Archive of Apple TV Rumors

Rumors about Apple's television plans have died down in recent months as no new product has appeared, but the company hasn't given up on TV. According to industry executives that spoke to Re/code, Apple is in talks with television programmers over deals that would see the company offering a web-based TV service.

Such a service would potentially allow Apple to deliver customized television packages that would be streamed over the Internet, providing access to a bundle of channels from participating content providers. The service would not include a full lineup of channels like traditional cable, but it would offer a range of content delivered by Apple with its own interface on devices like the Apple TV.

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The theory is that Apple would put together bundles of programming -- but not the entire TV lineup that pay TV providers generally offer -- and sell it directly to consumers, over the Web. That means Apple wouldn't be reinventing the way TV works today, but offering its own version of it, with its own interface and user experience.
Apple is reportedly far enough along in the development of such a service that it has been showing potential programming partners demos, but talks remain in the early stages -- pricing and a potential release timeline are unknown.

Apple originally had very ambitious plans for revamping television, which included a desire to create a subscription television service that would replace existing cable subscription packages, but was unable to move forward with that idea due to pushback from content providers.

After a string of failed negotiations, Apple scaled back on its television plans, aiming to wedge itself between cable companies and consumers by designing a set-top box that would play live television in lieu of a traditional cable box. Rumors suggested Apple was in talks with Comcast and Time Warner over such a service, which would also include cloud-based DVR functionality, but that has yet to materialize and may have shifted into its newest web-based television plans.

Apple has repeatedly failed to reach deals with content providers due to their reluctance to change the status quo, but as Re/code points out, the television industry has been shifting towards web-based models in recent months, and both Sony and Dish have managed to establish deals with programmers to provide live TV and video-on-demand over the web.

During the company's most recent earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook once again reiterated that television is something that Apple "continues to look at." Apple is working towards finding a way to make a "greater contribution," than what it currently offers, he said.
Apple has updated the Apple TV today with a new channel for Sports Illustrated's 120 SPORTS network. 120 SPORTS was launched last year on iPhone, iPad and other platforms as a streaming platform for major sports leagues, including the MLB, NHL, NBA, PGA TOUR, Nascar and leading college divisions. The digital-only network offers 76 hours of live content and more than 1,200 on-demand video clips each week.

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The 120 SPORTS channel provides sports fans with a collection of recent in-game highlights and other video content through the built-in Catch-Up and Timeline modes. Catch-Up provides a curated stream of the latest videos pertaining to trending sports topics, while Timeline allows users to watch the live 120 SPORTS stream and videos in reverse chronological order.
“With this latest launch, we are happy to provide our fans with a new platform to experience 120 Sports,” said 120 Sports president Jason Coyle. “We will continue to explore even more ways to deliver up-to-the-minute sports news to our current fans and new audiences, when and where they want it.”
MacRumors can confirm that 120 SPORTS was added to the third-generation Apple TV, although the channel has yet to appear on the second-generation set-top box.

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The new channel arrives just a few weeks after the Apple TV was refreshed with Tennis Channel Everywhere, providing access to live court streaming and other on-demand coverage. Australian viewers were also treated to a new channel for Cricket.com.au earlier this month. Apple TV's existing sports channels include WatchESPN, MLB.TV Premium, NFL Now, NHL GameCenter, MLS Live, WWE Network, Red Bull TV, Willow and UFC.TV.
HomeKit-iconOne of the major focuses at CES this year was home automation, with a number of vendors announcing their plans for devices integrating with Apple's new HomeKit ecosystem. One of the key features of these HomeKit devices has been the ability to control them from iOS devices via Siri, allowing users to turn lights on or off, close garage doors, and more with just their voices.

As noted by The Verge, however, users hoping to accomplish such tasks while away from home will need to have an Apple TV on their home network to serve as the hub for these devices.
So, while commands like "Siri, turn off the lights in the living room" will always work while connected to your home Wi-Fi network, they won’t from the airport unless you have an Apple TV. But that’s it — you can still switch off the lights with an app, no Apple TV required. This behavior has been confirmed by a source close to HomeKit’s development as well as two launch partners who wish to remain anonymous. Only third-generation or later Apple TVs running software 7.0 or later will support HomeKit.
Apple has quietly included HomeKit in the Apple TV's software, but The Verge notes Apple will not be marketing the set-top box specifically as a home automation hub.

Many of the home automation vendors have been fairly vague about launch plans for their devices, and sources indicate that uncertainty is due in large part to the need to wait for Apple to finish polishing its HomeKit tools to ensure proper functionality. With HomeKit-enabled chips only recently beginning to ship to vendors and Apple's vendor licensing program still getting underway, most of these companies still have a few hurdles to cross before they can make their products available for sale.
After numerous failed attempts at predicting Apple's first foray into television sets, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has not yet given up hope that the company will deliver. During an interview at Business Insider's 2014 Ignition Conference earlier this month, Munster made yet another prediction on the rumored Apple technology, citing a two-year wait for Apple's own television set.

Munster regarded this year's prediction as an "annual penance" for being consistently incorrect in guessing the release date for Apple's rumored television set. Instead of the usual one-year prediction Munster has been throwing out the past few years, the analyst looked into the past to further support his two-year suggestion for Apple's next big product.

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"Apple takes a long time in-between products. If we look back over the last decade, it's 3-6 years between major products. And so, ultimately the Watch is what hit this year, they're gonna refine that next year along with payments. And then that probably gets us into 2016 as more of a time frame for the actual television."
Though it may seem a bit behind the game for Apple to launch a television set when connected TVs are already becoming ubiquitous and prices continue to decline, Munster looks at the lack of innovation and the true potential of Apple entering the market as significant positives for the company.

"So far the connected TV market really hasn't done much, they sell a lot of units but people don't really use the connected TV part unless they're accessing Netflix. So the concept of what the opportunity can really hold around connected TVs hasn't even been tapped, so they haven't missed out on anything."
Business Insider went on to ask Munster about the potential market gains Apple would see if they entered into the television set space. Munster addressed the current plateauing market of around 220 million TVs sold every year, hypothesizing that if Apple captured 10 percent of that market (Apple currently has 20 percent of the smartphone market) it could possibly sell around 22 million TV sets per year. Munster thinks that that market size is "big enough that it could be a 5 or 10 percent addition to the overall size of Apple."

Finally, Munster addressed the price of the possible Apple TV set, thinking it could run around $1,500, or "about double a comparable sized TV." Rumors began swirling around an Apple TV set a few years ago, particularly after Steve Jobs himself hinted at a breakthrough in his authorized biography published shortly after his death in late 2011. Rumors have been mostly quiet in recent months, however, as attention has turned away from a TV set or even a revamped set-top box and toward the imminent launch of the Apple Watch.
As noted by Re/code, YouTube today updated its app for the Apple TV, improving its appearance and expanding the content available to stream. With this update, the Apple TV version catches up to the Xbox, PlayStation and other similar streaming devices.

Besides a refreshed design, the new YouTube Apple TV update adds features such as personalized recommendations, channel subscriptions and predictive search. It also now supports all YouTube content, including music videos, vlogs and even advertisements.


The new YouTube experience should be rolling out today for all Apple TV owners. It follows several recent notable updates that added new channels such as today's addition of UFC.TV, The Scene, Fusion, and Dailymotion, as well as earlier additions of FXNOW, Beats Music, Showtime Anytime and more in recent months.
Apple today added four new channels to its Apple TV set-top box, further expanding the variety of content available on the device. The new additions include ultimate fighting channel UFC.TV, digital video shorts channel The Scene, news and pop culture channel Fusion, and video sharing site Dailymotion.

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UFC.TV offers access to a variety of Ultimate Fighting Championship content, including free and paid video. Users can subscribe to the service's Fight Pass premium offering with a 6-month membership priced at $54.99 or a 12-month membership at $99.99. Users can also access archived pay-per-view content, although some pay-per-view content is unavailable in many countries due to regional restrictions.

The Scene offers digital shorts from a variety of Condé Nast media brands and third-party partners, including ABC News, Epicurious, Forbes, GQ, PBS, The New Yorker, The Weather Channel, Vogue, and more. All content is available free of charge.

Fusion is a joint venture between Disney-ABC and Univision, offering a variety of content including news, pop culture, and lifestyle. Finally, Dailymotion offers access to the popular site's library of videos from premium brands and regular users alike.

All four channels are available now, with Apple calling out each of the new channels with a "New" flag on the main screen icons. Country restrictions may, however, limit where some of these new channels can be seen.
Amid persistent rumors of substantial upgrades, the current Apple TV is beginning to show its age, losing ground in the streaming media device marketplace to rival Google Chromecast and Roku in the first three quarters of 2014, according to market researcher Parks Associates as reported by CNET. Apple's decline comes at a time when interest in streaming media devices is on the upswing, with 10 percent of households buying at least one media player this year.

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Despite a decent drop in market share over the past year amid increased competition, Roku remains the leader among set-top boxes and streaming media sticks, accounting for 29 percent of the market in the 9-month period, down from 46 percent in 2013. Google's Chromecast stick had a strong showing in 2014, climbing to the number two slot with 20 percent market share and knocking the Apple TV down to number three. With 17 percent share, the Apple TV remains in front of Amazon's Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, which together accounted for 10 percent market share, although the Fire TV stick is just now rolling out to consumers.

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The Apple TV was first introduced in 2007 and has been updated periodically during its seven-year lifespan. It currently remains in its third generation with the last major hardware update released in March 2012, followed by a minor revision in January 2013. Multiple rumors this year hinted at a refreshed Apple TV hardware with App Store integration, Bluetooth controller support, and more, but those rumors have yet to pan out. Though its Apple TV hardware has been essentially unchanged for over two and a half years, Apple continues to make improvements to the software and add new channels to the Apple TV lineup.
cbs_news_apple_tv_homeCBS News today announced the launch of a new ad-supported digital streaming news network, making the service available on the CBSNews.com website, CBS News apps for Windows and Windows Phone, and various connected television platforms. While the Apple TV was not announced as one of those platforms, a CBS News channel is indeed just debuted on Apple's set-top box.
The network features a 60-minute format delivering live, updated news content from 9:00 AM - midnight ET every weekday at launch, and it takes advantage of the interactivity of digital platforms through a unique video player and on-screen interface. It gives viewers the full flexibility within each hour to control what they watch and when they watch it via DVR-like functionality that allows them to watch previous segments and jump back into live programming seamlessly and across devices.
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Beyond the live coverage with simulcasts of breaking news, the new channel offers a variety of supplemental on-demand content from sources such as CBS affiliates, CNET, CBS Sports, Entertainment Tonight, and more.
In yet another addition to the growing stable of channels available on the Apple TV, A&E's Fyi network and Hallmark's streaming family movie channel Feeln have been added to the set-top box today.

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As with many other channels, Fyi offers some free content, but complete access to streaming on-demand episodes requires authentication with a participating cable provider. The television, which launched as a rebranding of The Biography Channel earlier this year, focuses on "contemporary lifestyle" topics.

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Feeln's subscription service is priced at $4.99 per month with a one-week free trial or $47.99 per year with a one-month free trial. The service offers reasonable library of family-friend movies for streaming, including some box office hits, Hallmark originals, and original shorts.

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We're growing closer to the launch of the first hardware accessories that are compatible with Apple's HomeKit home automation platform, as the company has recently published the final Made for iPhone (MFi) specifications for hardware developers. With the completed specifications, hardware manufacturers will be able to create products that are designed to integrate with the HomeKit platform.

All developers creating hardware for HomeKit must follow Apple's MFi guidelines and incorporate the HomeKit technical specifications. As outlined by 9to5Mac, some of Apple's final HomeKit specifications cover the pairing and security of Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi connected HomeKit accessories.

While we've already seen several products that will take advantage of HomeKit, including a smart USB charger and a line of connected home sensors, Apple's HomeKit supports a wide range of products like lightbulbs, locks, fans, thermostats, power outlets, garage doors, and more. Apple has also announced several partners already, including Philips and Honeywell.

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Connected home sensors with HomeKit integration from Elgato

As Apple has worked to ready HomeKit for hardware developers, it has also been working on the software front. The latest beta of the Apple TV software, released alongside iOS 8.1 beta 2, includes explicit support for HomeKit, turning the Apple TV into something of a home automation hub.

The new Apple TV software turns the Apple TV into a remote access HomeKit peer, and as described by AppleInsider, this allows HomeKit devices to sync with the Apple TV, possibly giving users a way to control connected devices even when away from home.

In the future, an updated Apple TV set-top box could include long-rumored features like Siri support, letting users easily control HomeKit-connected devices from their living rooms through the Apple TV dashboard. HomeKit has been designed to work deeply with Siri, letting users control HomeKit hardware via voice commands.

At its Worldwide Developers Conference, several potential uses for HomeKit were demoed. For example, when a user has HomeKit-compatible hardware installed, Apple's voice assistant Siri can be asked to "Close the garage, "Turn off the lights," or "Lower the temperature."

Apple has plans to hold a Made for iPhone (MFi) summit November 12 through November 14, providing accessory manufacturers and developers with information on HomeKit, iBeacon, AirPlay, and more, and with the finalized specification now available, we should be seeing additional hardware products with HomeKit support in the near future.
A recent Apple patent application (via AppleInsider) reveals some of the company's efforts looking into ways of improving the Apple TV and iTunes desktop experience using iOS. The newly published patent application, titled "Browsing remote content using a native user interface," describes a mobile application that would serve as a second screen for a connected media device.

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Mobile devices and computers displaying native interfaces for viewing content and sending controls to media device

This smarter iOS-based remote detailed in the patent moves away from the current Remote app that mimics a hardware remote by providing a robust Apple TV or iTunes interface on the mobile device. Users could then browse, search or perform other advanced functions right from the mobile device.
The disclosed technology relates to receiving media signals from a media device and rendering a user interface that is native to the device receiving the media signals based on information encoded in the media signals. The device receiving the media signal interprets information received from the media device describing media content and semantic information describing a type of interface page, and displays the content based on the semantic information in a graphical user interface (GUI) on the electronic device based on the interpretation.
Other descriptions in the patent application, which was filed in March 2013, suggest iOS owners could use the remote to search the web for information, such as the cast of the movie they are watching, and display that information on the big screen.

Apple is rumored to be working on a new Apple TV that could launch sometime in 2015. The company reportedly is working with cable companies to negotiate access to live and on-demand content, but has run into numerous obstacles on the content front.

The new Apple TV may include an App Store, Siri integration and more. It is not yet clear whether the device will be a cable-supported set-top box, an updated version of the current Apple TV, or a combination set-top box and streaming media device, as Apple has been rumored to be working on a variety of different options.

As with many Apple patent applications showing unreleased inventions, there are no assurances the disclosed inventions will ever be released, but they can sometimes reveal hints about the company's areas of interest and research.
now_tv_apple_tvUK home entertainment and communications provider Sky expanded its Apple TV offerings with its expanded NOW TV channel supporting the broadcaster's Entertainment Month Pass and Sky Movies Month Pass, reports Engadget. These two passes join the existing Sky Sports day pass that debuted on NOW TV last year.

The Entertainment Month Pass for NOW TV brings the latest television programming from 13 pay TV channels, including Boardwalk Empire and The Leftovers, for £4.99 (US$8.19) monthly. The Movies Month Pass is for movie buffs, offering streaming access to more than 800 blockbuster Hollywood films for £9.99 (US$16.39) a month after a 30-day free trial. UK customers also will be able to access the £9.99 (US$16.39) Sky Sports Day Pass for one-day access to six different Sky Sports channels.

Apple recently has been expanding the content and capabilities of its Apple TV. In the past few weeks, the company has rolled out a new channels for Beats Music and FX NOW, tweaked the user interface with an iOS 7-inspired design, and added support for iOS 8 features like Family Sharing and iCloud Photo Support.