Archive of Apple TV Rumors

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming tvOS 12.1 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the third update and a month after releasing the tvOS 12 update.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the new tvOS 12.1 beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that's installed using Xcode. Subsequent betas can be downloaded over-the-air.


We're not yet sure what fixes and changes the tvOS 12.1 update might bring, but it's likely to focus on bugs that have been discovered since the release of tvOS 12. No new features were discovered in the first three tvOS 12.1 betas.

Apple's tvOS updates have historically been minor in scale, and Apple does not often provide us with detailed notes outlining what's new, but we'll update this post should any changes be found in the fourth beta.

Update: Apple has also seeded a new public beta of tvOS 12.1 to its public beta testing group.
Last week, Minecraft: Apple TV Edition was removed from the tvOS App Store and developer Mojang announced that anyone who was still playing the game on Apple TV would no longer see any updates or further support. In a statement, the company said that it needed to reallocate resources "to the platforms that our players use the most."

In a new article shared over the weekend, Ars Technica spoke with a few game developers in the wake of Minecraft's removal from the tvOS App Store, attempting to gain a consensus on what they think Apple needs to do to make the Apple TV a true gaming device. Strange Flavour CEO Aaron Fothergill said that Apple could do this by doing a better job of supporting Game Center across platforms, and creating its own gaming controller to bundle in with an Apple TV, "so there's an Apple TV being sold specifically for games."


Developer Patrick Hogan also indicated support for Apple to build its own full-featured gaming controller and include it in "every" Apple TV box, while other developers Ars Technica spoke with believed an optional gaming Apple TV bundle would suffice. Continuing, Hogan said Apple's marketing for Apple TV should emphasize gaming more, and the company should "spend a lot of money on funding platform exclusives, ports, and presence at every major gaming expo and conference to break the chicken-egg problem of getting customers to make it viable to devs."
Most of the developers I spoke with seemed to believe the same thing I did when I reviewed the Apple TV: there's a lot of potential here for this to be the Apple gaming console that people have speculated about for years. But, they add, Apple just isn't trying hard enough to let consumers know what the TV can do or to make it easy for them to use the TV explicitly for gaming purposes.
Although the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV devices have the hardware for powerful gaming support, Apple's actions so far have not indicated it intends to lean into presenting the Apple TV as a video game console. Even Game Center, which previously had a dedicated iOS app and social features, was downgraded to an optional integration for third-party gaming apps in iOS 10.

Apple also hindered gaming development on tvOS at the start by forcing developers to build in support for its touch-based Siri Remote in every gaming app, despite the fact that the Apple TV supports third-party Bluetooth controllers. Apple dropped this requirement within the fourth-generation Apple TV's first year on the market, but many developers mentioned that this left a poor first impression for the Apple TV as a true gaming device.

Still, most of the developers that Ars Technica spoke to remain positive about Apple TV's future as a gaming device. Team Alto lead Ryan Cash commented on the removal of Minecraft, bemused that Mojang and Microsoft completely axed the game as the Apple TV platform "continues to grow."
"If I were in charge of the game though, I think I'd really try to stay there. While the platform certainly isn't the biggest, it continues to grow, and it's a great way for certain types of audiences to experience gaming, often for their first time."
As of now, Apple's focus on the Apple TV is likely its upcoming string of exclusive television shows, which are rumored to be free to customers who own an Apple TV, iPhone, or iPad. Looking to the future, the successor to the Apple TV 4K isn't expected until 2019 or later, as Apple typically goes a few years in between generations of Apple TV, unlike its other products which get more consistent annual updates. Because of this, there have not been any solid rumors yet as to what features or improvements will be coming to the next Apple TV.
Live TV streaming service PlayStation Vue recently added support for Apple's TV app on fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV devices, as well as on iOS. With this addition, PS Vue subscribers can now sync the on-demand movies and TV shows they watch within Sony's app to the TV app, making it easier to jump directly into a PS Vue stream.


The update is evident when browsing for movies and TV shows in the TV app, with PlayStation Vue now listed as a location to stream content alongside previously supported apps like HBO GO, Prime Video, Showtime, Starz, Hulu, and others. If you subscribe to PS Vue and have the app installed, you can add PS Vue-compatible films and TV series to your Up Next list, and as you watch them in the PS Vue app, Apple's TV app will update and keep track of your progress.

As some users on Reddit pointed out, live sports also appear to be supported, so you'll be able to add games to your Up Next list, then jump directly into the game from the TV app to PS Vue and start watching. Apple hasn't noted PS Vue as a supported app yet on its website, but numerous users have reported seeing a splash screen when opening PS Vue on Apple TV, asking them for permission to connect to the TV app.

While there are nearly 90 apps supported in the TV app now, including a few live news apps, PS Vue's addition marks one of the first times an over-the-top live TV streaming service has been added. Rivals like DirecTV Now and YouTube TV lack this compatibility.
Apple is developing a new digital video service that will combine the company's own subscription services and original television content with content from various media companies, reports CNBC.

Citing sources familiar with Apple's plans, CNBC says that Apple will provide Apple-owned and created content for free to customers who own devices like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, with the television shows housed in the company's TV app.


Apple already offers its current popular TV show, "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" for free to all users within the TV app. "Carpool Karaoke" was initially limited to Apple Music subscribers, but was moved to the TV app as a free offering earlier this year.

The upcoming streaming service will also include subscription channels where customers will be able to sign in to access content from other companies like HBO and Starz. The channels will be similar to Amazon Prime Video channel subscription options, with customers able to access all of their content within the TV app rather than needing to download and sign into individual apps.

Apple has more than a dozen original television shows in the works right now, with the company aiming to produce television shows with broad consumer appeal that won't taint its brand image. For that reason, rumors suggest Apple is avoiding risqué content that avoids nudity, raw language, and violence.

Current shows run the gamut from sci-fi to comedy, with a full list of all of Apple's products available in our Apple TV roundup. Several shows have started the casting process, including "Serial," a drama about a podcast that reopens a murder case, an untitled space drama from Ronald D. Moore, and an epic world-building drama called "See."

Rumors have suggested Apple is spending $1 billion on original content in 2018, and according to CNBC's sources, the company has been seeking out "tent pole" franchises that could draw customers to a future Netflix-style subscription service.

Peter Stern, who joined Apple in 2016, is working alongside iTunes chief Eddy Cue to establish deals with media companies in an attempt to put together Apple's planned streaming service. Stern is said to have a lighter touch than Cue, with experience in the cable industry that could help him secure the content deals Apple has previously been unable to attain.

To go along with the video subscription service, Apple is also aiming to talk print media companies into joining Texture, the magazine subscription service that it purchased earlier this year. News organizations are reluctant to give Apple control of the subscriber billing relationship, a struggle Apple will need to overcome to establish a full newspaper and magazine subscription service.

Apple is planning to launch a revamped TV app in early 2019, which is likely when we'll hear more about its upcoming subscription plans.
Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming tvOS 12.1 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the second update and three weeks after releasing the tvOS 12 update.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the new tvOS 12.1 beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that's installed using Xcode. Subsequent betas can be downloaded over-the-air.


We're not yet sure what fixes and changes the tvOS 12.1 update might bring, but it's likely to focus on bugs that have been discovered since the release of tvOS 12. No new changes were discovered in the first two tvOS 12.1 betas.

Apple's tvOS updates have historically been minor in scale, and Apple does not often provide us with detailed notes outlining what's new, but we'll update this post should any changes be found in the third beta.

Update: Apple has also seeded a new beta of tvOS 12.1 to public beta testers.
The second season of Apple's "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" television show is set to launch on Friday, October 12, with new episodes of the show to be available every Friday.

Based on a trailer shared by Apple, this season of "Carpool Karaoke" will feature Jason Sudeikis paired with Muppets, Matthew McConaughey paired with Snoop Dog, Weird Al paired with Andy Samberg, Nick Offerman and his wife Megan Mullally, and more.


"Carpool Karaoke: The Series" first debuted in August of last year. Based on the popular Carpool Karaoke segment made popular by "The Late Late Show With James Corden," the series pairs up different celebrities, musicians, athletes, putting them together in a car to sing popular songs.

Apple announced a second season of "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" back in February, and it is the first of the company's TV shows to get a second season.

A few "Carpool Karaoke" episodes aired ahead of the debut of the second season, including an episode with James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood of "Westworld" and an episode starring the cast of summer movie "TAG" with Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, and Jon Hamm.

While the first season of "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" was exclusive to Apple Music subscribers, Apple is making the second season available for free through the TV app on the Apple TV and iOS devices.

A few months after the end of the first season, Apple also made existing episodes available to watch for free via the TV app.
Minecraft has reached its end of life on Apple TV. The game has been removed from the tvOS App Store through lack of sales, while existing owners of the near two-year-old title for Apple's set-top box are met with the following announcement upon launch:

Effective from Monday, 24 September, the Apple TV version of Minecraft will no longer be updated or supported. We're grateful to the Apple TV community for their support but we need to reallocate resources to the platforms that our players use the most. Don't worry though, you can continue to play Minecraft on Apple TV, keep building in your world and your Marketplace purchases (including Minecoins) will continue to be available.
The Apple TV Edition of the wildly popular multi-platform construction game was announced at Apple's October 2016 keynote, where its potential for cross-platform play was enthusiastically promoted. "You can build new worlds on your Apple TV, and play with your friends using iPhones and iPads," said CEO Tim Cook.

The game was officially launched two months later for $19.99, but despite the Minecraft franchise continuing to thrive on other platforms, it looks like the Apple TV version just didn't take off as Apple and developer Mojang had hoped.

The removal of the title appears to be the latest example of the video game industry's continuing lack of interest in the Apple TV, which ships with a touch-based remote rather than a dedicated game controller like typical game consoles do.


Initially, this meant developers were forced to build in support for Apple's remote as the primary controller, despite the fact that the Apple TV also works with third-party Bluetooth controllers. Apple eventually lifted the restriction following strong criticism, but other lingering issues like poor title discoverability on the App Store and a lack of game-oriented marketing or promotion for the Apple TV have hit the platform's gaming prospects hard.

Mojang's Minecraft: Story Mode, an adventure game based in the Minecraft universe, will continue to be available on Apple TV, while the Microsoft subsidiary said that it would issue full refunds on all purchases of Minecraft: Apple TV Edition made in the last 90 days of the game's availability. Players seeking more information or wanting to check on the status of a refund are advised to contact Apple Customer Service online or call 1-800-692-7753.
Apple is reportedly holding discussions with United Kingdom-based British Telecom (BT) over a partnership that would make BT's mobile brand EE a "major distributor" of Apple TV devices. Specifically, the telecommunications brand would offer Apple TVs to EE customers, coming pre-loaded with apps that deliver pay-TV content like BT Sport and channels from other broadcasters (via The Telegraph).


For Apple, the deal would get Apple TVs into the hands of more customers and increase the potential viewership for its upcoming slate of original TV programming, expected in 2019. While BT has invested in building its own set-top boxes to compete with Apple, Amazon, and Sky, BT consumer chief Marc Allera kicked off a new strategy earlier in May to begin "forging deeper partnerships with technology giants."

Apple's partnership with BT is said to be similar to the company's existing deal in Switzerland with telecoms operator and pay-TV provider Salt. Apple has also partnered with Verizon, which will offer customers an Apple TV 4K as part of its residential broadband package coming to four cities this year.

In regards to Apple's original programming, the first of Apple's television shows could debut as soon as March of 2019, potentially through a new video streaming service subscription. The company is also reportedly considering a single subscription bundle offering customers access to TV, Apple Music, and digital magazines (through its Texture acquisition).
Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming tvOS 12.1 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the first update and a little over two weeks after releasing the tvOS 12 update.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the new tvOS 12.1 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that's installed using Xcode.


We're not yet sure what fixes and changes the tvOS 12.1 update might bring, but it's likely to focus on bugs that have been discovered since the release of tvOS 12. No new changes were discovered in the first tvOS 12.1 beta.

Apple's tvOS updates have historically been minor in scale, and Apple does not often provide us with detailed notes outlining what's new. We'll update this post should anything be found in the second beta.

Update: Apple has also seeded the second beta of tvOS 12.1 to public beta testers.
Apple today released tvOS 12.0.1, a minor update for the tvOS operating system designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. tvOS 12.0.1 comes just one week after Apple released tvOS 12, the latest version of tvOS.

tvOS 12.0.1 can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System -> Software Update. Apple TV owners who have automatic software updates turned on will be upgraded to tvOS 12.0.1 automatically.


It is not clear what features or bug fixes are included in tvOS 12.0.1, but given that it's a minor 12.x.x update, it has likely been released to address issues discovered in the tvOS 12 update.

If we discover what's new in tvOS 12.0.1, we'll update this post with info, but Apple often provides little detail on tvOS updates.

tvOS 12.0.1 follows tvOS 12, an update that introduced support for higher-quality Dolby Atmos sound, zero sign-on, and new aerial screensavers created in collaboration with the International Space Station.
Apple is unlikely to produce original content that contains gratuitous sex, violence, profanity, or risqué storylines, according to a report published over the weekend by the Wall Street Journal.

The article cites several sources familiar with Apple's original programming plans who say Apple wants to avoid putting its name to anything that could risk tainting its wider brand image.


It also relates CEO Tim Cook's alleged reaction to watching Apple's first scripted drama, "Vital Signs," a semi-autobiographical tale of hip hop artist Dr Dre.

According to the paper's sources, Cook previewed the show and was "troubled" by scenes depicting drawn guns, sex and drug use, and reportedly told Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine that Apple couldn't show it.
Across Hollywood and inside Apple, the show has become emblematic of the challenges faced by the technology giant as it pushes into entertainment. Apple earmarked $1 billion for Hollywood programming last year. But in the tone CEO Mr. Cook has set for it, whatever Apple produces mustn't taint a pristine brand image that has helped the company collect 80% of the profits in the global smartphone market.

Apple's entertainment team must walk a line few in Hollywood would consider. Since Mr. Cook spiked "Vital Signs," Apple has made clear, say producers and agents, that it wants high-quality shows with stars and broad appeal, but it doesn't want gratuitous sex, profanity or violence.
Apple's approach is in direct contrast to that of other streaming platforms, which have found great success in producing edgy content like HBO's "Game of Thrones" and Netflix's "House of Cards." However, Apple apparently feels it has more to lose if viewers are offended by its entertainment offering.

"As a consumer-product company, Apple is especially exposed if content strikes a sour note," said Preston Beckman, a former NBC and Fox programming executive who spoke to WSJ. "For Netflix, the only risk is that people don't subscribe. With Apple, you can say, 'I'm going to punish them by not buying their phone or computer.'"

Apple has hired former Sony Pictures TV executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg to head up the company's broader push into original video programming. Erlicht and Van Amburg have helped produce shows like "Better Call Saul," "The Crown," "Sneaky Pete," and more.

According to the report, Van Amburg and Erlicht have successfully pushed some edgier shows, including a series made by M. Night Shyamalan about a couple who lose a young child. However, Apple executives reportedly pushed for changes in the show because they didn't want content to venture into religious subjects or politics.

Similar concerns over keeping content "safe" have reportedly contributed to delays in Apple's original content streaming, which has been postponed twice and is now expected to launch in March 2019. However, one leading producer with projects at Apple expects the date to be pushed back yet further, according to the latest report.

Apple is known to have invested in at least 12 television shows so far. They include a new animated TV series called "Central Park" and an untitled morning show drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. According to WSJ, however, the latter is delayed because of scheduling issues with Witherspoon.

Apple's original TV shows are expected to be distributed through a new video streaming service, which could also be bundled with an Apple Music subscription and a digital magazine and news subscription.
Apple has given a straight-to-series order for drama series "Defending Jacob," which will star Chris Evans, known for his roles in "Captain America" and "The Avengers," reports Deadline.

"Defending Jacob" is a thriller based on William Landay's bestselling novel of the same title. The book covers the murder of a 14-year-old boy and his friend Jacob, who may have committed the crime.


According to Deadline, the tv adaptation is described as a "gripping, character-driven thriller."

The series was created and written by Mark Bomback, known for the "Planet of the Apes" trilogy. Morten Tyldum, known for "The Imitation Game," "Counterpart," and "Jack Ryan," is set to direct.

"Defending Jacob" is just one of more than a dozen television shows Apple has in the works. The first of the TV shows could debut as soon as March 2019, and the content may be distributed through an as-of-yet unannounced streaming service.