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

ABC streaming Oscars to its apps for some, ESPN adds conference feeds to Apple TV

(via Oscar Blog)

Even before Apple introduces an expected refresh to its streaming set top box sometime this year, several content providers are making the current platform even richer with more and more content. Two big players, ESPN and ABC, will be providing content new to the Apple TV very soon, Variety reports. Starting with ABC, the network will stream the Oscars on Sunday live through its Watch ABC apps for subscribers in select cities (details below). ESPN, for its part, has announced dedicated channels within its Watch ESPN app on Apple TV and Roku for following 15 different conferences. Read more

WWE Network comes to Apple TV with in-app subscriptions as service debuts

Update: The WWE Apple TV app is now live for users in at least the US and Canada.

Following rumors back and forth regarding the new WWE network launching today, the company has just announced that the service will be available to Apple TV users. WWE confirmed to us in a statement that the Apple TV app will arrive today.

WWE-Network-Apple-TV-03The Apple TV app will provide access to all 12 live WWE Pay-PerView events including WrestleMania, original programming from the network like reality shows and documentaries, as well as 24/7 programming from WWE and a ton of on-demand content.

The update appears to have hit Apple TVs (at least in the US or Canada) with the ability to access the network and purchase subscriptions. The subscription-based WWE network allows users to sign up for service directly within the Apple TV app using an iTunes account. The company notes that subscriptions purchased through Apple TV are “billed as a single charge of $59.99 (plus applicable tax) for the six month subscription period.” Read more

Opinion: Will the spring launch of Amazon/Nexus/Apple TV signal the beginning of the end of live, broadcast TV?

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Streaming TV is heating-up. We’re expecting a new Apple TV box to be announced in April, Amazon looks set to launch its own box in March and Google is reputed to be not far behind with a Nexus-branded box.

So-called cord-cutting – people who give up their cable TV subscriptions in favor of streaming content over the web – is growing in popularity. Mobile TV viewing on tablets is increasingly common.

All of which makes me wonder whether we’re witnessing the beginning of the end of live TV … ?  Read more