Apple is planning to introduce its long-awaited next-generation Apple TV in September, reports Buzzfeed's John Paczkowski. According to sources familiar with Apple's plans, the new set-top box will be unveiled in September at the same event where Apple will unveil the next-generation iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
As has been previously rumored, it is said to include an A8 processor, a touch-pad based remote that's "drastically improved" compared to the current version, a new operating system that supports a full App Store, developer APIs, and Siri voice control, and more on-board storage to accommodate apps. Physically, the Apple TV will take on a new, slimmer look.
Apple will not be introducing its rumored television service at the same time, with sources telling Buzzfeed that the Internet-based streaming service could possibly launch in late 2015, but 2016 is more likely. Current rumors suggest Apple's television offering will bundle approximately 25 channels and cost between $30 to $40 per month.
Apple was widely expected to introduce both its new Apple TV and its upcoming streaming television service in June, at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, but the two products were not ready for launch at that time. Apple postponed its release of the set-top box because it was "not ready for prime time" and held off on the television service because deals were not completed.
Apple has not introduced a revamped version of its Apple TV since 2012, so an updated set-top box with App Store support and other features will be a major change from the platform that we know and use today.
Tuesday July 14, 2015 6:40 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple's discussions with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox for its much-rumored streaming TV service are gaining momentum, according to the New York Post. The report claims that Apple has enlisted networks to negotiate with local TV stations on their behalf, and the networks are said to be close to securing those rights with affiliate groups such as Tribune and Sinclair.
Networks are reportedly telling affiliates that they will be able to share the revenue generated from Apple's streaming TV service if they offer their feeds on the platform. The inclusion of local TV stations is important for the success of Apple's cable-cutter service, expected to launch in the fall for devices including iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. The service is speculated to cost between $10 and $40 per month.
At CBS, executives are talking to affiliates about conducting Apple negotiations on their behalf, one TV source confirmed.
At Fox, the network “has the ability to negotiate with Apple [for affiliates], or it will have it very soon,” a second executive added.
Disney and CBS will likely be among the first networks to reach a deal with Apple for its à-la-carte streaming TV service, according to the report, although some sticking points remain in the negotiations. Cable channels such as Discovery and ESPN are also expected to be included in the subscription-based service, which is rumored to include a skinny bundle of around 25 channels.
Tuesday July 7, 2015 8:22 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Showtime today confirmed that its self-titled standalone streaming service will be released today for the Apple TV, allowing viewers to pay for Showtime's exclusive series directly without needing a cable subscription (via Re/code).
First announced just over a month ago, the service will cost those interested $10.99 per month and everyone can sign up for a 30-day free trial to test the experience before subscribing. The service will cost users a few dollars less than HBO NOW's $15 streaming cost, which debuted exclusively on Apple TV earlier in the Spring.
Showtime's launch today comes in a bit ahead of the previously-announced July 12 release date for the standalone service, a date that coincided with the network's big summer premieres of Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex. No doubt giving users a few days to prepare before the summer premieres, those interested should be start seeing the Showtime app on the Apple TV shortly.
Through 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.
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.
Thursday June 4, 2015 8:57 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
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.
"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.
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.
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.
Wednesday June 3, 2015 8:45 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
A 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.
Wednesday June 3, 2015 5:46 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday May 27, 2015 10:31 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
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.
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.
"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 Journalreported 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.
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