#apple tv

The reviews are starting to come in for Amazon’s new Fire TV and the consensus seems to be that it’s… okay.

People really like the voice search (but complain that it’s limited to Amazon and Hulu content). To anyone who has ever tried to search for anything using the Apple TV remote, this makes perfect sense. This is clearly how it should be done, especially if you have a product like Siri…

People also like the gaming functionality, though note that the controller feels cheap. Also something obvious for Apple to add to the Apple TV, though ideally with a much better controlling mechanism. 

Overall, sounds pretty “meh” to me. But at $99, I’ll probably pick up one just to try the gaming aspect.

The iPhone Company

It’s Apple earnings day which means two things:

1) Wall Street freaking out amidst record numbers.

2) Lots of people on Twitter linking to lots of different charts trying to explain Apple’s quarter.

I’m pretty sure we’ve reached peak chart.

The issue is that the only real things these charts show at this point is that Apple is both a habitual company and a money-making machine. And, to some extent, they prove the law of large numbers. The charts aren’t going up-and-to-the-right as fast as they used to because well, there are only so many people in the world who can buy Apple products.

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Jordan Kahn:

Bloomberg also has plans to integrate new features into the experience that will be first of their kind on the Apple TV. Most notably, the company is planning integration with the existing push notifications it delivers as “tune-in alerts” through its iOS apps. Users will eventually be able to select preferences for notifications right within the Apple TV app that will be displayed on both the TV and mobile devices connected to the same Bloomberg account. The company didn’t say how exactly notifications would work on the TV, or if Apple is involved with the development of the feature. It’s also considering interactive ads. As an example, Okaro described a user pressing a button when viewing an interactive ad to pull up more in-depth product information. Before those features, the company will roll out an update in coming weeks that will enable playlists that sync between Apple TV and its iOS apps.

Creeping ever closer to the future of apps on Apple TV…

Rene Ritchie:

I love bonus content - making of, creative process, deleted scenes, bloopers, and all the rest - as much, if not sometimes much more, than the TV shows and movies themselves. It’s why Hollywood succeeded, on numerous occasions, in scamming me into buying the same movie more than once - the initial release, and then the bonus-laden special edition that followed. The idea of all that content in digital download form is incredibly enticing. Not being able to access it on the best possible device to really enjoy it, the Apple TV, is beyond frustrating.

Agreed. I’m the same way. I used to live for director commentaries on DVD but now that I rent/buy almost all my films through the Apple TV, there’s no option to get those. Ridiculous.

Speaking of Microsoft, the PR train has clearly started rolling leading up to the Xbox One launch later this month. The first narrative being set up is that this will finally be the one box to rule the living room (beyond gaming). Except, as Nilay Patel notes:

It’s a clever idea, but it’s also fundamentally a hack: your cable box doesn’t know anything about the Xbox One, so you’ll still see your cable interface everywhere even as you use the fancy new One Guide — during my visit Comcast’s UI popped up with every channel change. And the Xbox doesn’t have any way of directly controlling the cable box, so it has to simulate the IR commands of a remote control by cannon-blasting them out of the Kinect — in other words, you can change the channel and adjust the volume, but little else. “One of the things we can’t do is record shows,” says Smith. If you want to use your DVR, it’s back to the cable remote. If you want to watch On Demand, it’s the same thing. The Xbox One might sit on top of your cable box, but it’s nowhere close to replacing it.

That sounds like a janky experience at best, and an awful one at worst. Ugh.

I’m not saying there’s a better solution out there right now given that you still clearly have to deal with the cable companies and their piece of shit boxes. But perhaps this is a not insignificant part of the reason why we have yet to see some sort of next generation Apple TV device — there’s no way Apple would release something that works as described above. 

Pouring A Small Amount Of Water On The Apple TV Fire I Sort Of Started

A month ago, I tweeted something in passing:

I guess those excited about a software refresh in a week are gonna be *really* excited when new Apple TV hardware is unveiled next month.

I obviously wasn’t tweeting such information for no reason, but I also wasn’t confident enough in the information to write a full post about it — as I was for the gold iPhone, for example. 

Still, a few others wrote full posts based on my tweet. And over the past couple of days, as we near the Apple event next week, people have been reiterating what I tweeted.

Well, now I feel the need to pour a little — just a little, mind you — cold water on the rumor fire. While I still haven’t heard anything concrete, the most recent whispers I have heard is that the Apple TV project has been delayed a bit. 

That doesn’t mean we won’t see an Apple TV update at the event — we could see an updated unit with a spec bump or something. But the thing to be more excited about, the device with some sort of newfangled control system, doesn’t seem like it’s ready just yet.

Again, not a lot of concrete information here, which is why I only tweeted in the first place. But if I were a betting man, I wouldn’t bet on some huge new Apple TV update at this event. I think the new iPads, Macs, and OS X Mavericks will be enough for one event for Apple.

Originally, I had heard this new-style Apple TV (not an actual television, by the way) was slated for sometime around this November. It’s hard to imagine Apple holding a third event following the iPhone one in September and the iPad event next week. But who knows? Not me, this time.

As opposed to the hulking PS4, this thing actually looks sort of interesting. And at $100, it’s priced to move. The fact that all Vita games won’t be compatible seems like a red flag. As does the fact that the Vita wasn’t selling well to begin with (suggesting the games aren’t that great).

I still like Apple’s position here whenever they decide to make their move.

But the craziest PlayStation news of the day may be that Sony is pushing the Japanese launch of the PS4 for several months to focus on the U.S. Remember when the consoles used to come out in Japan months ahead of the U.S.? Things change. 

Janko Roettgers:

Apple hasn’t opened up its Apple TV device to all third-party developers yet, but instead just added apps from a few high-profile partners to the platform. But that didn’t stop two avid Plex fans, who were able to bring the media center software to Apple TV, thanks to a clever hack. And the best thing: There’s no jailbreaking involved, meaning that Plex users won’t void their warranty or brick their device.

Very clever — sadly, I’m sure Apple will cut this off sooner rather than later. Though I won’t be that sad if the required firmware update also brings an Apple TV SDK…

The chatter around this possibility has been decidedly quiet with less than a week to go until WWDC. That’s either good (surprise!) or bad (winter is coming) news. I continue to believe that before we get any sort of Apple television hardware, we’ll get an SDK that will work with the current Apple TV boxes. You have to seed the ecosystem before it can flourish. 

But I also have this feeling that an iWatch may appear first…

brad-t asked:

Do you think consoles in general are doomed, then? Serious question. I don't play games much so I don't really have a horse in this race. I think asking Nintendo to make games for iOS – a platform that doesn't have any traditional game controls to speak of – is too farfetched right now. If Apple suddenly started selling an Apple TV with a game controller in the box, well then ...

Not necessarily. But I think the market for gaming-only consoles has peaked. That’s why it’s smart for Xbox and Playstation to focus more on all forms of entertainment in the living room. 

Console gaming will long have its die-hards. But casual gamers already far outnumber them. I think focusing on a dedicated gaming controller is the wrong way to think about it. Apple already has controllers in the shape of iPhones and iPads. Maybe a slightly re-worked iPod touch does come with a television device one day. But all they really need to do is open up an SDK for the Apple TV and the flood of games will follow.

Anand Lal Shimpi of AnandTech breaks it down:

With no change to process technology, I can only assume that the reduction in power consumption came from other architectural or silicon optimizations. The significant power reduction is the only thing that makes me wonder if this new A5 silicon isn’t destined for another device, perhaps one powered by a battery. That’s pure speculation however, it could very well be that the A5 in the Apple TV is just lower power for the sake of being better designed.

Overall, it seems like this new custom A5 was made for an economical reason, but those power savings are pretty massive. If only Apple was working on small, battery-powered new iOS device…


The new Roku 3 has one more feature up its sleeve and it’s a neat one: private listening mode. Plug in a pair of headphones to the remote’s headphone jack and you can listen to whatever’s playing on your Roku. Plugging in the headphones also automatically mutes your TV, and headphone volume can be adjusted using the rocker on the right side of the remote. Another smart feature: the headphone volume leaves the TV volume unaffected, so cranking it up in private listening mode won’t blast the room when you pop out the headphones.

That’s a clever idea.

I’ve been a fan of the previous generation Roku. But honestly, I had mainly been using it because of the HBO Go integration. Now that you can AirPlay HBO Go from iOS devices (and it’s apparently coming to the Apple TV itself soon), the Roku gets a lot less use. 

It’s shocking that this new version of the Roku still doesn’t have YouTube support. And if/when Apple TV can run apps… Still cool to see this thing alive and kicking.

Anonymous asked:

You give Apple to much credit. Apple TV will never be able to kill consoles, because it won't be powerful enough to play Call of Duty. These CoD kids are the ones driving the market. Gamers want Skyrim and Assassins Creed, epic "real games" and nothing being made for Apple TV can replace those. I'm sure you love Angry Birds but the kids don't want that crapp

A couple things here:

1) I have no doubt that those hardcore games will remain a big deal and a good business. But I think more casual games, with the right hardware mixed in, could eventually be a bigger business.

2) You look at the Apple TV right now and you see a piece of hardware that can’t match the Xbox. But how far away is it really? I can now play the same Grand Theft Auto III that I used to play on my Xbox on my iPad/iPhone. The Apple TV runs on the same stack (even if you can’t see it yet). And, like those devices, the hardware is on a yearly refresh cycle — not the 5-to-10 year refresh cycle of gaming consoles (which is ridiculous and not tenable going forward).

So let’s revisit this comment in a couple years, shall we?