AirParrot 2 brings Mac & Windows screen mirroring to Chromecast, drag and drop media streaming

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AirParrot, the app that lets you send your desktop display to an Apple TV-connected TV, is today releasing version 2 with Chromecast support and number of other new features. Sure, you can mirror your Mac’s display to an Apple TV using Apple’s built-in AirPlay feature, but AirParrot provides features beyond what Apple offers and also support for screen mirroring from Chromebooks and Windows. Today’s release makes it the first to enable full screen mirroring support to Chromecast with audio support and more. 

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Apple Online Store frontpage redesigned ahead of Black Friday, pushing iOS devices, Macs and Beats accessories

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For Black Friday, Apple has refreshed the frontpage of its online store with a rather-drastic redesign. Each product category now dominates the webpage, with full-bleed images of their main product lines. The new iPad updates get the top spot, but interestingly Apple TV and Beats headphones also get prime placement. In fact, the product images for Beats accessories are so large, it only takes four images to dominate the screen.

The strap-line ‘From one gift come many’ headlines the page, which also links up with Apple’s upcoming retail store holiday changes. The same tagline will soon be featured in Apple Store windows around the world, highlighting the wide scope of the iPhone and iPad, as shown below.

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Apple TV updated with CBS News channel including free CBSN streaming network

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Apple TV users will notice a new channel in the lineup today: CBS News. The newly added CBS News channel is available for free and features the CBSN streaming news channel launched by CBS earlier today. Viewers can also access on-demand content from previous broadcasts of CBS Evening News and CBS This Morning. Additional on-demand content from shows including 60 Minutes, 48 Hours, Sunday Morning, and Face the Nation can also be found for free.

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Starwood Hotels begins rollout of iPhone/Apple Watch virtual room keys, Hilton to follow (Video)

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Starwood Hotels has officially launched its SPG Keyless service, allowing guests to use their iPhone (and, in the Spring, Apple Watch) to unlock their hotel doors, bypassing the front desk. The boutique hotel group first announced the project back in January.

1. After booking a reservation at a keyless hotel, SPG members are invited to opt-in to SPG Keyless and register their phone through the SPG App.

2. Approximately 24 hours before arrival, the guest receives his/her room number and Bluetooth key via the app.

3. Upon arrival at the hotel, the guest can completely bypass the front desk (where available) and go directly to his/her room.

4. Then, after ensuring his/her Bluetooth is enabled, the guest simply opens the SPG App, taps the smartphone on the door lock, waits for the green light and enters the room.

The service goes live today at three Starwood brands: Aloft, Element and The W. Read more

Apple TV updated with Hallmark’s ‘Feeln’ and A&E’s ‘FYI’ channels

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Apple updated the Apple TV today with two additional channels: Hallmark Card’s Feeln network and A&E’s FYI network. The Feeln network includes “family-friendly movies, documentaries, and short films” according to its description. The FYI network owned by A&E and formerly called The Biography Channel “features lifestyle programming, with a mix of reality, culinary, home renovation and makeover series.” Both new channels are available automatically or by rebooting the Apple TV. Read more

Apple profiles its effort in Obama’s ConnectED education program: 114 schools receiving Macs, iPads, & Apple TVs

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The White House shared earlier this year that Apple is a participant in President Obama’s ConnectED education program focused on bringing Internet access and technology to schools in need, and today Apple has provided a micro site profiling its effort in the program.

While it was already known that Apple has pledged $100 million to provide iPads, MacBooks, and other products toward the program for schools across the United States, Apple has shared that Apple ConnectED grants are being received by a total of 114 different schools across the country with these schools spread out across 29 states. Apple added that “92% of students from our partner schools are of Hispanic, Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Asian heritage.” Read more

CBS follows HBO in targeting cord-cutters with $5.99/month VOD service via app & web

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Just one day after HBO announced that it would be offering a web-only subscription at some point next year, CBS has played leap-frog by announcing the immediate availability of a $5.99/month web & app subscription offering on-demand access to almost all content.

CBS All Access will offer subscribers thousands of episodes from the current season, previous seasons and classic shows on demand, as well as the ability to stream local CBS Television stations live in 14 of the largest U.S. markets at launch.

CBS All Access is available beginning today at CBS.com and on mobile devices through the CBS App for iOS and Android.

Cable companies have long shied away from offering access to popular, current programming without demanding that you sign-up to cable access first. But broadcasters now seem to be recognizing that it isn’t just cord-cutting that threatens their existing models, it’s also ‘cord nevers’ – young people who simply aren’t signing up for cable subscriptions in the first place, preferring to get their TV fix online …  Read more

Apple TV channel for today’s iPad and iMac event live stream is now available

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Apple previously announced that it would be live streaming Thursday’s iPad and Mac event, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the company is pushing out an Apple TV channel to stream the video. It is a bit surprising, however, that the channel is already available at midnight Pacific time. It’s usually much later in the day that it appears.

You can also stream the event from Apple’s website on a Mac or iOS device. If you’re on a Windows PC, you’ll need to follow a few extra steps to get the stream working, but you’ll also be able to watch. Apple is expected to debut upgraded versions of the iPad and iPad mini along with a new Retina iMac. There should also be some final details about iOS 8.1 and OS X Yosemite, including release dates and Apple Pay availability.

We’ll have also full coverage of the event right here on 9to5Mac.

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HBO’s upcoming web-only subscription could unlock the full potential for Apple TV

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HBO CEO Richard Plepler shared today that the premium satellite and cable network will begin offering a web-only package sometime in 2015 as it attempts to gain new paid subscribers. A web-only offering for HBO (and other popular networks) is something cable cutters have wanted for years although many argued that the economics of the cable industry wouldn’t make the option feasible for the networks.

Plepler, though, cited “the current ten million broadband-only homes” before announcing that HBO will launch “a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service” next year. Could a version of HBO unbundled from cable providers mean that Apple TV may also become less restrained by required cable subscriptions?

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Carl Icahn forecasts UltraHD Apple TV set in FY 2016

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Included in activist shareholder and investor Carl Icahn’s open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook requesting an increased stock buyback from the company is somewhat of a prediction about when Apple might release an actual Apple TV set, not just an updated set-top box. Icahn sees fiscal year 2016 as an opportunity for Apple to enter the home television market citing an upgrade cycle due to UltraHD displays.

As we highlighted in our previous letter, we believe UltraHD’s (ultra-high-definition television) superior picture quality in comparison to regular HD will drive a major TV replacement cycle as the price gap between them narrows. It should also be noted that Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, has referenced UltraHD as a major catalyst for Netflix going forward, and while this is true for Netflix, we believe it is also true for Apple. Against the backdrop of this replacement cycle, FY 2016 represents an opportune time to introduce an UltraHD TV set.

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2013 Apple TV revision gets its first exclusive feature: iOS 8’s Peer-to-Peer AirPlay

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When Apple released Apple TV software update 7.0 earlier this month, it came with support for new iOS 8 features including the new Peer-to-Peer AirPlay feature. First announced when Apple unveiled iOS 8 earlier this year, Peer-to-Peer AirPlay allows users on iOS 8 and the upcoming OS X Yosemite release to stream content to an Apple TV without having to connect to the same wireless network. What we didn’t know at the time, however, is that the feature is limited to only the latest Apple TV hardware: Read more

Apple adds FX NOW channel w/ on-demand TV & movies to Apple TV

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Following a report in July that Apple was planning on adding a new FX Now channel to Apple TV within 12 months, today the channel has officially arrived for users in the US. Like the FX Now app that was already available on iOS devices via an app for iPhone and iPad, the channel offers on-demand video streaming with content from the FX, FXX, and FXM networks.  Read more