Archive of Apple TV Rumors

One of the key features of the new Apple TV set to launch later this month is universal search, which allows users to find content across a number of different services using text entry or, in some countries, Siri voice search. Universal search will work across iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime at launch, but it was initially unclear whether the feature would be expanded to include additional content sources over time.

In a follow-up story on his interview with Tim Cook last month, BuzzFeed's John Paczkowski relates some additional details on Apple TV shared by Cook, including word that developers will indeed be able to make their content available to universal search via an API.
“At launch we’ll have iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, and HBO — so we’ll have five major inputs into universal search initially,” Cook said. “But we’re also opening an API, so that others can join in.”

And Apple’s confident that they will do just that. “I think that many, many people will want to be in that search,” Cook said. “And that’s great for users. Think about your experience today. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have the content you want to watch in an app, you sometimes don’t remember exactly where that show is, so you’re going to Netflix or Hulu or Showtime. You shouldn’t have to do that. It should be very simple.”
Cook went on to note that universal search will be intelligent enough to know which services the user is subscribed to, highlighting which sources are available free or with existing subscriptions. This is true even when different services offer only a portion of a television series' seasons, such as a show where older seasons are available through Netflix with an existing subscription but newer seasons may need to be purchased through iTunes or through a new HBO subscription.
Late Friday night, Apple emailed developers to tell them that more developer kits for the new Apple TV are now available. The email, which MacRumors has obtained a copy of, says that more developer kits are being made available due to "overwhelming demand."

Due to overwhelming demand, we’ve made more Apple TV Developer Kits available and you’ve been selected to receive one. Simply sign in with your developer account, agree to the terms and conditions, and submit your order by 5:00 p.m.local time on October 9, 2015.
Similar to the original wave of new Apple TV dev kits, Apple will charge developers $1 to verify billing addresses. The Apple TV will ship within 1 to 3 business days via standard shipping for free. The original wave of Apple TV dev kits had to be ordered by September 16.

The new Apple TV represents a massive overhaul of Apple's existing set-top box, coming with a brand new operating system called tvOS, a much more powerful A8 processor, 2 GB of RAM, support for a full App Store and Siri in countries where it's supported.
Apple's fourth-generation Apple TV includes support for a full App Store, making it possible for developers to create games and apps for the device for the first time. A platform like the Apple TV seems well-suited to multiplayer games, but it appears the new Apple TV will only support two Bluetooth controllers at once and three Bluetooth-connected devices total.

Our sister site TouchArcade got in touch with several developers who have Apple TV Dev Kits to test the limits of multiplayer gameplay on the devices, and these developers found they were only able to connect two controllers in addition to the Apple Remote control.

That means that at the current time, the Apple TV supports a total of three players for local gameplay using controllers, which will likely be the preferred method of control for games like first person shooters and platformers. Attempting to connect more than two controllers causes one of the first connected controllers to disconnect, and multiple Made for iPhone (MFi) controllers were tested by various developers.
Well, this is a bit of a bummer. We just got word from one of the developers who were lucky enough to win the Apple TV dev kit lottery (Who we're not naming because we don't want to cause more Apple TV NDA drama!) who raced out and bought a ton of MFi controllers with the hopes of making a 8 player party game.

These hopes were quickly dashed as they realized that the new Apple TV will only connect to two external Bluetooth devices at once, along with the included remote.
The limitations on Bluetooth-connected devices do not extend to the iPhone, which can also be used as a controller in multiplayer games. Implementing iPhone control methods is tricker than simple MFi controller support, however, as it requires developers to build custom iPhone support into apps.

All tvOS games and apps are required to include touch-based controls for the Siri remote, so most titles should work with simple iPhone controls, but many gamers may prefer using MFi controllers. Apple's decision to force developers to build games around touch support has not been a popular one, as it limits games to very basic control schemes.

Apple may be planning to expand the number of controllers supported by the Apple TV ahead of its October launch, but for now, it looks like the device will only support two controllers simultaneously, further limiting the gaming capabilities of the Apple TV.
Amazon plans to stop selling some streaming video devices that compete with its Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, reports Bloomberg. It will no longer offer Google's Chromecast or Apple's Apple TV for sale in its online store.

Amazon today sent an email to marketplace sellers notifying them of the upcoming change. The site plans to disallow new listings for the product and remove existing inventory on October 29. As a reason for the removal, Amazon is citing compatibility with its Prime Video streaming service, which is not available on devices from Google and Apple.
"Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime," Amazon said in the e-mail. "It's important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion."
Other set-top boxes and consoles, including those from Roku, Microsoft, and Playstation, do have apps that allow customers to stream Amazon Prime Video and thus won't be affected by the new ban.

For Apple customers, this means the new fourth-generation Apple TV will not be available for purchase via It also suggests the device will not be gaining an Amazon video app and will continue to be incompatible with the Amazon Prime Video service.
After the new fourth-generation Apple TV was announced on September 9, Apple provided developers with Apple TV Dev Kits to be used to create tvOS apps for the device. Teardown site iFixit took apart one of those Apple TV units meant for developers and has now run into some repercussions for doing so.

According to a post on the iFixit blog, the teardown, which unveiled all of the internal components of the new Apple TV, violated Apple's terms and conditions. As a result, iFixit's developer account was banned, leading to the removal of the iFixit app from the App Store.

iFixit's Apple TV unit was sent directly from Apple with the same restrictions placed on Apple TV units sent to other developers, but iFixit ignored the fine print. "We weighed the risks, blithely tossed those risks over our shoulder, and tore down the Apple TV anyway," reads the blog post.
A few days later, we got an email from Apple informing us that we violated their terms and conditions--and the offending developer account had been banned. Unfortunately, iFixit's app was tied to that same account, so Apple pulled the app as well. Their justification was that we had taken "actions that may hinder the performance or intended use of the App Store, B2B Program, or the Program."

Live and learn.
With the iFixit app removed from the Apple Store, iFixit is instead planning to revamp its mobile website and does not have plans to rewrite the app. The decision to focus on the iFixit mobile site came before the app was pulled by Apple, so it was not a huge loss to iFixit. The site says the app was outdated and riddled with bugs caused by iOS 9.

Following the release of Apple TV Developer Kits, many other developers shared photos, unboxings, and feature tidbits about the device. It is unknown if Apple has also contacted these developers about non-disclosure violations.
Earlier this month, developer James Addyman got his emulator, Provenance, working on the Apple TV Developer Kit provided to developers via lottery, and now developer Kevin Smith has gotten the popular MAME game emulator running on the device.

In the video below, a tvOS version of the MAME emulator is demonstrated on the fourth-generation Apple TV. For those unfamiliar with MAME, it stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. Over the years, several apps with the MAME code have snuck into the iOS App Store, letting people illicitly run old arcade games.

In the video, Smith shows several old arcade games running on the Apple TV, including Donkey Kong, Galaga, Street Fighter II, Raiden, and Metal Slug - Super Vehicle. All of the games are said to run well, though there are some lingering sound issues with a few of the titles.

The video's description includes some of the technical hurdles that had to be overcome to get the emulator working on tvOS.
I created a target for tvOS and set about getting the code to compile for arm64 (Mandatory for AppleTV), fixed a variety of compiler and linker errors. Removed code which was incompatible with tvOS frameworks and simplified code to work on tvOS. Added a basic icon compatible with tvOS. I added some tweaks to the source to allow the pause button to exit the game and supporting the resolution for the 1080p display.
While developers have been able to get emulators running on the developer versions of the fourth-generation Apple TV, which were handed out to help developers create Apple TV apps, emulators won't be available on the tvOS App Store. Apple doesn't allow emulators on iOS and will likely adopt the same policy for tvOS.

There is a possibility that emulators will be able to sneak into the tvOS App Store in the future, buried deep within legitimate apps, but as on iOS, such apps will only survive for hours before being pulled once discovered by Apple.
iFixit has posted a hardware teardown of the new fourth-generation Apple TV, providing a closer look at the set-top box's A8 chip, flash storage, redesigned power supply with a larger heat sink and other logic board components. The website also provided a teardown of the accompanying Siri Remote.

Under the hood, the new Apple TV features a dual-core, 64-bit Apple A8 chip with 2GB of SK Hynix LPDDR3 SDRAM, custom Apple memory controller, SK Hynix NAND flash storage, Universal Scientific Industrial Wi-Fi module and SMSC USB 2.0 to 10/100 Ethernet controller.

Apple TV 4 Components List
  • Apple A8 APL1011 SoC
  • Universal Scientific Industrial 339S00045 Wi-Fi module
  • SMSC LAN9730 USB 2.0 to 10/100 Ethernet controller
  • Apple 338S00057 custom memory controller
  • Texas Instruments PA61
  • Fairchild Semiconductor DF25AU 010D 030D
  • DP2700A1
  • SK Hynix H2JTEG8VD1BMR 32 GB NAND Flash
  • NXP 1112 0206 5271B4K
  • V301 F 57K C6XF G4

    The new Apple TV also has a larger heat sink, which is likely a contributing factor to the set-top box's taller form factor. The redesigned power supply is rated at 12V at 0.917A, compared to the third-generation Apple TV's rating of 3.4V at 1.75A. The heat sink is situated above the heat-sensitive logic board.

    The teardown of the Siri Remote reveals a ST Microelectronics low-power ARM Cortex-M3 MCU, Qualcomm CSR1010 Bluetooth radio, Texas Instruments low-power digital signal processor, the same Broadcom touch screen controller used in the iPhone 5s/5c and iPad Air, 410 mAh battery and a few other chips.

    iFixit gave the new Apple TV a strong repairability score of 8 out of 10, with ten being the easiest to repair, because it has only a few major components, a replaceable power supply and standard Torx screws. It also found the Siri Remote has a wide gap, making it easy to pry apart for repairs.
  • As developers get their hands on Apple TV, they've started experimenting with its new operating system tvOS, testing new kinds of apps and finding tidbits that haven't been discovered yet. Developer James Addyman, for instance, has created an emulator for the new Apple TV called Provenance.

    Image via James Addyman

    Provenance is an iOS front end that allows support for multiple emulators. Currently, it supports emulators for Sega's Genesis, Master System, Mega CD and Game Gear and Nintendo's NES, SNES, Gameboy and Gameboy Advance.

    While Provenance is still being developed and it's unlikely the app will make it into the Apple TV's App Store, other developers can test Provenance as Addyman continues work on it. Addyman says certain issues still need to be corrected, including determining when the Apple TV will erase its local content and how to properly map old Sega and Nintendo gamepad functions to the Siri Remote. Addyman began developing Provenance last week within the tvOS simulator.

    Mirroring Addyman's concerns about mapping old Nintendo and Sega gamepad functions to the Siri Remote, developer Steve Troughton-Smith points out how many inputs can actually be used for playing games.

    While the touchpad can be clicked, acting as a "second button", it can't be clicked easily while being used to control movement. This could make game development difficult, as games have to be able to be played on the Siri Remote.

    Troughton-Smith has also been revealing Apple TV tidbits as he explores the dev kit. For instance, when a user picks up the new Siri Remote it senses it's being held and automatically wakes up the screen before a button is pressed. IR is used to control a TV's volume with the Siri Remote and your TV remote can be used to control the Apple TV.

    Additionally, the existing Apple TV IR remotes also work with the new Apple TV. This includes the silver aluminum remote that ships with current Apple TVs and the original white plastic Apple TV remote. While they don't allow you to access Siri, they do allow you to navigate around the Apple TV's interface.

    Finally, with Apple TV dev kits in the hands of developers, some have made their way onto sites like eBay and Craigslist for sale for up to $1,000.

    The new Apple TV will be available in October and come in two variations: a 32 GB version for $149 and a 64 GB version for $199.
    Earlier this week, Apple began allowing developers who won the lottery for an Apple TV Developer Kit to place orders for the devices, and shortly after, Apple began shipping Apple TVs out around the world. As of today, a large number of developers have begun receiving the Apple TVs according to reports on Twitter and images shared with MacRumors.

    Developers were selected to receive an Apple TV using a lottery process that started shortly after the Apple TV was introduced on September 9, which has now wrapped up. Developers who won were able to obtain Apple TV Developer Kits at no cost, with a $1 fee being charged to verify billing and shipping addresses.

    With Apple TVs in the hands of hundreds of developers, we may be able to learn a lot more about the device and how it works ahead of its official late October launch date, and we'll be able to get a closer look at what kind of apps we can expect on it. Last week, there was an unboxing of the Apple TV, which gave us a first glimpse at the new set-top box and the touch-based remote out in the wild.

    The new Apple TV includes a powerful A8 processor, 2GB RAM, and a new operating system, tvOS, which supports Siri voice control and a full App Store, allowing games and apps to be played on the device.

    (Thanks, Tom!)
    Griffin today debuted its first accessory for the Apple TV, introducing a new case designed for the Siri Remote. The Survivor Play for Siri Remote aims to add protection to keep it safe from scratches and dings when dropped and it adds a non-slip grip to make it easier to hold when playing motion-based games that require a lot of movement.

    The Survivor Play, which is made of a soft, textured silicone, fits around the back of the Siri Remote and is similar to the wide variety Wii Remote skins that make the Nintendo controller easier to hold during gameplay. According to Griffin, the Survivor Play was designed primarily with gameplay in mind, adding extra thick grips to make it more comfortable to hold.
    Now that Apple TV has added gaming, your Siri Remote will be working harder than ever. Survivor Play was designed with gaming in mind. Its easy-to grip shape surrounds the remote's back and edges with impact-absorbing silicone. So just in case things get rowdy while you're playing Beat Sports, your Siri Remote stays safe.
    The case also adds cushioning and protection for the edges and the corners of the Siri Remote, the places most likely to be damaged should the remote be dropped or flung across the room during a heated gameplay session. Because it wraps around the back, the Survivor Play leaves the Siri Remote buttons, touchscreen, microphones, and Lightning port easily accessible.

    When it launches later this fall, the Griffin Survivor Play for the Siri Remote will be priced at $19.99.
    When creating games and apps for the new Apple TV, developers are required to build in support for the touch-based remote, making all content accessible to all users without the need for additional accessories like an MFi controller.

    As noted by developer Dustin Westphal and shared by our sister site Touch Arcade, Apple's App Programming Guide for the tvOS says the following: "Your game must support the Apple TV remote. Your game may not require the use of a controller."

    The new Apple TV works with third-party Bluetooth controllers, but because they are an optional accessory, they are not allowed to be the primary input method for a game. This requirement will force developers who want to build games around controller use to also include a touch or motion-based control scheme for use with the Apple TV remote.

    As Touch Arcade points out, the requirement is bound to be a hassle for developers, especially those with games that have complicated control schemes.
    There will be games that will have control schemes that are too complicated for the remote, for sure. What if Apple rejects apps that feature terrible controls for the remote, designed only to achieve the bare minimum functionality? Or developers with complicated controls decide to skip making their app compatible with the Apple TV because it won't be worth it? Ideally, we don't want to get to a point where games aren't coming to the Apple TV, or being actively rejected, because they won't fit the remote.
    Apple appears to have originally planned to allow developers to require a game controller to play Apple TV games, but the company later nixed that policy and is now requiring all games to support the Apple TV remote in addition to a controller.

    Apple's choice to require support for the Apple TV is not surprising, as it also has the same requirements for iOS devices. Developers can build controller support into their iPhone and iPad apps, but apps must also include touch-based control schemes for users who do not have a controller.
    vlclogoApple's latest fourth-generation Apple TV includes a dedicated App Store, which will allow users to access many apps and features that were not previously available on the older Apple TV. Popular media streaming apps Plex and VLC, for example, are both coming to the Apple TV, with tvOS versions already in the works.

    The developers behind VLC announced their work on a tvOS app this morning, though few details have been given. "Some code to build VLCKit for the new tvOS was merged," reads a blog post. "It's very early though, but we have video playback!"

    For those unfamiliar with VLC, it's a cross-platform media player that's designed to support multiple audio and video file formats and act as a streaming server. VLC is available on streaming devices that compete with the Apple TV, such as the Amazon Fire TV, but on Apple's platform, it's been limited to Macs and iOS devices.

    Similarly, popular media organization and streaming app Plex is coming to the Apple TV. A tvOS version of Plex is in development, Plex co-founder Scott Olechowski told ITworld last week. Like VLC, Plex is in the early stages of development, so few details are available
    There is no question we will be able to offer Plex on the platform. There are multiple ways to go about it, based on the tvOS SDK we now have access to. We are now evaluating the best path for Plex and will begin work in earnest once we have evaluated the options. The ability to access great and proven iOS frameworks on the device is great for developers like us -- we know the stuff is solid and will perform really well. 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.
    Currently, Plex works with set-top boxes like the Chromecast and the Fire TV, and it is a popular choice with jailbroken Apple TVs, but it is not available to Apple TV users in any official capacity. Plex is designed to organize personal media libraries consisting of video and music files, allowing them to be easily streamed to TVs and other devices, either locally or remotely.

    Plex on the Amazon Fire TV

    As of today, developers are beginning to place their orders for Apple TV Developer Kits, so we may soon be hearing a lot more about these two apps and other apps that will be coming to the Apple TV.