prominence, suggesting it has moved past the "hobby" status that Apple executives have long assigned it. Over the course of the last several months, Apple has worked hard to boost the content it offers on the Apple TV, adding a number of channels including ABC, Bloomberg, Crackle, KORTV, Redbull TV and The Beatles channel, which was just added today.
Monday February 10, 2014 3:54 am PST by Richard Padilla
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' American debut, Apple today has expanded the lineup for its Apple TV set-top box by adding a channel dedicated to the legendary rock group.
The channel allows users to view The Beatles' groundbreaking performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" for a limited time, and also offers download links to The Beatles' U.S. releases, which are available digitally for the first time on iTunes.
Monday February 3, 2014 10:27 am PST by Juli Clover
A World Wrestling Entertainment representative has seemingly confirmed on Facebook that the new 24/7 WWE Network will be available as a dedicated channel on the Apple TV on February 24.
In a conversation with a fan who asked specifically about an Apple TV app, a WWE Network Facebook representative said the WWE Network app can be launched directly from the Apple TV.
In order to experience WWE Network on an Apple TV, you must have a second generation or later (black) Apple TV and be a WWE Network subscriber. Once WWE Network is available, you will be able to launch the WWE Netowrk app directly from your Apple TV. Let us know if you have further questions! Thank you.
First announced in January, the World Wrestling Entertainment Network is a 24/7 streaming network that includes original programming, reality shows, documentaries, classic matches, and more. Available for $9.99 per month, it also includes 12 WWE live pay-per-view events.
When introduced, WWE executives noted that the service would be available via the WWE website and through numerous consoles, smartphones, and tablets. While the Roku was listed as an available device, as was the iPad, no specific mention was made of the Apple TV.
WWE Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Michelle Wilson did, however, say that the service would also be available on "a connected device I am not allowed to mention at this press conference," presumably alluding to the Apple TV. Attendees at the service's introductory event were also given Apple TVs to take home.
Apple historically exercises control over announcements related to its products, so it is no surprise that news of a potential WWE app for the Apple TV has been suppressed. Over the course of the last several months, Apple has introduced several new channels to the Apple TV, each with no advanced notice.
Most recently, Apple added the Red Bull TV action sports channel to the Apple TV, and before that, the company introduced channels for Watch ABC, Bloomberg, Crackle, and KORTV. Apple is also said to be working on a major overhaul to both the Apple TV software and hardware, which could debut later this year.
The WWE network will be available for $9.99 per month at 9 AM Eastern Time on February 24, 2014 and will reportedly launch on the Apple TV at the same time. Fans will be given a free one week trial to the service.
Update: The WWE Facebook page has since been updated to delete the comment about the Apple TV, but the original text can be seen in the image below.
Tuesday January 28, 2014 9:19 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
Apple's storefront went offline last night and returned with a new Valentine's Day theme featuring accents of red and a handpicked shopping guide for gift buyers. Holiday graphics replace the standard stock product photos and updated captions like "Love is in the Air" promote Apple's top products for the Valentine's Day shoppers.
Perhaps the most important update is the new promotion of the Apple TV at the top of the Online Store, giving it similar prominence to Apple's Mac, iPad, iPhone and iPod lines. The new placement for the Apple TV suggests that it's moving out of the "hobby" status that Apple executives have long assigned it.
Previously, the Apple TV was relegated to the iPod section. Last week, it was rumored that Apple was considering adding game support with Bluetooth controllers and a new App Store to the Apple TV, possibly as soon as March.
New (Top) and Old Apple Online Store Carousel
Apple has revised its shipping estimates with updated information for those shopping for gifts ahead of Valentine's Day. All products, with the exception of the Mac Pro, currently are in stock and will arrive with free shipping in time for the holiday if ordered before February 5th. Deadlines for 2-3 day shipping and next-day shipping are February 10 and 11, respectively. Engraved items require additional processing and must be ordered one day earlier.
This advertising campaign extends to the company's Apple Store app (iTunes link), which was updated with similar holiday graphics and a curated list of the "Top Valentine's Gifts." The Apple TV gets prominent placement in the app as well, appearing on the home screen just below the iPhone 5s and 5c.
Update: Apple is testing a much improved version of the Apple TV that would utilize existing iOS devices as game controllers, according to a report from 9to5Mac, and the company is also considering combining the Apple TV and AirPort Express products, testing a combined Apple TV and 802.11ac wireless router in order to ensure higher-quality streaming.
The site also says Apple is testing an Apple TV device that can control users' existing cable boxes with an Apple user interface overlaying their existing content. It was reported last year that Apple was in negotiations with cable companies and TV networks to allow customers to skip commercials on recorded shows and Apple would compensate programmers for the lost revenue. The company has also been looking to "erase the distinction" between live and on-demand video content.
Thursday January 23, 2014 8:53 am PST by Jordan Golson
The Apple TV could be getting long-awaited game support in an upcoming software update, according to a report from iLounge. It could include Bluetooth controller support and an Apple TV-based App Store.
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.
Turning the Apple TV into a game console-type device with an App Store has long been expected, with rumors dating back years suggesting that such a feature was in the works. MG Siegler wrote last year that Apple appeared to be moving closer to leveraging the Apple TV for television gaming.
2014 will likely bring even more innovation to Apple's product lineup, with current rumors hinting at highly anticipated products like the Apple smart watch, a larger iPhone and iPad, and new developments with the Apple TV. A number of these products have been rumored for some time, but the spate of Apple product releases over the past few months and the imminent turning of the calendar offers a chance to bring those rumors back to the forefront.
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple has plans to create "great products" in areas the company does not participate in today, and in a recent email, Cook told Apple employees that there's a lot in store for Apple in 2014, "including some big plans that we think customers are going to love."
In the list below, we've highlighted Apple's prospective 2014 product plans, outlining what customers might see from Apple in the next 12 months based on current rumors.
Apple's next iPhone is rumored to come equipped with a larger screen size, somewhere between 4.7 and 5.7 inches. Some rumors have suggested that Apple might release the phone in two separate sizes, both of which are larger than the current 4-inch iPhone 5s/5c.
Left to right: iPhone 5, Galaxy S III, "iPhone Plus", Galaxy Note II (Source: Marco Arment)
The larger iPhone, which will likely incorporate a faster 20-nanometer A8 chip from TSMC, may also include sweeping design changes in the form of a curved display. While it is possible Apple will release an updated iPhone earlier in the year, the most likely release target for the larger-screened device is September or October.
Along with a larger iPhone, Apple may be planning to add a larger iPad to its current tablet lineup, which comprises the 9.7-inch iPad Air and the 7.9-inch iPad mini. The "iPad Pro" or "iPad Maxi" as it has been called by the media, is rumored to include a larger 12.9-inch display, which would be most similar in size to the current 13.3-inch MacBook Air.
Mockup of the 12.9-inch iPad next to a 13-inch MacBook Air
The display reportedly offers higher pixel density nearing ultra high-definition quality and it will likely adopt many of the design elements offered in the current iPads, like an ultrathin chassis and narrow side bezels. Aside from a larger screen size, not much is known about Apple's larger iPad, and it is unclear when such a product might be released.
Apple's much-anticipated "iWatch," which was a major rumor focal point in 2013, will likely be released in 2014. According to rumors, the smart watch will primarily function as an accessory to the iPhone and the iPad, providing at-a-glance access to common iOS functions.
The watch may also include a multitude of biometric functions, possibly offering a pedometer and heart rate monitor, among other things, and it could also serve as a home automation hub. While it is entirely unclear what the iWatch will look like, rumors have indicated that it could have an OLED display in the range of 1.3 to 1.7 inches, possibly coming in multiple sizes for a customized fit.
Apple's iWatch may incorporate an ultra durable sapphire glass screen, as the company recently signed a deal with GT Advanced to ramp up sapphire glass production. Rumors have also hinted at a flexible, curved design.
Over the course of 2013, Apple ramped up its work on the iWatch, with a team of 100 product designers working on the project. The company also filed for iWatch trademarks in multiple countries throughout 2013.
Currently, Apple's iWatch is expected to debut during the second half of 2014.
Apple has been long rumored to be making some upgrades to its Apple TV, either in the form of a revamped set top box with additional functionality or a full blown television set. It is unclear what Apple will do in the television arena in 2014, however, as rumors have suggested that the company has shelved its TV plans for the time being in order to focus on wearables like the iWatch. Television remains an area of "intense interest" for Apple, according to Tim Cook.
If Apple does release a television-related product in 2014, it will likely be a new set top box that could bundle key features like an App Store and Siri, along with additional content offerings.
In 2013, Apple worked hard to beef up content offerings, adding several new channels, including WatchESPN, HBO GO, Vevo, Yahoo Screen, and PBS. The company is also said to be in talks with cable provider Time Warner and a deal with that company, as well as other improvements in content, could come in 2014.
Improving content and reaching deals with various cable companies and content providers is a necessary step before Apple can make headway in the television industry.
Many people believed Apple would introduce a new Thunderbolt Display alongside the Mac Pro, as it has been two years since the last Thunderbolt Display update. No new display appeared, but it is possible that the company will debut a new display product in 2014, likely offering a 4K resolution of 4096 or 3840 x 2160 pixels.
In late 2013, Apple supplier AU Optronics introduced new 27 and 32-inch 4K display panels, sparking speculation that revamped Thunderbolt Displays were on the horizon, though concrete information on a new display or a possible release date is unavailable at the current point in time. In lieu of a 4K Thunderbolt Display, Apple is offering a 4K 32-inch Sharp display as an add-on to the Mac Pro.
Other updates: iOS 8, OS X 10.10, MacBooks, and More
As it does every year, Apple will undoubtedly offer refreshed MacBooks over the course of 2014. Recently, a rumor has suggested that a 12-inch MacBook with a MacBook Air-style design and a Retina display could make its debut in the middle of 2014, and other incremental updates to products like the Retina MacBook Pro will come as well.
Apple has several products that have not been refreshed for quite some time, including its lineup of iPods and the Mac Mini, which could see updates in 2014.
New versions of both iOS and OS X are also expected, though few details are available on the software at this time. iOS 8 may include improvements to Maps, iOS in the Car, and a possible Siri API, while the next version of OS X could take on some iOS 7-style design elements. iOS 8 will probably arrive during the fall along refreshed iPhones, and it is likely that a revamped version of OS X will come during the same general time frame.
Tuesday December 17, 2013 5:33 am PST by Eric Slivka
Apple TV users in the United Kingdom gained a new channel today with the addition of Now TV's "Sky Sports", notes Pocket-lint. The channel allows users to purchase £9.99 day passes providing access to six different Sky Sports channels.
If there is a particular sporting event you want to watch, you can purchase a Sky Sports Now TV Day Pass through the app which will unlock all six Sky Sports channels for 24 hours. A Day Pass costs £9.99 and although that might seem hefty in comparison to a monthly Sky Sports subscription through Sky, Virgin Media or other TV services, it's great for those who don't want a regular contract and really only want to watch a Formula One race or cricket test match, for example.
Apple has been making regular updates to its Apple TV content offerings over the last six months, and just last week added support for ABC, Bloomberg, Crackle, and KORTV in the United States, with several of the channels available in other countries as well.
Wednesday December 11, 2013 6:28 am PST by Eric Slivka
Apple today added yet another set of channels to its Apple TV set-top box, including a "Watch ABC" channel to allow subscribers to certain cable services to watch content from their local ABC affiliate through Apple TV. Other additions include financial channel Bloomberg, streaming movie and TV show channel Crackle, and Korean channel KORTV.
Apple has already streamlined the process of building its current lineup of Apple TV apps— which mostly consist of streaming video content— to the point where developers can quickly and easy build apps through an easy to use SDK, much like on iOS. The team behind the development of the Bloomberg app, which consisted of two developers under Bloomberg’s head of mobile and connected devices Oke Okaro, told me that Apple’s toolkit, an SDK of sorts, has “made it quite easy to build the apps.” The team of two developers along with Okaro built the app in just five weeks. Most of that time was spent testing and optimizing the video experience.
Apple reportedly provided some input and feedback along the way in terms of optimizing the user experience, but largely allowed Bloomberg to define what it wanted to include in the channel.
Tuesday November 19, 2013 6:32 am PST by Eric Slivka
Two new channels have appeared on the Apple TV set-top box, with U.S. public television system PBS delivering some of its content through a new channel and Yahoo announcing the launch of Yahoo Screen, a channel for browsing videos such as Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as hosted by Yahoo.
Full access to the PBS app, which includes over 5,000 hours of content, requires users to sign in with a Facebook, Google+, or PBS account, which subscribes them to email updates through their local PBS stations.
Apple has been rapidly expanding the number of content channels available on the Apple TV over the past several months, adding channels such as WatchESPN and HBO GO in June and music video channel Vevo and several Disney channels in August and September. The company is also said to be working on deals with cable provider Time Warner and TV network The CW.
Tuesday November 12, 2013 3:44 pm PST by Juli Clover
Confirming earlier reports suggesting the long-rumored Apple television set is taking a backseat to other Apple projects, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today told investors that he does not expect Apple to produce a television set until 2015 or 2016.
Kuo does believe, however, that Apple may launch a new version of the existing Apple TV set top box with the same A7 processor found in the iPhone 5s and Apple's newest iPads in 2014.
We expect Apple to launch a new version of the Apple TV with an A7 processor in 2014, and we forecast 2014 shipments to total 8.2mn units. Shipment growth will be limited unless Apple is able to integrate more TV content, services and its App Store, in our view.
According to Kuo, the cost of launching a supply chain for television set production is a major obstacle for Apple's television set plans, as is the company's continued struggle with procuring additional content deals. Kuo believes that integrating TV content, an App Store, and other services are key to skyrocketing the Apple TV and a subsequent television set from a hobby to a viable product.
We believe the slowdown in Apple TV shipments suggests Apple faces challenges in integrating TV content and services. If Apple wants to launch iTV, the challenges of integrating content and service are more difficult considering the different TV content ecosystems (e.g. cable operators) in various countries. Moreover, establishing an iTV supply chain is very costly. Thus we believe iTV launch will be delayed to end-2015 or early 2016 at the earliest.
There was some speculation that Apple could release an updated Apple TV product during the company's recent iPad event, but according toTechCrunch's MG Siegler, Apple is not yet ready to debut its revamped hardware, which could include upgrades like Siri integration or motion control, so a 2014 timeline makes sense.
Apple has also thus far been unable to secure the deals with content providers and cable companies that are necessary for it to revolutionize the television experience, but it remains in ongoing negotiations with multiple companies including Time Warner.
Monday November 11, 2013 7:57 am PST by Eric Slivka
While Apple has been rumored for a number of years to have been working on a television set project, reports have become more scarce over the past year as interest in a potential smart watch has gained steam. According to a report from NPD DisplaySearch, the rumor trends are indeed a reflection of what is happening at Apple, with the company apparently putting the TV project "on hold again" as wearables such as the "iWatch" have taken priority.
According to sources in the TV supply chain, it appears that Apple’s long-rumored TV plans, which were far from concrete anyway, have been put on hold again, possibly to be replaced by a rollout of wearable devices. Although many financial and industry analysts have been speculating about Apple’s entrance into the TV business via an actual TV (instead of the Apple TV “hobby” set-top-box) for years, during the last year the rumor-mill has shifted into high gear about a 2014 introduction. Indeed, our own information from TV supply chain sources pointed to the fact that Apple appeared to be lining up resources for a product introduction in the second half of 2014, likely with 2-3 large screen sizes and 4K resolution.
However, the hangup has always been the content.
The report is not specific about how DisplaySearch has arrived at its conclusion that Apple's TV project has been put on hold, but the firm closely watches the display supply chain and likely is not yet seeing any significant movement toward an Apple television.
Apple has reportedly been working on advancing its Apple TV set-top box, but Apple's efforts to revolutionize the television experience will require the company to reach agreements with content providers and cable companies, a process that has been underway for several years but yet to result in any significant progress.
Meanwhile, focus on Apple wearables has continued to pick up steam amid continuing rumors that the company is shooting for a late 2014 launch of an iWatch that would run "full iOS". Fueling speculation in recent days has been an announcement that Apple will build a major new manufacturing plant in Arizona to produce sapphire glass. While sapphire is currently used to protect the iPhone's rear camera and the Touch ID sensor of the iPhone 5s, the deal points to a major expansion of Apple's sapphire plans that could include scratch-resistant wearable devices or even full sapphire glass front panels for future iPhones.
According to Cook, Apple believes that it can use its skills building software, hardware, and services to create "great products" in categories that Apple does not participate in today. "We're pretty confident about that," said Cook.
Apple has been rumored to be working on a number of innovative products, including a smart watch dubbed the iWatch, which will compete with offerings from several other companies like Nike, Jawbone, and Samsung, along with a potential Apple television set.
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