Amazon’s long-rumored Apple TV competitor to launch next month?

Image: digitaltrends.com

Image: digitaltrends.com

Amazon’s TV box, which the company is believed to have been working on for around a year, is to be launched next month, according to unnamed content distribution sources cited by re/code - ahead of the new version of the Apple TV box expected to be unveiled in April.

People I’ve talked to who are partnering with Amazon believe the company is aiming for a March rollout [...]

Sources tell me Amazon’s box will be powered by Google’s Android operating system, which is also not a surprise — Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets use a “forked” version of Android …  Read more

Wall Street Journal corroborates new Apple TV incoming, but says content plans have been scaled back

apple-tv-deal

The Wall Street Journal has published a report that largely corroborates what Bloomberg said earlier; a new Apple TV is under development with Apple currently in negotiation stages for content deals, with at least Time Warner Cable. However, the Wall Street Journal adds some new information about what these talks entail.

Initially, it appears that Apple wanted an independent Apple TV product to offer TV shows and films exclusively over the Internet. However, now it appears that Apple is scaling back some of its ambition due to resistance from content companies.

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Bloomberg reiterates new Apple TV incoming, April introduction and Christmas launch

apple-tv-deal

Following our reports in recent months that Apple was looking to introduce a revamped Apple TV set-top box sometime around the month of March, Bloomberg is out with its own report today confirming much of what we’ve already reported. The report claims Apple is currently planning to launch the new Apple TV set-top box as early as April:

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is planning to introduce a new Apple TV set-top box as early as April and is negotiating with Time Warner Cable Inc. and other potential partners to add video content, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

In January we reported that Apple was working testing the new box 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. Most recently we reported that code in recent builds of iOS 7 point to refreshed hardware, at least internally. Bloomberg today confirmed a couple of the same details including a new interface for navigating content. It also said the hardware will include a faster processor.

Bloomberg adds that a launch of the product is currently planned for Christmas but that might change if Apple isn’t able to nail down deals with content partners in time. Content from Time Warner has been rumored to be arriving soon for quite a while now, but negotiations are still ongoing according to Bloomberg’s report from today.

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New Apple TV hardware references already appearing in iOS 7 builds

ATV

We reported last fall that a revamped Apple TV set-top-box is in the works, and then we learned earlier this year that the new box would likely be introduced in the first half of 2014. Sources said at the time that the new model would be redesigned (at least on the inside) and would sport new content (perhaps a true App Store or gaming functionality). Since that time, sources indicated that internal prototypes for the new device include AirPort Express-like functionality, a form of enhanced iOS gaming integration, and a TV tuner component for connecting to existing cable setups.

Now, we have located a reference to the next-generation Apple TV inside of iOS 7 software builds:

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Apple TV: Meet the Beatles. New channel celebrates 50 years since US debut

beatles

Apple has created a dedicated channel for The Beatles in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. appearance of the 60s pop group on The Ed Sullivan Show. The show footage is available “for a limited time,” and you can listen to the U.S. albums which are also available on iTunes for the first time …  Read more

Apple buying Internet infrastructure to boost performance, possibly prepare for television

One of Apple's existing data centers

One of Apple’s existing data centers

The WSJ reports that Apple has been quietly making major new investments in Internet infrastructure in a move which may simply be designed to boost the performance of its existing online services, but which could also be in readiness for its upcoming television product.

Bill Norton, chief strategy officer for International Internet Exchange, which helps companies line up Internet traffic agreements, estimates that Apple has in a short time bought enough bandwidth from Web carriers to move hundreds of gigabits of data each second.

“That’s the starting point for a very, very big network,” Mr. Norton said …  Read more