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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NBC iOS app finally lets you AirPlay its free full-length episodes to Apple TV

NBC updated its mobile app for iPhone and iPad today with one big update for iOS and Apple TV users: the ability to AirPlay content from the mobile app to your TV via Apple TV.

The update is a big deal for a couple of reasons. The most notable being the fact that NBC offers full TV episodes for free through its mobile app, without the requirement of signing into your existing cable subscription like many other popular network apps. NBC has always been one of the go to apps for cord cutters, and now they’ll be able to beam that content onto the big screen using an Apple TV and AirPlay. Getting a lot of this content on the Apple TV previously required a subscription to Hulu or signing into a cable subscription.  Read more

Steve Jobs in 2010 on Apple TV’s future: Magic Wand, apps, Web browser

An interesting email chain between Steve Jobs and various Apple executives has surfaced via court records for the latest spat between Apple and Samsung. Our earlier article on the matter detailed some parts of the email in which Jobs revealed roadmap plans for 2011 and some of 2012. The discussions were a preview of what was to be discussed at an off-site for Apple’s “Top 100″ employees. Presentations regarding the yet-to-be-announced iPad 2, iPad 3, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, Verizon iPhone 4, Apple Campus 2, and iCloud took place, but the talking points regarding Apple TV deserve a closer look in light of recent rumors of an imminent update

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New Steve Jobs email a treasure trove of information about Apple TV, Google ‘holy war,’ and behind-the-scenes strategy

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A new email from Steve Jobs that was published during today’s Samsung lawsuit (via The Verge) has revealed a lot about Apple’s plans for its products in 2011 and beyond. As we’ve previously noted, Jobs referred to 2011 as a year of “holy war” against Google, but this document goes above that and describes how exactly Apple planned to wage this war.

A few choice bits are below, followed by the complete email.

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Amazon announces $99 Fire TV set-top box shipping today: automatic recommendations, voice search, games and more

Amazon has just announced its Apple TV competitor, dubbed ‘Fire TV’. You can buy it now from Amazon.com for $99. The product roughly resembles an Apple TV in size and shape, but is thinner by a few millimetres and has square (rather than rounded) edges. Spec-wise, Amazon claims it is three times as powerful as Apple TV or Roku. It runs on a quad-core processor with 2GB RAM. The fireTV can stream video at 1080p over HDMI, alongside Dolby Digital surround sound.

Input comes via a Bluetooth remote that features a five-way directional pad and some ancillary buttons. The remote has an inbuilt microphone, so you can speak show titles to have it automatically search for them.

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Roku CEO says Apple TV ‘loses money’, calls it an iPad accessory

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CNET is reporting that Roku CEO Anthony Wood described Apple TV as an ‘iPad accessory’ at Re/code’s Code/Media conference. Until recently, even Apple characterised the product as a ‘hobby’. The Apple TV box has not changed much since its major revamp in 2010. More controversially, Wood followed up by claiming that the Apple TV actually loses money for Apple – which would immediately seem strange since Rokus have similar hardware and cost less.

“Apple TV is essentially an accessory for the iPad. They lose money, which is unusual for Apple,” he said Thursday, speaking at the Recode conference here. “If you’re losing money, why would you want to sell more?”

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Apple reportedly discussing the possibility of a TV streaming service with Comcast

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is now in talks with Comcast about the possibility of a collaborative television streaming service. The plan, according to the report, is for Comcast to provide preferential streaming treatment to an Apple-built set-top box like the existing Apple TV.

The service would allow subscribers to stream live TV shows as well as on-demand content provided by Comcast. The agreement between the two companies would allow Apple’s box to continue streaming smoothly even when other connections were bogged down by high traffic and bypass bandwidth issues.

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Logitech’s Harmony Smart Keyboard for Apple TV & your entire living room

Logitech just announced a new Harmony Smart Keyboard that it says is specifically designed for controlling Apple TV and similar living room devices. The idea is that the Harmony Smart Keyboard, with support for “225,000 home-entertainment devices and over 5,000 brands,” will become your ultimate living room controller. The keyboard packs in a touchpad on the right hand side, a ton of quick launch functions for changing channels, browsing menus, and controlling media, and a number of interesting new features powered by the included Harmony WiFi hub and companion app. It’s essentially the best of both worlds from Logitech’s keyboard and Harmony remote products.  Read more

Cook talks Apple TV, iMessage, innovation at shareholders meeting as all management proposals approved

This morning, Apple is holding its 2014 official shareholders meeting from its Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, California. The proceedings are just beginning, and Apple executives are expected (per usual) to field questions from attending shareholders.

One of the orders of business at this meeting is voting to approve or reject both proposals from Apple’s management and shareholders. Bloomberg‘s Jon Erlichman reports that shareholders have rejected every proposal created by other shareholders while all proposals from Apple management have been approved…

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Apple Stores discounting Apple TV w/ $25 iTunes card ahead of new hardware rumored for spring

 

Update: Apple has confirmed the promo, and according to the T&C online orders are also eligible.

According to our sources, Apple retail employees were informed this morning that beginning today, anyone who purchases an Apple TV from Apple will receive a free $25 iTunes gift card. As of right now this promotion seems to only be available at brick and mortar locations, but we will update this post if it pops up at the Apple online store. The promotion is scheduled to end on March 5th. iTunes gift cards can be used to download movies, music, apps, and more.

Here’s what we know so far about the incoming next-generation Apple TV hardware:
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OS X 10.9.2 breaks AirPlay Mirroring and desktop extensions to external monitors for some users

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A number of Mac users in an Apple Support Communities thread are reporting that Apple’s 10.9.2 update to Mavericks has broken AirPlay Mirroring to Apple TV and the ability to extend desktops to external monitors.

I just updated to 10.9.2 and now when i try and airplay mirror to my Apple TV, it sends the audio but just shows a black screen and i can’t drag anything to it. It doesn’t show any of the options for external displays in the displays section of System Preferences …  Read more