More on Apple's Airport/Time Capsule and a possible refresh


Image via Amazon

We’ve been tracking Time Capsule/Airport shortages reported earlier for about a week. Our sources noted that Airport Express has been plentiful but supplies of TimeCapsule and Airport Extreme have been tightening globally the way products usually do before a refresh.

What we do know is that Apple has been internally testing Time Capsules to cache Software Updates for both Mac and iOS devices.  The way we’ve heard it works is that the new Time Capsule learns which devices connect to it via Wifi.  It then goes out to Apple’s servers and downloads Software Updates for those products.

When the user wants to install the software update, the Time Capsule, which is also the router, routes you to the locally stored update, rather than downloading the whole thing over the Internet.  This works for iOS updates as well, though the updating still happened via the Mac.

Apple’s Mac OSX Servers currently do this for Mac businesses, so the technology already exists externally (though Mac OSX Server just downloads everything – without knowing which devices will be connected).

With Apple’s new iCloud component, we believe Apple has a chance to extend this functionality.  Perhaps Time Capsules could cache parts of your iCloud music locker that you use the most so that it speeds up the streaming process.  It could also cache large documents and files that get used often or even movies and photos you own.

While Macs have plenty of local storage, this would be particularly beneficial for iOS devices which are limited to Flash storage, especially AppleTV which has very little local storage.  As HD video gets bigger (1080P) Apple will need new ways to deliver and store this content.

The system could also work in reverse.  Apple could allow these new Time Capsules to back up your backups to the Cloud.

Will this be part of Apple’s iOS 5/Lion/iCloud announcement?  We’ll just have to wait and see. Read more

Apple TV 4.2.2 update released, bugfixes mostly

Apple has just pushed out a software update to the Apple TV and it’s version 4.2.2 build number 8F305. The update is likely bug fix related and we’ll update with more details when they are available.

Here’s the direct download link.

Update: Here are the updates:

Apple TV Software Update 4.2.2 features

Feature Summary
Audio Addresses an issue in which audio is not output when playing some video content.
Video playback Addresses an issue in which video is not displayed when playing some content.
Audio output setting Adds an audio output setting for switching to 16-bit audio for compatibility with some TVs and AV receivers.
Live FF/RW improvements Improves the performance of fast-forwarding and rewinding live events.
Movie description Addresses an issue in which the description information is not displayed for some movies.
YouTube video order Addresses an issue in which YouTube subscription videos were not ordered by date.

Jailbreakers might want to hold off.  Via MuscleNerd: (thanks commenter)

Apple just pushed out a lone AppleTV2G update…stay away from that if you’re currently untethered on ATV2G

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Apple and Verizon to deliver over-the-air iOS updates to Verizon iPhone

Apple has long used the proxy of iTunes to push updates to its iOS devices: when a new software update is available, users need to plug their device in via USB, click update, and the new software version is downloaded and installed.

Smartphone competitors have long offered a different, more direct method for software updates that happens over-the-air. Specifically, when an update to Google’s Android operating system or HP/Palm’s webOS is released, users are provided an update notification and can update the software right on their phone. No computer required.

Now, Apple wants to provide the same convenience to their iPhone users and is preparing to provide over-the-air iOS updates, starting this fall.

Multiple sources (one as far back as March) say the new feature will debut in iOS 5, meaning iOS 5 will not come over-the-air but following point updates to it will. Just like tethering in iOS 3, Apple has the technology but cannot just unleash it everywhere. Apple and Verizon Wireless are said to have been in talks over these wireless software updates since early this year. Sources could not comment on whether or not Apple is negotiating similar deals with AT&T or international iPhone carriers.

The iOS-based AppleTV has been able to update itself without iTunes intervention so the hooks are obviously in iOS.  Two things to note:

  1. Updates are now over 600MB.  Apple would have to make these smaller to get the carriers to agree to push these things as they are.  We believe that Apple will make the updates much smaller by using incremental patches rather than full OS downloads
  2. iTunes provides the backup to the iOS device so a failed update would need some sort of backup.  We think there will be a Cloud-based backup system.

Obviously, if this is a feature in iOS 5, it should conceivably make its way to iPad and iPod touches as well.  That means  iTunes may no longer be a needed conduit for updating iOS devices in the future.  It would also mean that the iPad could finally be a stand alone device.

Mockup below

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AppleTV Update 4.2.1 fixes flickering and other small issues

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Apple just issued a 4.2.1 update to AppleTV that is meant to fix a few nagging bugs:

Feature Summary
TV compatibility Addresses issues that may cause the screen to flicker or display incorrect color on some older TVs.
Wake from sleep Addresses an issue where Apple TV may not wake up from sleep.
Audio Addresses an issue where audio may not be heard on some TV models after switching from another input.
Stability and performance Apple TV Software Update 4.2.1 includes stability and performance fixes for Apple TV.

4.2.1 Direct Download. Read more

Mac OS X 10.6.6 ships — App Store is open

Apple has confounded industry watchers who expected the rumored noon launch time and the Mac App Store is available immediately, with over 1,000 apps available to download. Fire up Software Update and go grab it, people…(and read this while you wait). Update: No iWork 11, but you can get the individual apps and Aperture here. Press Release after the break. Read more

Reviews: A little Mac App Store info-nugget

We’re all agog waiting on the introduction of the Mac App Store tomorrow (Jan 6). It seems likely to eclipse the CES clamor. Now we have this tiny nugget to share: You’ll be able to review Mac Apps just like you review iOS apps.

Sure, we know this isn’t a massive surprise: stop and think about it and it makes perfect sense that you’ll be able to put virtual pen to paper to leave others with your impressions of those Mac Apps you love or loathe. Read more

Apple updates Remote.app to 2.1, adds AirPlay, Internet Radio

iPad Screenshot 2

Pretty much everything on any Apple product is playable on any other Apple product now…I think…

What’s New in Remote.app Version 2.1?

• AirPlay video support to control iTunes on your computer to stream videos to an Apple TV
• Internet radio control to play thousands of internet radio streams in iTunes on your computer
• The ability to control iTunes on your computer to play Movies and TV shows that are rented from the iTunes Store
• Addresses issues connecting to an iTunes library or Apple TV
• Includes stability and performance improvements

Read more

New Apple TV Sales to Top One Million This Week

Even while it emerges Google’s Google TV plans seem to be foundering (FIRE SALE!), Apple has announced that its new Apple TV will ship its millionth unit later this week.

While many hope the A4 chip inside Apple TV might be enabled to run some apps one day, many also consider the Netflix support within Apple TV to be the big win for sales.

Press Release follows: Read more

AirFlick lets you AirPlay anything compatible on the Internet (update: AVIs too)

Erica Sadun has put together a new Mac application called AirFlick . To put it simply, AirFlick lets you watch any video stored on your Mac or any video from the internet that is compatible with the AppleTV/iTunes ecosystem (.mov, mp4, etc.). Simply launch the application (screenshot after the break) drag a file path from your Mac or an internet video URL. As soon as you hit the play button the video will start playing on your TV via the Apple TV.

The first time we tried it we got an error message but then we left the error window and tried again and it worked. AirFlick is a bombshell piece of software for your Mac and if you’re like me you will find it extremely useful. AirFlick sort of turns your Apple TV into a video web browser as you are no longer limited to the built in YouTube or Netflix player. You get way more now.

Sadun notes that AirFlick is “quite alpha” with 0.01 as its version number. AirFlick has worked as it should so far for us, and you can give it a try here too. A third party developer has proved that the Apple TV can act as a “data server” and as an internet browser to a point. So why is it taking Apple so long?

Update: Erica Sadun figured out how to get AVIs streaming too. Video after the break.

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AppleTV receives a minor update (8C154) [Update: release notes]

At 4:12 ET today Apple updated its AppleTV firmware.  It should be hitting devices shortly or can be downloaded for fun below.  There is no update list as of yet.

AppleTV(2G) (AppleTV2,1) 4.2.1 (8C154) 12/14/2010 16:12:02

Update: According to Apple’s release notes the update resolves an issue regarding 480p playback as well as a video re-downloading issue.

Feature Summary
TV resolution fix Addresses an issue that causes some high-definition TVs to incorrectly display at 480p.
Download fix Addresses an issue that may cause a movie or TV show to be re-downloaded.

Read more

Airplay is now working to the Mac

For those of us who still use a Mac Mini (or other Mac) as a MediaCenter connected to our TVs, today’s hack from Erica Sadun is a blessing.  She created a Mac Application that can catch Airplay from iOS devices and output the video on the screen.  For all intents, AirPlayer lets your Mac do what an AppleTV does naturally.

You can download the Macintosh Application, called AirPlayer.app here.

The interesting question is: Does Apple want us doing this?  They make much more money selling Minis (and other Macs) than they do on AppleTV units.  However, it would seem easy enough for Apple to include this type of Application with Mac OSX.  So why does Sadun have to build it instead?  Are we in for another cat and mouse chase?

(update: it is a .01 release and we did have some trouble getting it to work with a YouTube video over wifi) Read more