Apple TVs are disappearing from shelves, could see an update next month as well

We learned last year that the new iPad is codenamed “J2″ in the iOS 5.1Beta software, and we learned last week that it will probably be announced at the beginning of next month. However, we also learned about another Apple Jxx product: The next Apple TV. It is codenamed “J33” and “AppleTV 3,1″ in the 5.1B software. This new Apple TV will also feature the low-power Bluetooth 4.0 technology. Perhaps, besides both showing up in iOS 5.1 software, the Jxx devices are also A6 devices? We cannot tell if this new device will be a 1080P/A6 upgrade from the current or something bigger.

So, when will it be delivered?

One of our Best Buy sources just pinged us and alerted us that Apple TV is not just out of stock at his store, but Apple TVs are no longer shipping to the stores at all anymore.

A customer was inquiring tonight about Apple TV. However right now we are out of stock (Which hasn’t happened since I started). Not only were we out of stock, but also I was also unable to order one from our product ordering system (OMS). Product was listed as “currently unavailable”. From prior experience, this usually is associated with a product that is being “discontinued”.

A visit to Best Buy.com shows that it is out of stock online. Only some stores have them in stock and if those are like our tipster’s, as seen above, they cannot order any more either. A quick check around the web shows an eerily similar pattern: Amazon is out for “2-5 weeks”, as seen below, which fits into Apple’s iPad announcement window, and it has returned to calling it the “2010 model.” Some of Amazon’s third party retailers do have them in stock, however.

We checked Target and many others too… Read more

Did Apple pull television shows from new Apple TV software in Canada?

Just two days after Wednesday’s release of an updated software for the Apple TV set-top box that brought the new TV Shows menu option, we’re hearing Apple pulled that option from the device’s menu, reports iPhoneinCanada.ca. Originally, the firmware update (which was deployed silently) added the new TV Shows choice to the Apple TV main menu.

However, it doesn’t work as iTunes Canada users  report being unable to purchase television shows. For some, the TV Shows menu option disappeared on its own 24 hours following the firmware update. Others report that the option gets deleted from the main menu upon choosing it. It could also be a software glitch rather than a deliberate move on Apple’s part and there’s already a thread on Apple’s support discussions forum.

According to the publication:

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Get watching: Apple finally brings TV show downloads to Apple TVs in Canada (Australia and UK too)

While TV shows have been available through iTunes in Canada, the Apple TV has not been a source of TV show downloading. Now, Apple appears to have sent an over-the-air update to Apple TV boxes in Canada, and TV show downloading is now available. Episode downloads cost between free and $2.49 a pop and are actually full downloads, not rentals. Apple recently traded single TV show episode rentals for a TV show downloads service. Episodes you purchase will be streamed with no limit from the iCloud storage locker. More photos after the breakThanks, iH8Sn0w!

Update: We’re also starting to receive multiple tips from Australia and UK as well.
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Analyst: First Apple HDTV will be integrated into next-gen iMacs (unlikely)

There has been no shortage of analyst reports regarding an Apple branded HDTV that the company is rumored to have already started work on. Some are calling for a late 2012 launch, but up until now, all have imagined the device as a standalone HDTV. Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair offers up another concept, claiming Apple will introduce a next-gen iMac with TV capabilities that will act as a transitional device before jumping head first into the TV business. The device would essentially integrate iCloud and Apple TV features, in addition to traditional TV hardware, into the larger 27-inch iMac design. Blair explains (via Forbes):

We think this makes sense because while we typically think about the newest TV’s hanging on the wall in large form factors, Apple could effectively start with what they already have on the manufacturing line and slowly push their offering from 27 inches and scale up from there to 32 inches and then move on to the 42, 50 and 55 inch market. In short, we believe the initial Apple TV is their iMac computer that can function as a TV, over the iCloud platform.

While this appears to be entirely speculation at this point, he makes much of his case based on the fact Apple already has the 27-inch iMac in production. We know Apple killed Front Row in Lion, while at the same time introducing iOS-like functionality like Launchpad. The 27-inch iMac is already an excellent display for consuming video content, but how conventional TV features might be baked into Lion is yet to be seen.

We’re pretty sure the Apple HDTV, if it comes to pass, will be based in iOS.  It will also be a living room experience unlike the up-close experience of an iMac.  Also, Apple seems to be going away from using its Mac Hardware as a TV device killing both Front Row and the included remote on many of its products.  Therefore we think this speculation is off. Read more

Apple’s next-generation Apple TV moves closer to reality, assigned J33 codename

iOS release history tells us that as a product in development moves even closer to release, it is assigned a proper codename. Not only an identifier like “3,1” but a codename such as N94 (iPhone 4S) or K48 (original iPad). The next-generation Apple TV has reached that stage. Thanks to today’s beta release of iOS 5.1, we have on our hands the codename for this new Apple TV (3,1).

As you can see above, the new Apple TV is rocking a the J33 codename, the second JXX product we’ve seen from Apple. The first was the J2 – a new iPad – that we discovered just last week. Apple’s iPad 2 almost reached the peak of Apple’s KXX options with the CDMA version dubbed as K95, so Apple’s move to JXX nomenclature is something that would have to happen sooner or later. With Apple recently beefing up their flagship tablets and phones with dual-core A5 chips, we think this new Apple TV represents an A5 dual-core model that packs in 1080P playback abilities. As to whether this thing has a display on it, it is too early for us to tell.

Thanks, as always, iH8Sn0w!

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aTV Flash (black) hack from FireCore goes 1.0, on sale

You don’t need this software to hack an AppleTV but it makes things easier.

aTV Flash (black) is a user-friendly software package that supercharges your new black AppleTV, unleashing a plethora of new functionality. Don’t worry about the technical details – aTV Flash (black) is simple to use and safe for your AppleTV. Installation is a snap and doesn’t require any physical changes to the AppleTV.

MacUpdate has it for the sale price of $19.99 today only.  AppleTV (2010) went on sale for $89.99 at Amazon matching Best Buy so you are looking at $110 for the whole shebang.  If you have an old AppleTV, they’ve got you covered there as well.  Full features below:

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Apple releases iTunes 10.5.1 Beta 2 to developers, featuring iTunes Match for Apple TV

Following the release of iOS 5.0.1 this afternoon to developers, Apple has released iTunes 10.5.1 Beta 2 to developers this evening. Along with being posted to the Developer Center, Apple has sent out the following email to developers. In the email Apple now reveals that iTunes Match has been made available for Apple TV. This update also includes a number of bug fixes. Sadly, iTunes Match still isn’t available to the public.

iTunes 10.5.1 beta 2 is now available and includes a number of important stability and performance improvements. iTunes Match is also now available for testing on Apple TV.

On your Apple TV, choose Music > Turn on iTunes Match.

Please remember to backup regularly and do not delete the music you add to iCloud from your computer.

How’s it looking on your Apple TV? Let us know; tips@9to5mac.com. Full email after the break:

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Hulu Plus app is ready for Apple TV, decision to update is “political not technical”

We’ve gotten word that inside Apple there are Apple TVs running the Hulu Plus app natively. The app is feature complete and ready to roll out to Apple TV users on current builds. In fact, it has been ready for at least a month and development is now on hold.

While there are no technical issues standing in the way of the Hulu Plus release on Apple TV, there appear to be some political ones. At some level at Apple, there appears to be some consideration that the Hulu Plus app could eat into iTunes TV sales on the Apple TV. Where Netflix tends to run older programming, iTunes is the Apple TV’s only outlet for current TV programming.

Hulu Plus is available on the iPad and other iOS devices but unlike many other content apps, you can’t AirPlay them to an Apple TV like Apple’s own iTunes videos. Additionally, you can use an HDMI cable to watch the iOS Hulu Plus through an iPad on your HDTV, but mysteriously only in Standard definition, not the native HD Hulu or iTunes quality. Plus, who needs an HDMI-tethered solution?

Adding to the political troubles, Hulu was recently trying to sell itself to players including Apple competitor Google (and Apple itself) but no bidders were willing to bid high enough. Perhaps Apple wanted to make sure that Hulu Plus didn’t turn into a Trojan Horse for one of its competitors?

Hulu Plus was originally barred from all TV platforms, but giving hope to Apple TV users, it recently appeared in HD on the $59 Roku (above) and even a few smaller platforms like the very capable Western Digital’s TV Live (pictured below).

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iTV

The moment I read the “I’ve Cracked the TV” quote from the Steve Jobs bio, I knew what the subject of the next few months at the rumor mill would be. Here it is in context:

“‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ [Jobs told Isaacson]. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’”

That seems to be a lot more certain than Jobs was last year at the D8 conference when he took a question from an audience member. In it, he laid out some very important things that no one is really talking about.


(Flashless)

The whole clip is much more fascinating than much of what I’ve been reading over the past week. The interface that Jobs is talking about isn’t whether Apple will use Siri or 3D gestures or not. It is how to put a layer on top of everything else with a consistent UI. He gets down to the nitty gritty at 1:30-3:00:

Add a box on to the TV system. You can say well gosh I notice my HDTV has a bunch of HDMI ports on it one of them is coming from the set-top box I’ll just add another little box with another one. Well, you just end up with a table full of remotes, clutter of boxes, bunch of different UIs, and that’s the situation we have today. The only way that’s ever going to change is if you go back to step one and tear up the set top box and restart from scratch with a redesigned UI and present it to the consumer in a way they’re willing to pay for it. And right now there’s no way to do that. So that’s the problem with the TV market. We decided what product do we want the most, a better TV or a better phone? Well the phone won because there was no chance to do the TV because there’s no way to get it to market. What do we want a better TV or better tablet. Well a better tablet because there’s no way to get the TV to market. The TV is going to lose until there is a better go to market, or there’ll just be a bunch of TIVOs. That’s the fundamental problem. It’s not a problem of technology, it’s a go to market technology.

So the question becomes: How is Apple going to “tear up the set top box” and start over?

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Apple seeds iOS 5 beta 7, iTunes 10.5 beta 7, Xcode 4.2 beta 7 to developers (full change log)

Apple has just released iOS 5 beta 7 to developers as an over-the-air update. iOS 5 includes new features like Notification Center, Twitter integration, Newsstand, and iCloud support. The software update will become publicly available this fall, likely alongside the new iPhone lineup in early October. Apple has released iTunes 10.5 beta 7 and Xcode 4.2 beta 7 as well. Apple has also just released Safari 5.1.1 update 3. Let us know at tips@9to5mac.com anything you find!

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We’ve found that in the Wi-Fi sync settings there is now support for multiple Macs. Under each Mac you’ll find what categories your iOS devide will sync to. Thanks Christoph!

Additionally, the Nuance Text to speech is now available as a menu item (below)

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The following issues relate to using the 5.0 SDK to develop code.We’ve pasted the full change log for the new beta after the break:

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Is the AppleTV 2 the future of low-CPU use servers? Desktops?

Why run a family pictures website, DNS or any other low CPU-use server on power-hungry Intel-based hardware when an AppleTV2 does the trick?  The folks at MacMinivault.com have set up a webpage on a AppleTV 2 (go ahead, try to take it down) jailbroken with httpd as an example of what can be served off of the little 6 watt, A4-powered dynamo.  Put 10 of these together and you’ll be using the same power as a single 60 Watt light bulb.

The Apple TV is running iOS 4.2.2 (obviously jailbroken) with lighttpd for a web server. You can see the webpage we set up by visiting atv.macminivault.com. We’ll keep an eye on the CPU load and watch the analytics to record how much traffic the Apple TV receives.

They say this won’t be a cost effective solution for their customers (8 GB of storage won’t cut it) but is a ‘fun experiment.’

What’s interesting is that Apple likely has an dual core A5-platform AppleTV coming out shortly which may push a little more into the Intel server space.  Perhaps more interesting is that the A5 chips could also make nifty little ChromeOS-busting terminals or even cheaper laptops.

If you want to create your own little AppleTV 2 server, they recommend the following: Read more