Everyone’s favorite hockey puck “hobby” has received a huge software update today. Apple TV 6.0, which has been in beta testing since June, brings with it iTunes Radio, AirPlay from iCloud, iCloud Photos and Videos (replacing Photo Stream), iTunes Music Store, and conference room mode.
AirPlay from iCloud, which mirrors Google’s Chromecast, is a feature that must be turned on from the Settings. Once enabled, it allows you to “use your iOS device to play videos from iTunes in the Cloud”, which means the content is streamed directly to Apple TV rather than your iOS device. This reduces local bandwidth in half, however, some users may not want the feature since Apple TV handles iCloud video streaming differently than iOS devices. On iOS, your video will start streaming immediately, but the Apple TV takes in a huge buffer which can result in a long wait before the video can start. Also of note, AirPlay from iCloud is only compatible with iOS 7 devices.
The software was called “Apple TV 5.4” while in beta, but it appears Apple has changed the name to Apple TV 6.0 in the public release (as seen in this iTunes Radio KB document).
The update comes just two days after the public release of iOS 7, which brings a refreshed design and several notable features like Control Center. The 1080p set top box is rumored to be undergoing a hardware refresh as soon as next month when the new iPads and MacBooks are set to be updated as well.
In addition, the Apple TV can now install software updates automatically.