Archive of Apple TV Rumors

apple_tv_roundupThrough Apple's developer program, users have long been able to register the Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) for up to 100 individual devices to qualify them for testing Apple beta software and their own apps. Some users saw that limit raised to 200 several years ago, but the higher limit was never officially implemented by Apple.

With yesterday's move to merge Apple's developer programs, the company has also rolled out new limits for registered devices, as noted by a number of MacRumors readers. The total limit is now 500 devices, but it is broken down by device type with up to 100 slots each for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple Watch, and Apple TV devices now available.

A number of readers have highlighted the inclusion of Apple TV as a supported device, believing it points to third-party app development for the set-top box as had been rumored for launch at WWDC but was reportedly pushed back just weeks ago. The Apple TV has actually been a supported device for UDID registration for quite some time, and Apple has regularly offered developers betas of upcoming Apple TV software for testing.

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Image via Ouriel Ohayon

Even so, the limit of 100 Apple TVs per account seems generous for simply testing Apple's beta software, so the question is whether the Apple TV was given the same limits as other device types for simplicity's sake or if the company is setting the stage for broader third-party app development for the platform later this year.

As was the case previously, once a device is registered it counts toward the user's limit for the remainder of the developer subscription year, preventing users from rapidly deleting and adding devices to game the system.
A new report out today by Adobe Digital Index (ADI) put Apple atop a list of streaming media providers (via CMO), the Apple TV and iOS devices representing 62 percent of all authenticated pay-for-TV video views, or any online app that requires a cable subscription to access. Measuring all video content from free ad-based YouTube clips to "shows accessed through an authenticated app-based or TV subscription service," ADI reports that the streaming industry as a whole has grown a drastic 282 percent year over year.

Focusing solely on Apple, the Apple TV doubled its share of the overall online media streaming market, growing from 5 percent to 10 percent quarter over quarter. As ADI points out, a few of Apple's streaming rivals - Roku and gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation - saw increases in the past year, as well.

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"Apple is sitting in the catbird seat because of its dominant position with access to consumers and a wealth of video data,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at ADI. “The challenge will be to see if it can monetize the strategy fast enough to get ahead of the movement away from linear TV toward digital viewing. Apple is clearly looking to play in the video-streaming market, and the growth of that market is a big indicator as to why.”
On the opposite end, these mobile- and living room-centric media solutions have cannibalized the streaming shares of desktop PCs and Macs. “It looks like desktops are losing the battle in the home," Gaffney noted. "Bringing the TV Everywhere viewing platform full circle and returning viewers to the living room.”

iOS saw a less dramatic increase year over year than the Apple TV, with a growth from 43 percent to 47 percent, while the company's Android competitors saw no growth at all on mobile, staying at a consistent 15 percent share of the streaming market. Although desktops are dipping in streaming popularity, notebooks are undoubtedly still a highly used source of streaming content for many people. As such, Google Chrome and Safari both saw upticks in pieces of the overall streaming market over the past year by 18 and 15 percent, respectively.

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The key takeaway from our analysis is that the streaming video space is growing fast, and Apple is growing by building out an ecosystem of devices as it relates to that space,” Gaffney said. “Apple is leaning toward having a bigger play there than in the past. For marketers that means having a blanket approach to advertising is not going to work. They need to think about who is viewing and when. The strategy needs to be evolving and more complex to match the evolving and more complex nature of the landscape.”
ADI predicts that smartphone browsing will overtake that of desktops in 2017, noting that currently the preferred method for casually streaming content is tablets, "used specifically for leisurely activities such as video viewing and listening to music." With Apple's revamped Apple TV a no-show at WWDC next week, it'll be interesting to see how the company continues to grow the now three-year-old device. With Apple's plans to launch its own subscription television service sometime in the future, there's no doubt that the streaming media industry as a whole will only continue to grow.
Despite early rumors suggesting Apple would introduce a redesigned Apple TV set-top box at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, it appears the device will not be ready to debut at that time. In a report covering what to expect at WWDC, The New York Times' Brian X. Chen writes that Apple has postponed its plans because the product is "not ready for prime time."
Yet one much ballyhooed device will be absent from the conference: a new Apple TV, Apple's set-top box for televisions. The company planned as recently as mid-May to use the event to spotlight new Apple TV hardware, along with an improved remote control and a tool kit for developers to make apps for the entertainment device. But those plans were postponed partly because the product was not ready for prime time, according to two people briefed on the product.
Apple has not introduced a revamped version of its Apple TV since 2012, leading to years of rumors and speculation about the company's plans for the device. Since 2013, nearly every Apple event has been targeted as the venue where we'll see a new version of the Apple TV, but no product has materialized as of yet.

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According to the most recent rumors, Apple is currently working on a new version of the Apple TV that will include ambitious additions like a full App Store that supports apps and games, Siri support, and an SDK for developers. It is also said to include an A8 chip, an increase in internal storage, and a touch-based remote.

There is no word on when the Apple TV might debut, but it's possible that it could be introduced later this year alongside Apple's rumored subscription television service. Apple was said to be targeting a WWDC launch for its TV service, but those plans were also delayed as the necessary deals are not yet in place.

With its subscription television service and set-top box off the table for the Worldwide Developers Conference, the event will focus on iOS 9, OS X 10.11, and the company's new Beats-based streaming music service. The Apple Watch will also be a major focus, with Apple planning to debut native Apple Watch apps as shared by Jeff Williams last week.

Update: Re/code is also reporting that the Apple TV will not be introduced at WWDC.
showtime4__140512213840A new report from Variety today (via iClarified) suggests that Showtime's parent company CBS is putting the final touches on a standalone streaming service for the premium cable network, with rumors pointing to an official announcement either later today or sometime on Thursday.

Just like HBO NOW, the service would allow customers interested in Showtime to circumvent a traditional cable subscription and gain access to all of the network's shows and films for a single monthly fee. Variety says that CBS will reveal a partnership with Apple and the Apple TV that will be the exclusive home of the Showtime online-only service, similar to HBO NOW's initial exclusivity window on Apple TV and iOS devices. CBS still plans for other online partners to be announced in the future, according to "industry sources."

No name or price model was detailed yet for the Showtime service, but as pointed out by Variety, the move would fall in line with the company's announcement last fall of a $6 per month streaming service that presented access to the network's library of old and new shows. With Showtime cable subscriptions aligning closely with that of HBO, the new service would undoubtedly fall in the ballpark of HBO Now's $14.99 per month charge.

Update: As expected, Showtime has confirmed the streaming service will officially launch on July 12 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV. The monthly service will run users $10.99 and simply be called "Showtime." The early July launch will also coincide with the new seasons of Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex.

HomeKit iPhone 6Apple has added a new support document on its website (via iFun.de) that confirms the third-generation Apple TV or later can be used to control HomeKit-enabled accessories when you are away from home using an iOS device.

After signing in with the same Apple ID on an iOS device and Apple TV, users can use Siri commands to remotely control lights, locks, thermostats, smart plugs and other HomeKit-enabled accessories. A separate new support document lists the available HomeKit-compatible devices as they begin to roll out.

The new support documents were added just as multiple accessory makers announced the first HomeKit-compatible products, including Lutron, iHome, Elgato, Insteon and Ecobee. Many of the accessories are available for purchase or pre-order this week, and others should be unveiled following Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference next week.

It has been known that the Apple TV would serve as a centralized hub for many of these accessories since their original unveiling at CES 2015 in January, while support for the HomeKit framework was quietly included in the Apple TV 7.0 software update last September, but today marks one of the first official confirmations from Apple.

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Apple is widely expected to announce a new A8-based Apple TV with an App Store and Siri at WWDC next week. The next-generation set-top box is rumored to feature a "dramatic increase" in internal storage, well beyond the 8GB included in the current model, and the inclusion of Siri will enable users to control HomeKit-enabled accessories using voice commands.

HomeKit was announced at WWDC last year as a software framework for communicating with and controlling connected devices in the home, but the home automation platform experienced delays over the ensuing months and did not officially launch until this month. Apple is expected to provide more details about HomeKit and related accessories during its WWDC keynote on June 8 at 10 AM Pacific.

(Thanks, Marco!)
Apple today updated the Apple TV with a brand new National Geographic channel, bringing popular National Geographic shows and content to the company's set-top box. National Geographic first announced plans to introduce an Apple TV channel in November.

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The channel includes shows like Life Below Zero, Live Free or Die, The Incredible Dr. Pol, and more. As with the company's iOS apps, content is available through the Apple TV channel the day after it airs on television. The channel also offers on-demand access to back episodes of popular shows.

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Like many of the channels on the Apple TV, accessing content like full on-demand episodes requires authentication with a cable TV provider. For those without a cable subscription, there are a few select episodes available for free, plus there are digital shorts and clips from shows available for viewing.
Apple does not plan to announce its streaming television subscription service at the Worldwide Developers Conference next week, reports Re/code, citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans. Apple has informed television network executives that launch will be postponed because the company has not yet signed the necessary deals.
Apple wanted to launch a subscription TV service in early fall to coincide with the start of the new broadcast television season. But the debut got bogged down by negotiations over financial terms and new technology that would be required for broadcasters to deliver local programming to Apple's Web TV service.
According to industry executives, the television service may not launch until late 2015 or early 2016, as "technology and money issues" continue to be sticking points that have prevented negotiations from being completed. Apple's desire to provide consumers with local broadcast stations has also reportedly slowed down negotiations as securing all the necessary deals to show local programs and commercials takes a lot of time.

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Rumors have suggested that Apple's streaming television service will feature approximately 25 channels priced at $30 to $40 per month. It would be available over the Internet and would not require a cable subscription package.

While Apple does not plan to debut its streaming television service at the Worldwide Developers Conference next week, it is rumored to be introducing a new Apple TV set-top box with a full App Store that includes apps and games. It's also expected to introduce a new streaming music service, a revamped version of iTunes Radio, and OS X 10.11 and iOS 9.
Apple's much-rumored plans to launch a streaming TV service in the fall were confirmed today at Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, where CBS CEO Les Moonves told Re/code's Kara Swisher that CBS will "probably" sign a deal with Apple for the network to be included as a launch partner. “We’re very excited about it,” he told Swisher during his live interview on Wednesday morning.

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CBS CEO Les Moonves speaks with Kara Swisher at Code Conference (Re/code)

Moonves confirmed that he met with Apple senior executive Eddy Cue last week to discuss the plans, as part of an "ongoing conversation" about the upcoming streaming TV service, but said he does not know when the service will launch. The service has been rumored to be unveiled at WWDC next month, but Apple's efforts to include local programming could delay the announcement until later this year.
“Apple TV is trying to change the universe,” Moonves said, by offering a smaller bundle of TV networks, delivered over the Web, than pay TV providers traditionally sell. Moonves said Apple’s effort was similar to ones that have already launched from Dish Network’s Sling and Sony’s Vue.

“I think the age of the 200 channel universe is slowly dying,” Moonves said. “The good news for us, is any one of those groups will need CBS,” adding that his network will get a bigger proportion of whatever revenues those “skinny bundles” generate than it does in traditional packages.
Apple's web-based TV service for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and other devices is expected to deliver a lightweight package of about 25 channels for between $30 to $40 per month, anchored by popular networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, ESPN and FX. The service is expected to be available in the United States this September if Apple can secure content agreements in time.
Apple's efforts to provide customers with live programming from local broadcasting stations in the United States could delay the company's plans to launch a streaming TV service in early fall, according to Re/code. The report, citing industry executives, also claims that Apple has not reached any content deals with TV programmers yet, making it unlikely that the web-based TV service is announced at WWDC next month.

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"Apple’s ambitions have complicated its negotiations with the broadcast TV networks, because most broadcasters don’t own all their local stations, and have an affiliate, or franchise system. Clearing the rights to show local programs and commercials takes some time — ABC, for instance, spent two years getting the rights to show live programming via its Watch ABC app, and its live streams remain limited to viewers in eight cities."
The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Apple plans to unveil its streaming TV service at WWDC, anchored by popular networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox, ESPN and FX. The web-based TV service for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and other devices is expected to deliver a lightweight package of about 25 channels for between $30 to $40 per month. The report claimed that the service will be available in September.
Apple shelved plans to introduce a full-blown television set more than a year ago reports The Wall Street Journal, citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans. The company reportedly spent more than a decade researching the possibility of releasing an ultra high-definition television set before deciding to nix the project because it couldn't find untapped features that would give it an edge in the television market.
Apple had searched for breakthrough features to justify building an Apple-branded television set, those people said. In addition to an ultra-high-definition display, Apple considered adding sensor-equipped cameras so viewers could make video calls through the set, they said.

Ultimately, though, Apple executives didn't consider any of those features compelling enough to enter the highly competitive television market, led by Samsung Electronics Co.
One of the technologies Apple investigated in the mid-2000s was a transparent display that used lasers to display an image, but it used too much power and resulted in poor image quality. Another potential feature Apple explored was video calling similar to FaceTime, but it ultimately "didn't seem compelling enough" for Apple to enter the television market.

The Wall Street Journal's report comes following comments from investor Carl Icahn, who today shared a letter covering on products he believes Apple will introduce over the course of the next several years. Icahn suggested Apple will dominate both the television and automobile markets, introducing 55 and 65-inch television sets in 2016 and a car in 2020.

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Rumors about an Apple-branded television set have circulated for many years, but picked up in 2011 after the launch of Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography where Jobs' interest in the television industry was highlighted. "I finally cracked it," Jobs was quoted as saying.

Rumors continued through 2012 and 2013, pointing towards television prototypes in Jony Ive's studio and work on television designs, but rumors died down in late 2013 as a product failed to materialize. Focus turned instead to Apple's ongoing content struggles and its efforts to release a new set-top box, with the television team being disbanded and sent off to work on other projects. The television set project was not, however, officially "killed."

Apple is expected to unveil a new Apple TV and a new streaming television service at its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, set to begin on June 8, but according to The Wall Street Journal, the status of the announcement hinges on the completion of Apple's deals with media companies.

The new Apple TV is said to include a full App Store, Siri support, additional storage, and a redesigned form factor. The television service may feature a bundle of approximately 25 channels priced at $30 to $40 per month, with programming beginning in the fall following the prospective June announcement.
apple_watch_modularAhead of next month's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple is laying the groundwork for future software and hardware updates for both the Apple Watch and Apple TV, according to a new report from 9to5Mac.

Timing for some of the new features remains unclear, but the report claims Apple is working on a "Find My Watch" implementation that could be paired with a "Smart Leashing" feature that would remind Apple Watch users if they appear to have accidentally left their iPhones behind.
First, Apple has been working on a feature dubbed “Find my Watch” for the Apple Watch, which as the name implies will allow a user to track a Watch’s location, as well as lock or remotely wipe it if it is lost or stolen. [...]

Given the Apple Watch’s reliance on an iPhone, Apple plans to implement Find my Watch via what’s currently known inside the company as “Smart Leashing.” According to a source, the Watch will use its wireless signal to establish its location relative to the iPhone, and will optionally be able to notify a user if the iPhone is accidentally left behind.
The news comes following concerns over the lack of any sort of Activation Lock functionality for the Apple Watch, but the new features may require new hardware to support them, pushing their launch off until the release of the second-generation Apple Watch.

Apple is also reportedly working on support for third-party watch face complications for the Apple Watch, which would, for example, allow users to see at a glance if they have unread Twitter mentions. Additional software and hardware work is focused on filling out health and fitness functionality for the Apple Watch, including additional sensors that were rumored but did not make it into the first version of the device.

On the Apple TV front, sources claim Apple's developer tools that will allow developers to build third-party apps for the next-generation Apple TV will be known as "TVKit", with the new hardware and tools expected to debut at next month's Worldwide Developers Conference. The Apple Watch appears set to serve as a key method for controlling the new box, which will also support Apple's rumored live streaming television service, although recent rumors have suggested that piece of the overall package may debut several months later than the hardware.

Apple's WWDC keynote is expected to see a significant number of announcements, including the new developer tools for Apple TV apps and native Apple Watch apps, as well as iOS 9 and OS X 10.11. As was the case last year, hardware announcements may be slim or absent entirely, particularly with updated 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac models expected this week.
The Apple TV has gained two new channels today in CBS Sports and USA NOW, bringing on-demand sports, drama, comedy, sitcoms and more programming to the set-top box in the United States. The new channels should be appearing on the Apple TV for all users today as an over-the-air update, with CBS Sports offering free sports clips for all users worldwide and USA NOW requiring a U.S. cable subscription to access most content.

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CBS Sports channel for Apple TV

The new channels arrive less than six weeks before Apple is expected to announce its next-generation Apple TV alongside a full-fledged streaming TV service at WWDC in June. The new A8-based set-top box will reportedly feature both an App Store and Siri, in addition to a redesigned remote control with a touch pad and significantly higher internal storage than the current 8GB model.

Apple's much-rumored streaming TV service will consist of a lightweight package of about 25 channels for between $30 to $40 per month, anchored by networks such as ABC, CBS and Fox. The service will be available on several devices, including the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, with other potential channels in the lineup including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, MTV, Comedy Central, FX and Nickelodeon.

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USA NOW channel for Apple TV

Apple has been steadily adding new channels to the Apple TV this year, including NBC Sports in late April, CNNGo and TED, Tastemade and Young Hollywood in March and Sports Illustrated's 120 SPORTS in January. HBO NOW, a subscription-based service that provides on-demand HBO content, also went live on Apple TV in early April for $14.99 per month with a free trial available.

Update 11:05 AM PT: Crave TV and Shomi are now available on Apple TV in Canada per Rene Ritchie, with the former requiring a Bell TV subscription and the latter needing a Rogers or Shaw subscription. French-German TV network Arte is also now available on Apple TV in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Luxembourg per iFun.de. Fox Sports is also available in Australia, while Hopster has been added in the UK.