Apple TV loses ground to Roku and Chromecast, drops to 3rd most popular set-top box in U.S.

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A new report compiled by Parker Associates and discovered by Gigaom revealed that the Apple TV has lost some U.S. market share to competitors like the Roku and Chromecast last year, causing it to become only the third most popular device in the category.

According to the report, Google’s Chromecast and the Roku streaming device each sold around 3.8 million units in 2013—though the figure is more impressive in the case of the Chromecast, which was only introduced in the second half of the year. Apple, on the other hand, reportedly moved 2 million devices, putting it just below the others.

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Apple TV adds ABC News, AOL On, PBS Kids, Willow TV, and redesigned Flickr app

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After adding the Watch ABC app to Apple TV late last year, today ABC News arrives as its own channel on the device offering users access to a lot of the network’s content free of charge. While the WatchABC app provides full TV shows from the network and requires a cable subscription, the new ABC News app offers mostly news, clips of new shows as well as the same live stream that is also accessible from ABCNews.com. The new ABC News app comes alongside PBS Kids, Willow TV, AOL On, and a redesigned Flickr app.  Read more

Apple TV receives price drop in Europe and the UK

 

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In addition to introducing a more affordable, entry-level iMac early this morning, Apple has dropped the price of the Apple TV in a few non-United States markets. Specifically, the Apple TV sold in Europe and the UK has received a price drop of €10/£20 from their respective €109/£99 price points before. Customers in Europe and the UK can now purchase the Apple TV set-top box at €99 in Europe and £79 in the United Kingdom. The price in the United States remains untouched, however, at $99. Read more

Apple TV software beta brings iCloud Family Sharing and Photos to the big screen

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The latest beta software for the Apple TV brings one of iOS 8’s headline features to the (former) hobby device: iCloud Family Sharing. While the feature isn’t yet functional, it’s expected that users will be able to log into one account and access purchased music and movies, shared photos, and more from other devices on the same family sharing account…

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Apple adds WWDC channel to Apple TV for live streaming the keynote

As promised, Apple has added a WWDC channel to Apple TV for viewing the live stream of the conference’s keynote today. The keynote can also be streamed from Apple’s website using Safari on OS X or iOS or QuickTime 7 on Windows. We’ll be live blogging the keynote and posting major news as it is announced for those who cannot view the live stream so stay tuned for full coverage. As a primer, read our complete roundup of what to expect Apple to announce today.

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Cue: The current TV experience “sucks,” billion-dollar Apple TV business will get bigger this year

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Speaking at Code Conference Wednesday night, Apple’s head of online services Eddy Cue took a swipe at the current state of television and presented his take on where the future of that industry lies. According to Cue, Apple TV sales have risen in recent years and over 20 million of the set-top box have been sold to date. Cue says that the device is billion-dollar business now and is expected to continue growing.

However, the Apple TV isn’t a true TV replacement. Cue took a few moments to point out just how much using TV “sucks” and bemoan the current range of DVR devices. He even went so far as to compare current technology with the VCRs of a bygone era—and he’s not wrong. Cue cited drawbacks such as having to remember to set a recording or trying to manage storage on the recorder as reasons on-demand streaming through the Apple TV is growing in popularity.

That’s not to say he’s especially fond of today’s on-demand systems either, though. Not only did Cue have sharp criticisms for modern recording tech, he even jabbed at the streaming experience on the iPad, noting that the process of authenticating with a cable provider to access streaming content is less-than-ideal. So what’s his solution?

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Jobs’ biographer believes Beats purchase is about video, not headphones and music

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With the expected Beats Electronics acquisition by Apple expected to take a week longer than first reported, industry watchers are making their last minute predictions as to why Apple would be interested in the audio and music service company.

The latest notable guess? Walter Isaacson, the man who literally wrote the book on Steve Jobs. Dan Lyons, former Fake Steve Jobsreporting for Billboard:

“Isaacson thinks the Apple-Beats deal is not about headphones or streaming music but rather is about video. He speculates that Cook wants Iovine to run Apple’s content business and help Apple launch the TV product that analysts have been gossiping about for years. The product has been held up because Apple can’t get all the content owners on board.”

Lyons adds that Isaacson shared with him something which he did not include in the authorized biography of the late Apple co-founder: Jobs was pitched on Apple buying Universal by Jimmy Iovine around 2002 or 2003… Read more

Apple announces 20 million Apple TVs sold through Q2 2014

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During Apple’s earnings call this evening, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the company has sold 20 million Apple TV boxes through the second quarter of 2014. Sharing this number is out of the ordinary for Apple, as it generally doesn’t break down specific sales for its set-top box like it does for other products.

Apple’s decision to give us specific sales information for the Apple TV, however, does corroborate with its move earlier this year to present the device as its own product line, as opposed to an accessory. Cook also said on the call that Apple TV is over a billion dollar market, which means that it is no longer just a “hobby” for the company.

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iOS 7.1 code indicates Apple working on Siri for Apple TV

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Code found within the iOS 7.1 SDK suggests that Siri is headed to the Apple TV in future. Pierre Blazquez first found the reference on Friday. 9to5Mac has since confirmed that the code does exist in both iOS 7.1 and iOS 7.1.1’s files. The reference does not exist in 7.0.6.

The file is a supporting property-list resource for Assistant (Apple’s internal name for Siri), containing information about the feature. The UIDeviceFamily array declares what platforms are compatible with the feature.

As shown by Apple’s documentation, ‘1’ and ‘2’ represent the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad families. The ‘3’ represents the Apple TV family.

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Apple adds A&E, History Channel, and Lifetime channels to Apple TV

 

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Apple today has added three new channels to the Apple TV lineup: A&E, The History Channel, and Lifetime. Each channel does require a cable subscription to unlock full content, but it appears the most recent episodes of shows are available without unlocking the channels. At the time of launch, each channel only supports DirecTV, Verizon FiOS, and Cablevision Optimum, but the network says it will add support for more providers soon. While current cable provider support is limited, the A&E network did debut live TV streaming in its iPad apps just a week ago with support for a sweeping range of cable providers… Read more

Apple reportedly planning massive Q3 rollout for iWatch, iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV updates

 

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KGI Research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released a timeline indicating that Apple is planning a massive rollout for multiple new products in Q3 2014. According to the Kuo, the only thing we can expect to see in the first half of the year is a small iMac update. Starting at the end of the third quarter and continuing into the beginning of the fourth, however, Apple will update most of its product lineup: iPad Air and mini, the Apple TV, and the MacBook family.

Two new products reportedly planned for this timeframe are the iWatch, which Kuo says will be available in two different sizes, and the long-rumored 4.7-inch iPhone. The 5.5-inch iPhone that was reportedly delayed due to manufacturing issues with the display is said to be coming near the end of Q4, making it the last release for this year. Read more

Comcast/Time Warner filing with FCC says Apple exploring new set-top box

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There has been no shortage of indicators that a new version of the Apple TV set-top box is incoming. We reported last year and earlier this year that Apple is progressing on new Apple TV hardware that will include new content, such as an App Store or “Game Store,” references to a new model have appeared in iOS 7 code, and numerous other reports have said that a new box is incoming from Apple.

Today, a filing from Comcast and Time Warner Cable pitching their planned merger to the FCC references Apple’s development of a new set-top-box. Here’s the notable quote from the filing (via Daisuke Wakabayashi):

Today, Google competes as a network, video, and technology provider, and 8 out 9 of the next Google Fiber markets the company announced are in Comcast or TWC areas.  Apple tablets are viewing platforms for cable services even while Apple offers an online video service, Apple TV, and explores development of an Apple set-top box.  Microsoft just announced that it will feature ads on the Xbox One, creating a new video advertising platform.  And just last week, Amazon announced its own set-top box while it continues to leverage its unequaled sales platform and family of competitive tablets to promote its burgeoning Prime Instant Video business.

The bolded portion (emphasis ours) of the above quote says that Apple is exploring development of a new set-top box. The quote comes in context of the cable behemoths explaining why their merger is important amidst growing content competition from the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. While it is possible that the companies are just speculating based on rumors about the next version of the Apple TV, several reports have indicated that Apple has been in direct talks with Time Warner Cable and Comcast regarding a new set-top box…

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