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

Munster offers three content scenarios for iTV, says Apple tapping ‘major TV component supplier’ for late 2012 launch


Apple television mockup by Guilherme M. Schasiepen

Piper Jaffray’s resident Apple analyst Gene Munster is arguably the most vocal proponent of an integrated high-definition television set from Apple, the mythical iTV. His old predictions were picked up by the press lately thanks to that vague Apple HD TV hint in Walter Isaacson’s authorized Steve Jobs biography, gaining more credence with both Sony and Samsung dissing the idea as old news.

Now, last we heard from Munster was in November of last year when he predicted an Apple television set within a year, costing double a comparable set. In a note to clients issued Tuesday, the analyst warned that his original timing “remains uncertain” but underscored he is still targeting “a late 2012 launch.”

More interesting is Munster’s claim that a “major TV component supplier” told him last month Apple was inquiring about “various capabilities of their television display components,” which sounds a lot like this skeptical New York Times report from October 2011. However, “Without a revamped TV content solution, we do not think Apple enters the TV market,” Munster wrote. Remaking the user interface is easy, but getting Hollywood on board will be tricky, as the Wall Street Journal warned in December.

With that in mind, Munster offers three content scenarios for the Apple television, as quoted by Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt…

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Apple researching universal touchscreen remote with adaptable user interface for future TVs

A patent application published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office earlier today reveals Apple is flirting with the idea of a universal touchscreen controller capable of controlling multiple devices including a “television, a video tape player, a video disk player, a stereo, a home control system, or a computer system.” The patent application is titled “Apparatus and Method to Facilitate Universal Remote Control” and was filed Sept. 30, 2011.

The patent application’s background covers many of the issues with current controllers for televisions and the devices mentioned above. It noted current universal remotes are “complex to operate” and unable to adapt to incorporate every command or control functionality supported by a device or future device. It also mentions the fact that users are often “confronted with multiple” remotes, which is the classic “table full of remotes” scenario described by Steve Jobs when talking about the Apple TV at D8. The patent application explained:

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Sculley: If anyone is going to change television, it’s going to be Apple (Murdoch agrees, too)


Photo courtesy of BBC

John Sculley, former vice-president and president of PepsiCo and CEO of Apple between 1983 and 1993, is adamant that Apple —not incumbents such as Samsung— is poised to change the first principles of the television experience. Sculley also confessed in an interview with BBC that has not read Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Apple’s late cofounder and CEO. Nevertheless, the executive turned investor underscored Apple’s history of past industry disruptions while opining that the television industry is about to experience Apple’s magic touch:

I think that Apple has revolutionized every other consumer industry, why not television? I think that televisions are unnecessarily complex. The irony is that as the pictures get better and the choice of content gets broader, that the complexity of the experience of using the television gets more and more complicated. So it seems exactly the sort of problem that if anyone is going to change the experience of what the first principles are, it is going to be Apple.

Sculely, 72, is a Silicon Valley investor nowadays, and dispelled some “myths” about his tense relationship with Apple’s cofounder. He said he did not fire Jobs, insisting they had “a terrific relationship when things were going well.” Heck, even Rupert Murdoch is commenting about Apple television, writing on Twitter this morning: “All talk is about coming Apple TV. Plenty of apprehension, no firm facts but eyes on their enormous cash pile”.

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Samsung: Apple Television is old news. Smart TV is the future and already here

When Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he finally “cracked the code” to building an integrated television set that is user-friendly and seamlessly syncs with all of your devices, Samsung Australia’s Director of Audiovisual Philip Newton told the Sydney Morning Herald that Jobs’ was talking about connectivity.

He laughed off the mythical iTV and dissed Jobs’ TV brain wave as “nothing new,” saying the future is now and it is his company’s Smart TVs:

When Steve Jobs talked about he’s ‘cracked it’, he’s talking about connectivity – so we’ve had that in the market already for 12 months, it’s nothing new, it was new for them because they didn’t play in the space. It’s old news as far as the traditional players are concerned and we have broadened that with things like voice control and touch control; the remote control for these TVs has a touch pad.

Samsung is promoting Smart TVs left and right at the CES show that is underway this week in Las Vegas. The company is showing off apps and games such as Angry Birds running smoothly on Smart TVs. Feature-wise, Samsung Smart TVs are beating Google TVs to the punch with capabilities such as voice interaction, facial recognition, integrated camera controls for multi-video conferencing and multitasking.

Sony, Panasonic and LG are also pushing integrated television sets built around the Smart TV platform. While not officially an exhibitor, Apple reportedly dispatched 250 employees to attend the show and monitor what competition is doing; among them is the head of iOS product marketing Greg Joswiak. Apple has been rumored for months to launch 32- and 37-inch television sets in the summer of 2012. Does Samsung see Apple as a threat?

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LG announces 55-inch OLED HDTV, looks good enough for an Apple Television

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Various reports throughout the year claimed LG is providing the television behind the Apple HDTV.  However, nothing conclusive has surfaced.

As far as the big display makers are concerned, Apple’s relationship with LG is probably the strongest.  LG makes iPod Touch and iPhone Retina Displays, some iPad displays, and Apple secured a $500 million dollar investment in LG displays in 2009. The net investment was a temporary exclusive on panels for the 27-inch display that Apple’s iMacs and Thunderbolt Displays now use. Sony also makes OLEDs, but it does not have a strong relationship with Apple – at least as far as displays are concerned. The other big OLED maker is Samsung, and it is currently tangled with Apple in patent disputes.

With that said, look at the things that will be shown at the Consumer Electronic show. They have a 4 mm bezel -that is half the thickness of an iPhone 4S- and weighs in at a paltry 16.5-pounds. In addition, things like “1,000 times faster than LED/LCD displays” and “infinite contrast ratio” makes this sound like one of the best displays of 2012.

(Full sized images and the press release are below.):

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Apple releases Apple TV update 4.4.4 (9A406a), small iOS 5.0.1 update

Apple has just released an update for the 2nd generation Apple TV, version 4.4.4 (9A406a). As of now we know the update brings bug fixes, but we’re checking for more. Hit up your Apple TV to download the new firmware or hit up the direct link.

Update: Apple has also released a small update to the iPhone 4S, bringing it to version iOS 5.0.1 (9A406). Hit up the the direct link.

Update X2: Apple has dropped a note saying that this update fixes SIM card issues on the iPhone 4S.

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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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Sharp rumored to ramp up iTV production in February for summer 2012 launch


An Apple television mockup by Adr-studio.it

More news concerning a rumored television set by Apple that several analysts and some media outlets have been calling for feverishly. According to a blog post published by The Tokyo Times news siteApple has commissioned Sharp to begin manufacturing large displays for an Apple-branded television set. Sharp should ramp up production in January:

American technology giant Apple is shifting partnerships in Japan towards Sharp, eyeing the production of a brand-new TV range which may be called iTV.

The product should hit the market by the summer 2012, the story goes. And according to New York Post, which referenced the original Tokyo Times report:

Apple has taken over the entire plant — pulling out of South Korea and its former partner Samsung — to insure the quality of the new set and to protect its secrecy.

The Tokyo Times story quotes Jefferies analyst Peter Misek as saying that Apple’s rivals have already begun “a scrambling search to identify what iTV will be and do”. The analyst wrote in a note to clients, based on his visit to Japan and talk with manufacturing executives:

It’s a huge deal for Sharp because they spent significant amounts of capital to try and expand capacity and upgrade their facilities. It gives Apple a partner that they can control manufacturing and secure supply at a lower price.

Please be advised that our confidence in The Tokyo Times isn’t very high…
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Apple airs new iPad 2 “Love” ad, showcasing how the tablet is used in daily lives

Apple has begun airing their new “Love” iPad 2 ad, which showcases how the device is used in the daily live of people. In the ad you can see people using Apple’s iMovie to edit video, a basketball coach showing his team new plays, a band mixing their music, a designer, and more. The narrator remains the same as their other new ads like the iPad 2 “Learn” ad that aired in August. Expect more ads like this as Apple begins ramping people up for the holidays.

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Sony’s Stringer: “No doubt that Apple is working on changing the traditional television set”


A rendition of an Apple-branded television set.

The WSJ reports that amid losing money on every television set they make, Sony somehow has a strategy for redemption. Stringer declined to provide details about what Sony is developing but said “there’s a tremendous amount of R&D going into a different kind of TV set”.

He he has “no doubt” Apple’s Steve Jobs also was working on changing the traditional TV set. “That’s what we’re all looking for”, he noted, warning “it will take a long time to transition to a new form of television”. Slim margins, low prices and little innovation make the business of researching, developing and marketing high-definition television sets a cutthroat one, he remarked:

We can’t continue selling TV sets [the way we have been]. Every TV set we all make loses money.

His company, Stringer said, spent the last five years creating an ecosystem to take on Apple, even though the company had seen little success with the Google TV platform and other connected television efforts:
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