Apple might have just gave us our first glimpse at an upcoming notifications feature coming to the Apple TV. During Apple’s live stream of its iTunes Festival at the SXSW festival in Austin tonight, Apple for the first time started prompting users to tune into the live stream with a notification feature on the Apple TV (pictured above). The notification interrupts the currently-playing content— in my case a video AirPlaying from my Mac— and displays a notification asking users if they would like to watch the live performance.

Back in December when we gave you a behind-the-scenes look at development of Bloomberg’s new Apple TV app, we reported first that Apple and its partners were planning on introducing a new notification feature that would deliver “tune-in alerts” to users through both the Apple TV and companion iOS apps. The feature described to us by the development team working on Bloomberg’s Apple TV app sounds a lot like the notification that Apple started sending out for the iTunes Festival on Apple TV tonight.

Rather than present iTunes Festival branding, the notification is quite generic and simply says “Live Show in Progress – Performing now: Pitbull. Would you like to watch this live show?” It then gives users the option to “Watch Now” or “Cancel.” It definitely appears to be a system-wide feature that Apple could easily expand to any app rather than something specially designed for the iTunes Festival.

In January we reported that Apple was testing new Apple TV harware that could include a revamped operating system and possibly app and game support for sometime in the first half of 2014. We also reported that Apple was testing upgraded hardware that included built-in AirPort Express 802.11ac router functionality and versions that include a built-in TV tuner to control existing cable boxes. More recently we reported that code in builds of iOS 7 points to refreshed hardware, at least internally. Bloomberg and others later confirmed many of the same details and said the hardware would be unveiled next month ahead of a Christmas unveiling.

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9 Responses to “First look at notifications feature on Apple TV arrives for iTunes SXSW Festival?”

  1. Praying Apple will allow the Apple TV to join the iOS 7 family.


  2. How annoying an implementation though! Interrupting what you are watching?!
    Why not like on iOS where it’s a banner at the top/bottom?


    • Agreed. Pretty terrible and clunky. My guess would be that they’re slowly(!) getting the functionality there before unveiling a new look OS, with more selective and less intrusive notifications. Either that or they’ve completely lost the plot!


  3. There had better be a way to disable this bs…


  4. Not correct, it was there at iTunes Festival in London also.


  5. Looks too intrusive for generic consumption. I hope they have an alternative in mind that is less intrusive than that


  6. Steve Ballen says:

    I don’t think this is actually showing anything new, rather than an existing capability being used in a slightly new way. Think software updates. They don’t interrupt what you’re watching (if I’m not mistaken), but they are technically notifications presented in a similar format. Chances are far higher this is just a derivative of that feature than an early example of an entirely new notifications system (especially considering how horrible of an implementation this would be for system-wide notifications).


  7. Nick Grant says:

    The day my Apple TV asks me if I want to watch Pitball is the day I sell it.