Archive of Apple TV Rumors

Throughout the tvOS 9.2 beta testing process, Apple has been steadily adding new features. Today's third beta introduced a pair of new features that are quite useful: dictation and App Store search for Siri. We've made a quick video that shows off the new features and how they work on the fourth-generation Apple TV.

With the new dictation option, it's now possible for Apple TV owners to dictate text and spell user names and passwords rather than typing them. After installing tvOS 9.2 beta 3, users are prompted to enable or disable dictation.

After dictation is enabled, the tvOS search bar alternates between a blank search field and an option to hold down the Siri button on the remote to dictate text. While speaking into the remote, a live levels meter is displayed on the screen so you can be sure the dictation feature is activated.

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The first version of tvOS had few options for entering text, requiring users to slowly type in passwords and user names with the on-screen text entry box with the Siri remote. Since then, Apple has added support for the Apple Remote app, with tvOS 9.2 bringing support for dictation and Bluetooth keyboards.

App Store search for Siri is the second new feature in today's beta. With the new Siri support, voice-based searches can be used to find specific apps or app categories, such as games, in the App Store. The feature greatly enhances the process of finding apps on the fourth-generation Apple TV, which was previously limited to text-based searches.

Along with App Store search for Siri, Bluetooth keyboard support, and dictation, tvOS 9.2 includes support for iCloud Photo Library and Live Photos, and allows users to group apps into folders on the Home screen like on iOS devices. It also includes a new look for the App Switcher interface, and brings MapKit for developers.

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tvOS 9.2 is currently available only to developers, but it should see a public release in the spring likely alongside iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4, and watchOS 2.2.
Apple today provided developers with the third beta of an upcoming 9.2 update to tvOS, the operating system that runs on the fourth-generation Apple TV and powers its built-in App Store. Today's tvOS 9.2 beta 3 comes two weeks after Apple released the second beta of tvOS 9.2 and two weeks after the release of tvOS 9.1.1, a minor update to tvOS 9.1. tvOS 9.2 has been in testing since January 11.

tvOS betas are more difficult to install than beta updates for iOS and OS X. Installing the tvOS beta requires the Apple TV to be connected to a computer with a USB-C to USB-A cable, with the software downloaded and installed via iTunes or Apple Configurator. Those who have already installed the second tvOS 9.2 beta will be able to download the third update over the air.

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tvOS 9.2 is a significant update for the tvOS operating system. It brings support for Bluetooth keyboards, allowing a keyboard to be paired to the Apple TV for text entry. Bluetooth keyboard support is a major feature that was missing from previous versions of tvOS and its addition should make it much easier to do tasks like entering passwords on the fourth-generation Apple TV.

Along with Bluetooth keyboard support, the tvOS 9.2 update introduces support for grouping apps into folders on the Home screen like on iOS devices, plus it includes a new look for the App Switcher interface and it brings support for iCloud Photo Library and Live Photos.

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tvOS 9.2 also introduces MapKit so developers can incorporate maps into their tvOS apps, and it adds Siri support for US Spanish (in the US only) and French Canadian (in Canada only). UK English, Australian English, and US English are also now available as Siri options in the UK, Australian, and US Storefronts when English is set as the tvOS language.

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We'll update this post with any new features that are discovered in the third beta of tvOS 9.2.

What's new in tvOS 9.2 beta 3:

Dictation - There's now support for onscreen text entry via dictation in countries where Siri is available. When updating to tvOS 9.2 beta 3, users will be prompted to enable or disable dictation. With dictation, Apple TV users can dictate text and spell user names and passwords rather than typing them.

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With dictation enabled, the tvOS search bar alternates between a blank search field and an option to hold the Siri button to dictate text.

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While speaking, a live levels meter is then displayed on the screen.

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App Store Siri Search - Siri is now able to search for App Store apps, improving the app discovery process in the App Store. It's now possible to ask Siri to search for an app or to search for a category of apps, such as games and bring up a listing.
Universal search, which allows users to find content across multiple apps and services using text or Siri voice search, is one of the most useful features on the new fourth-generation Apple TV. At launch, universal search worked with iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime, but Apple promised to expand the feature to include additional content sources over time.

Apple has made good on that promise. As of today, searching for content on the Apple TV will encompass the aforementioned apps along with FOX NOW, FXNOW, and National Geographic. Apple also expanded universal search to include PBS and PBS Kids in January.

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Apple maintains a full list of apps that are included in the Apple TV's universal search feature in a dedicated support document. The new channels aren't listed yet, but should be added to the document in the near future.

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Universal search across iTunes, HBO GO, HBO NOW, Hulu, Netflix, PBS, PBS Kids, Showtime, Showtime Anytime, FOX NOW, FXNOW, and NAT GEO is limited to Apple TV users who are located in the United States. Content from these apps will be displayed when a user asks Siri to find a movie or television show or conducts a text-based search.

In Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the UK, universal search only encompasses movies and TV shows on iTunes and Netflix, and with all other countries, search is only available for movies in iTunes.

Apple plans to continue opening up its universal search API to additional apps going forward.
Both the Apple Watch and the Apple TV set new quarterly sales records in 1Q 2016, according to information shared by Tim Cook during today's earnings call. The Apple Watch saw especially strong sales in December as people purchased the device during the holiday season, something that's perhaps not a surprise given the significant discounts offered by some third-party retailers.

While Apple did not offer discounts itself, Best Buy cut prices on the Apple Watch by $100, and Target offered a $100 gift card with the purchase of an Apple Watch. These price drops likely boosted Apple Watch sales by a good amount during the quarter. Apple also expanded Apple Watch availability to more than 48 countries ahead of the holiday season.

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As for the Apple TV, Apple says it saw its best quarter ever following the launch of the fourth-generation device. The Apple TV 4, priced at $149 to $199 depending on capacity, includes features like a full App Store, a touch-based remote control and Siri voice control. Available apps on the Apple TV have expanded, with 3,600 total apps now downloadable on the device.

Apple does not break out sales of the Apple Watch and the Apple TV, choosing instead to lump them into an "Other" category that also includes iPods and Beats headphones, so exact sales numbers for the two devices are not known. Revenue for the Other category did see a big increase, jumping more than 40 percent from $2.7 billion in 1Q2015 to $4.35 billion in 1Q2016. Sales were also up quarter over quarter, as revenue in 4Q2015 was at $3 billion.

Overall, it was a record quarter for Apple with $18.4 billion in profit on $75.9 billion in revenue. During the quarter, the company sold 74.8 million iPhones, 16.1 million iPads, and 5.3 million Macs.
apple_tv_diagonalApple has added refurbished Apple TV 4 models to its online store for refurbished products, less than a week after refurbished 12-inch Retina MacBook models became available.

The base model with 32GB storage is available for $129, compared to its regular $149 price, while the 64GB model costs $169, down from $199. The total savings are between $20 and $30.

While these are Apple's best prices for the new Apple TV, RadioShack is currently selling brand new 32GB and 64GB models bundled with an HDMI cable online for only $119.98 and $169.98 respectively. There is a $5.95 shipping fee on all orders.

The fourth-generation Apple TV was released in October 2015, and features an App Store, Siri and tvOS software. Earlier today, Apple seeded the second beta of tvOS 9.2, which introduces support for Bluetooth keyboards, app folders, a new look for the App Switcher interface, MapKit, additional Siri languages and more.

(Thanks, Jeremy!)
Apple today provided developers with the second beta of an upcoming 9.2 update to tvOS, the operating system that runs on the fourth-generation Apple TV and powers its built-in App Store. Today's tvOS 9.2 beta 2 comes two weeks after Apple released the first beta of tvOS 9.2 and just hours after the release of tvOS 9.1.1, a minor update that follows tvOS 9.1.

tvOS betas are more difficult to install than beta updates for iOS and OS X. Installing the tvOS beta requires the Apple TV to be connected to a computer with a USB-C to USB-A cable, with the software downloaded and installed via iTunes or Apple Configurator. Those who have already installed the first tvOS 9.2 beta will be able to download the update over the air.

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tvOS 9.2 is a major update for the tvOS operating system. It introduces support for Bluetooth keyboards, allowing a keyboard to be paired to the Apple TV for text entry. Bluetooth keyboard support is a major feature that was missing from previous versions of tvOS and its addition should make it much easier to do tasks like entering passwords on the fourth-generation Apple TV.

Along with Bluetooth keyboard support, the tvOS 9.2 update introduces support for grouping apps into folders on the Home screen like on iOS devices, plus it includes a new look for the App Switcher interface.

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tvOS 9.2 also includes support for the Podcasts app included in tvOS 9.1.1, introduces MapKit so developers can incorporate maps into their tvOS apps, and it adds Siri support for US Spanish (in the US only) and French Canadian (in Canada only). UK English, Australian English, and US English are also now available as Siri options in the UK, Australian, and US Storefronts when English is set as the tvOS language.

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What's New in tvOS 9.2 beta 2:

iCloud Photo Library - Full iCloud Photo Library access is available on the Apple TV with the second tvOS 9.2 beta installed. It can be enabled through the iCloud section of the Settings menu. In the current public version of tvOS, users can only view Photo Stream content on the Apple TV.

Live Photos - With iCloud Photo Library access comes support for Live Photos. Live Photos saved to an iCloud Photo Library can be played by pressing on the trackpad on the Siri Remote.
Apple today released the third update to tvOS, the operating system designed to run on the fourth-generation Apple TV. tvOS 9.1.1 is a minor update that likely includes bug fixes and performance updates to address issues discovered since the launch of tvOS 9.1, which was released to the public in December of 2015.

The new 9.1.1 update can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System --> Software Update. Those who have automatic software updates turned on will be upgraded to the new 9.1.1 operating system automatically.

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tvOS 9.1.1 is available a month and a half after the release of tvOS 9.1. Like the first minor tvOS update, tvOS 9.0.1, tvOS 9.1.1 focuses on under-the-hood improvements, but it does introduce one major change -- a new Podcasts app for the Apple TV.

tvOS 9.1.1 comes as Apple is testing the second major update to the tvOS operating system, tvOS 9.2. Apple has thus far seeded one beta of tvOS 9.2 to developers, which includes new features like support for Bluetooth keyboards, app folders, a revamped app switcher, and more.
Apple today shared a new Apple TV ad on its YouTube channel, highlighting the many apps and games that are available on the device through the dedicated tvOS App Store. Entitled "The Future of TV is Apps," the ad features an Apple TV set-top box that morphs to match the theme of each app that's shown off in the spot.

Netflix, Apple Music, WatchESPN, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Disney Infinity, Gilt, GrubHub, Showtime, Crossy Road, HBO Now, and Fox Now, are among the apps that are featured. The ad ends with the brightly colored television test bars that have been used in all fourth-generation Apple TV advertisements.


Since the Apple TV 4 launched in October, Apple has been promoting it through a series of television ads, colorful billboards displayed across a number of cities, web ads, and social media campaigns. Today's ad is the second in the company's app-focused series.
chompappleemployeeFour years ago, Apple purchased App Store search and discovery company Chomp, gaining Ben Keighran as an employee. Keighran went on to have a pivotal role developing the "look and feel" of the software on the new Apple TV, but according to Re/code, he's now leaving the company.

Keighran participated in the development of tvOS, the software that runs on the fourth-generation Apple TV. tvOS marked a huge step forward from software on previous Apple TV set-top boxes, introducing Siri support and a full App Store. According to Keighran, it also incorporates search and discovery elements that he created with Chomp.

In the tvOS development hierarchy, Keighran worked under Bill Bachman, who oversees Apple's media apps. Bachman reports to Robert Kondrk, Apple's vice president of iTunes content, who reports to iTunes chief Eddy Cue. Going forward, Keighran plans to create his own "iconic company," but says the decision to leave Apple was difficult.

While Keighran wouldn't give Re/code behind-the-scenes details on Apple's television development plans, he says Apple "looked at many different ways of delivering an awesome TV experience."
ESPN president John Skipper spoke with The Wall Street Journal in an interview this morning, revealing some insider details on Apple's struggle to establish deals with content providers for a streaming television service.

According to Skipper, Apple is "frustrated" by its ongoing inability to find a mutually advantageous way to work with programmers. Though no deals have been established, ESPN "continues" trying to work with Apple on some kind of partnership.

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They are creating a significantly advantageous operating system and a great television experience and that television experience is fabulous for sports. We are big proponents of believing it would be a fabulous place to sell some subscriptions. We have ongoing conversations. They have been frustrated by their ability to construct something which works for them with programmers. We continue to try to work with them.
Skipper's comments are in line with recent rumors made by CBS CEO Les Moonves, who said Apple "pressed the hold button" on its streaming television plans after it was unable to establish the necessary deals. Rumors throughout 2015 suggested Apple was aiming to create a web-based television product that would offer a small bundle of channels for $30 to $40 per month.

Apple has been attempting to create some kind of television service since 2009, but the company has run into resistance from cable and content providers time and time again because of a reluctance to interrupt existing revenue streams and fundamentally shift the way cable is provided.

ESPN's deal with Sling TV, a service that offers streaming access to major cable channels, offers some insight into where Apple may be running into trouble establishing deals. There is an option in ESPN's contract with Sling TV that lets the deal be terminated should it cannibalize ESPN's core pay TV business, something Apple likely wouldn't have agreed to. Apple is also said to have run into trouble getting content providers to unbundle their channels.

While Skipper believes 2016 will see "further announcements" of different streaming packages from new companies, it is not likely Apple will be among them. The company's content struggles have caused it to put its streaming service on hold, with plans to instead focus on the tvOS App Store and its position as a platform that gives media companies tools to sell content directly to customers.
Apple yesterday surprised us with new betas of iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4, watchOS 2.2, and tvOS 9.2. Of those betas, iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 introduce important new features to iOS devices and the fourth-generation Apple TV.

iOS 9.3 includes a new Night Shift mode that cuts down on blue light in the evening for better sleep, plus it introduces new Quick Actions for several stock apps and brings new features for News, Notes, Health, CarPlay, and more. A full walkthrough of what's new in iOS 9.3 is available in the video below.

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tvOS 9.2 introduces features that have been sorely missing from the new Apple TV, including support for Bluetooth keyboards to make text entry a simpler process. It includes folders for organizing the Home screen much like one can do on an iOS device, and it introduces a new look for the Home screen, among other things. To see everything that's new in tvOS 9.2, make sure to watch our walkthrough video.

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watchOS 2.2 and OS X 10.11.4 include less obvious under-the-hood updates, but both bring important new features. OS X 10.11.4 introduces support for locked notes, while watchOS 2.2, paired with iOS 9.3, allows the iPhone to connect to multiple Apple Watches.

There's no word on when we'll see the public releases of iOS 9.3, tvOS 9.2, OS X 10.11.4, and watchOS 2.2, but there's undoubtedly several weeks of testing left before the updates will launch. Ahead of these major releases, we will see the launch of iOS 9.2.1 and OS X 10.11.3, both of which are also in testing.
Following a lengthy beta testing period, VideoLAN has announced that its VLC app is now available for the fourth-generation Apple TV on the tvOS App Store.

The app is a full port of the VLC media player and supports virtually all video formats in line with the VLC for iOS app. There are also many tvOS-specific features.

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- Content Discovery: The app automatically discovers video files stored on your local network, using the SMB, UPnP media server, FTP and PLEX protocols. You can browse through videos with the Siri Remote and select content for playback. During playback, subtitles can be added from OpenSubtitles.org.

- Saved Logins: Login credentials can be securely stored on the Apple TV and will be synchronized to and from your iPhone and iPad.

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- Remote Playback: VLC displays an IP address under the Remote Playback menu on Apple TV. This address can be typed into your computer's web browser, and an interface will pop up allowing you to drag and drop a file to play it on your TV remotely.

You can drag and drop multiple files to queue them. The files will remain available locally on the Apple TV until its internal storage is maxed out. The web interface can be used for remote play, pause and seeking.
For playback of a network stream URL on your TV, just paste it to the field and push return. Once playback concludes, you will find it in the Network Stream view for future use. Like for files, you can send multiple URLs rows in a row and they will be attached to the playback queue.
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- Playback: VLC for the Apple TV supports basic play, pause and seek controls. You can navigate the app by chapter and titles or select from multiple audio and subtitles tracks. Other features include custom playback speed and hatchet.is integration for artist imagery and biographies.

VLC is currently beta testing Apple TV support for cloud services Dropbox, OneDrive and Box. The feature will be available in the near future.