Years-long erroneous assumption illustrates double-edged sword of rumor reporting
There's no question that news sites often lean on the rumor mill as the basis for stories (though we are careful to note that rumors are exactly that -- rumors). Sometimes the speculation is fearless, sometimes it amounts to nothing more than an educated guess. Sometimes -- less often than you'd think -- rumors turn out to be true, but we've found that only the ones closest to the actual product release have much veracity. We've turned away from heavy rumor reporting lately -- but they're always in our feeds, or in the MacNN email box. There's a certain cycle to rumors that we've seen, generally from "analysts" with no better sources than we have -- and here's why we don't always report on them.
BBC shutting down global version of iPlayer
The BBC is shutting down its Global Player for the BBC iPlayer streaming tool. Spotted on Twitter by The Next Web, the BBC has advised auto-renewing subscriptions will cease between May 26 and June 26, with downloaded programs becoming unavailable after the user's subscription ends. The United Kingdom-specific version of the iPlayer is unaffected by the closure.
Different new channel options depending on region, from sports to art
Apple has added a handful of new channels to Apple TV units in the US, Canada, the UK, French- and German-speaking regions in Europe, and Australia today. Starting immediately, US owners can now watch CBS Sports (which does not require a cable subscription login) or USA Now, which does require a login. In Canada, viewers will now see either CraveTV (if they are Bell subscribers) or Showmi (for Rogers or Shaw cable customers). Other countries have also received different new channels.
Change in Google API forces Apple to remove YouTube from older Apple TV models
Owners of second-generation Apple TV units -- the last of the larger, gray-colored models -- have reported that YouTube has vanished from the devices starting last night, with both the dedicated channel and references to the feature being removed. As reported previously, the change is due to alterations Google announced last month in the YouTube Data API to allow for new features that various older devices, including some of Google's own, cannot support. Also affected in the cutoff are YouTube app support for older iOS devices running obsolete versions of iOS.
Following botched early update, iOS resumes usual pattern of quick adoption
Apple has updated its App Store distribution graph for developers, showing that iOS 8 has now been adopted by 81 percent of active iOS devices. The figure, which has risen two percent from the previous report in mid-April, reflects the overall improvements brought to the system since its initial release, as well as the wide compatibility of iOS 8, which goes back to 2011's iPad 2 and iPhone 4s. The rapid adoption rate continues to be a major platform advantage for developers.
Instagram adds three filters, emoji hashtag support to iOS, Android apps
Instagram has updated both the iOS and Android versions of the photo app with more filters. Lark desaturates reds and adds more to blues and greens for landscapes, Reyes adds a dusty layer to the image, and Juno tints cool tones green while making warmer tones pop. The app also introduces the option of using emoji when writing hashtags for images.
Supported device list pruned as part of YouTube Data API changes
Google is preparing to cut support for its YouTube apps on a number of aging devices. An announcement on the YouTube support pages notes that select devices manufactured before or during 2012 will lose support for the video app, with the list including smart TVs and Blu-ray players, older Google TV devices, earlier models of the Apple TV, and some iOS devices.
Apple Watch hands-on reports, a look at Photos, new videos, more
Following a longer-than-expected submission process to Apple, we're pleased to report that episode 10 of The MacNN Podcast, along with all previous episodes, has finally arrived on iTunes. Listeners can now search for, subscribe to, and generally wallow in our backlog of tech news, app picks, and bad jokes. The latest episode has a couple of remote reports from Australia and the UK about the Apple Watch concierge try-on experience, the arrival of Photos with OS X 10.10.3, our new videos, and more.
Vast library of current and previous HBO programming available for $15 per month
The standalone service HBO Now has launched on Apple TV in a new update, offering owners of Apple's set-top box the option of subscribing to HBO without an existing cable or satellite subscription as a requirement. Included in the deal, which includes a "first month free" trial offer, is all current HBO programming including movies, and access to all previous original HBO programming, including series such as Veep.
Apple leaving streaming to broadcasters; sticking with hardware, software
As part of its as yet unconfirmed live television service, Apple is reportedly asking the networks themselves to handle the technical details, and associated costs of the streams that will reportedly be available on the Apple TV, similar to deals in place now. Costs generally run $0.05 per stream per hour, but executives are said to be balking at the potential cost for the as yet unknown demand for the service.
Attorney responding to Comcast merger complaint spills the beans
Throwing some doubt on the veracity of earlier reports by the Wall Street Journal NBCUniversal has said in a letter to the US Federal Communications Commission that not only is it not keeping back content from any prospective Apple television network, it has not even been launched discussions with Apple in the first place. The revelation was made as part of an information request fulfilled by the programmer, answering questions about the prospective Time Warner Cable and NBCUniversal parent company Comcast's merger.
Prognostications after long term use of Apple's set top box
Once upon a time, there was a nascent technologist in the early part of the century. This writer was flummoxed by having to burn DVD for video playback for his occupation at the time, given the cost of the media. Then, a certain Cupertino fruit-branded computer company released the Mac mini's first iteration. Connected with a $20 video dongle, and an audio adapter, the (at the time) cutting-edge concept of a computer connected to a television solved many local problems. Apple, and this technologist, have both come a long way since then. The vast majority of the functionality of a Mac mini connected to a TV was replaced by the Apple TV shortly thereafter. The future is bright, but vague, for Apple's once-hobby. What's come before, and what's yet to come?
Trade-up program for older iPhones expected to kick off March 31
According to reports, Apple is set to launch an iPhone trade-in program in China on March 31, joining several existing programs in other countries around the world, including the US, Canada, the Netherlands, and a number of European countries, among others. Users will be able to bring in older iPhone and trade it in for store credit towards a newer model. The program has been shown to boost sales.
Apple TV gains three additional channels amid talk of fall revamp
On Tuesday, Apple added three channels to its ever-expanding Apple TV lineup, bringing Young Hollywood, Tastemade, and TED to current-generation (black) Apple TV boxes. The TED app channel brings access to over 2,000 lectures and performances, with existing TED members able to sign in and sync viewing and watch lists across devices, as well as bringing the personalized "lean back" autoplay feature to the Apple TV.
Disrupting industries is the new black, great apps and fair app prices, bad jokes
The MacNN Podcast episode seven is now available, and this week we looked at the rumor that Apple is preparing to revamp the Apple TV and sweeten the pot with an optional package of channel offerings that don't require a cable subscription; Google's entry into the MVNO space; the recent Microsoft announcements about Windows 10; Facebook getting into inter-site payments; the return of Launcher to the App Store, and the removal of so-called "anti-virus" iOS apps; our latest "Living With" column; and our favorite apps of the week.
Will be able to run selected iOS apps, offer storage, HomeKit support, more
Citing unnamed "sources familiar with the company's plans," a new report claims that Apple's long-awaited Apple TV revamp is finally about to appear, with the company allegedly planning to show off the new device at the Worldwide Developer's Conference this June. According to the report, the set-top box would see an increase of storage, its own dedicated App Store and SDK, a revised interface, and more.
new lower prices
At Apple's online store today, find new reduced prices on refurbished iPods, Macs and accessories. The refurbished Apple TV is now only $59, since a brand new model has been dropped to $69. With the drop in price on brand new iPod touch models (from $199), Apple has also slashed prices on reconditioned models, with the 16GB configuration now only $149.
Our staff weighs in on the highs, lows and 'what the?' moments
Today's "Spring Forward" event in San Francisco lived up to the hype, generally, with strong performances from the Apple executive team, richer demonstrations of the Apple Watch and more importantly, the diversity of apps that will be available for it, and a somewhat-surprising return of the MacBook consumer notebook, which is likely to displace the MacBook Air in time. Apple also brought out the unexpected ResearchKit, and cut the price of the Apple TV. We asked some of our staff for their thoughts.
HBO streaming service heading to Apple devices for $15 per month
HBO has unveiled its new streaming service during Apple's Spring Forward Event, one rumored for a long time but resurfacing just last week. The exclusive service, launching soon, will be accompanied by a price cut for the Apple TV, with the streaming set-top box being cut from its $99 price down to a more-affordable $69.
Channel would not require existing cable or satellite subscription
According to a new report, Apple is in talks with movie and original program service HBO to bring its streaming service, called "HBO Now," to Apple TV as a standalone subscription service that does not require an existing cable or satellite connection. The deal, if it goes through, would bring some flexibility to users who would like HBO programming, but don't want to pay for a higher-priced bundle that cable companies often force on customers. The service might launch in time for the Game of Thrones premiere on April 12.
Problem limited to third generation models, software reinstall doesn't help
A support thread opened on the Apple Community Support forum notes that an Apple TV third-generation model will repeatedly hit a wired network with Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) network IP address request broadcasts, seeking an IP address, regardless if it has one or not. MacNN has witnessed this behavior with several Apple TV version 3 units (but not all that we tested), and also confirmed a pair of workarounds for the situation.
Analyst famous for Apple television prediction changes mind for 2015
Apple pundit and Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has changed tack from his normal annual predictions of an Apple-branded television set for this year, and now believes that a refreshed Apple TV will be seen in the fall 2015 product refresh. While he still believes an Apple television is inevitable, a revamped and upgraded fourth generation Apple TV will bridge the gap between a set top, and a full set, he has told clients.
Stream any video, from nearly any original source, to your Apple TV
One of the very handiest things about Apple TV is that with it, you can use your television to watch any video on your Macs -- except you really can't, if you operate outside Apple's garden at all. If that video is in iTunes by hook or by crook, you're all set. If it isn't -- and we know you have some that isn't -- then you need to buy Silver Screen: it will stream any video, of just about any format, to your TV.
Provides highlights, replays from various leagues
Apple has silently added another channel to the Apple TV, 120 Sports. The network is backed by Sports Illustrated, and covers leagues such as the NHL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR, and NCAA. On the Apple TV, users can browse through Dashboard, Timeline, and Catch-Up sections. Timeline lets users watch a live stream and videos in reverse chronological order, whereas Catch-Up is a curated collection of clips related to trending topics.
Wide compatibility with third-party equipment; no Wi-Fi bridging
Apple on Thursday clarified its guidelines on its HomeKit home automation platform and its ability to "play well with others" in terms of third-party automation products and their own connectivity platforms. The iPhone maker will allow HomeKit products to be compatible with some competing protocols such as Zigbee or Z-Wave, but there are limits to the compatibility allowed. In addition to requiring an Apple TV for outside-the-local-network remote appliance control through Siri, the unit can act as a bridge to third-party devices.
Direct app controls unrestricted
People wanting to control HomeKit-enabled devices remotely through Apple's Siri must have an Apple TV at home to serve as a hub, according to Verge sources, including two launch partners and a person said to be "close to HomeKit's development." Siri controls will always work while an iPhone or iPad is on the same network as a HomeKit device, but until now it wasn't fully clear how remote operation might work. The Apple TV must also be a third-generation model running at least v7.0 firmware or newer. Notably, remote operation without Siri -- using the vendor app for a HomeKit product directly - cuts out the Apple TV requirement.
Platforms include iOS, Apple TV, Android, Windows
DirecTV has announced a partnership with Fox Networks, giving subscribers to the satellite-based TV service access to all the content in the Fox Now, FXNow, and Nat Geo TV apps on multiple platforms. This includes iOS, Apple TV, Android, and Windows devices. In effect, the change means that the apps have simply added DirecTV as a service authentication option, joining other TV providers such as cable operators.
New content delayed without verified cable subscription
Users of the Watch ABC app on the Apple TV set-top box can now watch full episodes a week after they air without a subscription, ABC has announced. Previously the app was like most network-based offerings on Apple TV, limiting that content to people who could authenticate a cable subscription. Watching the latest episodes as soon as they're uploaded (next-day) still requires authentication, as does the live feed available in select cities.
YouTube app brought up to parity with other platforms
The Apple TV has received several new app updates. The most important of these may be a revamped YouTube app, bringing its features closer to par with other platforms. Search results are now displayed while typing, for instance, and users can subscribe to a channel directly, instead of having to use the desktop website or a mobile app. The Apple TV app has also brought in recommendations based on viewing history.
refurbished Macs from $769 and iPads from $309
Today at Apple's online store, save on refurbished Macs as low as $769 and iPads from $309. The refurbished 11.6-inch MacBook Air with a 1.4GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of solid state storage is available for $769 after a $130 discount. Priced at $309, after a $70 discount, is the refurbished iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular for AT&T and 16GB of storage.
MacBook Air, Apple TV, AirPort Extreme
Today's deal of the day from MacMall.com is on the 13.3-inch MacBook Air, which has been reduced from $999 down to $899. That $100 discount makes this the lowest price we have seen on this configuration by about $50. This MacBook Air features a 1.4GHz Intel (Haswell) dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage. It is backed by Apple's one-year limited warranty on parts and labor.
Yosemite update fixes serious Wi-Fi issues
Apple has released simultaneous updates for OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. OS X 10.10.1 for Mac copes mainly with significant bugs, such as a glitch with Wi-Fi that would cause a system to repeatedly disconnect. It also solves problems with sending Mail messages, displayed updates at the Mac App Store, Mac minis not waking from sleep, and disappearing items like Actions, sharing services, and Notification Center widgets.
Also includes on-demand material from shows like 60 Minutes
The Apple TV has been quietly updated with another new app channel, CBS News. The app is entirely free, and in fact features CBSN, a newly-launched streaming service. CBSN coverage is live, and anchored between 9AM and 12AM Eastern time every weekday; in the event of special reports or breaking news, it will offer simulcasts with CBS News itself. The service is ad-supported in the form of commercials between segments, and should pull in material from CBS-owned sources such as CNet and Entertainment Tonight.
Feeln comes tied to monthly or annual subscription
Two new channels have been silently added to the Apple TV. The first of this is A&E's FYI, formerly known as Biography and rebranded in July. Most of the network's content is reality TV programming such as Tiny House Nation and Best in Bridal. On the Apple TV some videos are free, but full access requires authenticating with a cable provider.
Listings for Apple TV, Philips television packages in India spotted
Philips has started to offer a new range of televisions in India, with the sets being made available bundled with the Apple TV. The collection, which will start from Rs 29,990 ($490) for the base model, will apparently include the Apple set-top box to provide smart TV functionality, as Philips attempts to cash in on holiday season sales in the country.
Offerings advance beyond sports
UK TV network Sky has expanded its Now TV offerings on the Apple TV to include its Entertainment and Movies packages, according to an announcement. The app's user interface is largely the same -- including New In, Most Popular, and Must See categories -- but now extends beyond sports, and has adopted a "flat" look to match the Apple TV's new iOS 8-style aesthetics. The Now TV iOS app has offered a wider range of content for some time.
Simpsons World yet to go live
Apple has silently updated the Apple TV with an expected FX Now app channel. The app offers on-demand streaming of content from FX, FXX, and FXM, featuring shows such as American Horror Story and Sons of Anarchy. Viewers must, however, authenticate a cable subscription from a provider such as AT&T U-Verse, Bright House, Comcast Xfinity, Cox, or Time Warner Cable to utilize the Apple TV channel.
CEO hints at still greater uses
People will be able to use the Apple Watch as a remote for their Apple TV, Apple CEO Tim Cook mentions in the full-length version of a recent Bloomberg interview. "I love operating my Apple TV from the watch. I don't have to worry anymore about the remote falling through the cushions of the sofa," he joked. The interviewer notes that the public has yet to see the matching app. "There's -- I don't think we showed this," Cook responds. "I've got a little advance copy. And so it will operate your Apple TV, and you can imagine that it can control other things as well."
Set-top could serve as hub for smarthome platform
The latest Apple TV firmware also includes support for HomeKit, the home automation platform built into iOS 8, a source for Forbes notes. Apple hasn't promoted the fact, and the source suggests this is because there's little reason to do so until other peripherals support it. While HomeKit is available as a platform, and partners like Honeywell and Philips have been announced, certified products haven't begun reaching stores.
Will eventually support iCloud Photo Library
Accompanying iOS 8 today is updated firmware for the Apple TV. Immediately visible are new cosmetic touches, namely thinner fonts and "flatter" app icons. It also includes some feature additions, such as a Beats Music channel, making it possible to listen to the subscription service Apple acquired earlier this year.
Includes Apple TV, Chromecast
Netflix has expanded into Germany, according to an announcement by the streaming video service. Plans start at €8 per month ($10.37 US) for basic SD streaming. Two simultaneous devices plus HD quality is €9 ($11.66), while four simultaneous devices with Ultra HD (when available) is €12 ($15.55). As elsewhere, each account can have up to four profiles, which can be age-restricted if need be.
Regular Apple event prep underway
The online Apple store has gone down temporarily, ahead of today's press event. Apple regularly takes the store offline just before an event, so that product pages can be put in place without spoiling announcements. Typically, the store only returns after the event is completely finished.
new channels on Apple TV and more
With the long holiday weekend, and kids heading back-to-school, the last few days have been rather quiet in the MacNN forums. Forum members continue to discuss price differences between SSDs and HDDs in the thread titled "Hard Drive Ripoffs" started by "reader50" late last week. Moderator "P" noticed new Apple TV channels appearing in Sweden, and wonders if there have been more channels added in other regions as well.
Famed tenor Placido Domingo to close out month-long concert series
The iTunes Festival is now underway in London, having kicked off the first night of the month-long concert series with headliner Deadmau5 and opening acts Friends Within and Kate Simko & the London Electronic Orchestra. Performances are streamed live through the official iOS app, iTunes on the Mac or Windows, or via the dedicated Apple TV channel, with selected acts available for repeat or later viewing.
Hard Drive ripoffs, new Apple TV channels and more
This week in the MacNN forums, Administrator "reader50" started a conversation about hard drive prices after making an observation about how generic hard drive prices haven't dropped in price the way they should have over the last 4 years. Yesterday Junior Member "anselm" had a few questions about using FileVault in OS X 10.9.
Watch ABC app for iOS updated, adds AirPlay and Chromecast support
American television network ABC has updated its content streaming app for iOS. Watch ABC allows its users to view the network's shows, sports content, news and weather reports on demand - so long as a participating cable TV provider account is used to sign in to the service. Live video content is available in Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles and other major cities, subject to the participating TV provider as well. Watch ABC v3.4.0 now includes the ability to stream content with AirPlay, via Apple TV, and as well by using Chromecast via Google Chromecast. Watch ABC for iOS is free to download, and requires iOS 5.0 or later to run.
Live streaming locked to authenticated subscription
In addition to an updated iTunes Festival app, the Apple TV has also been refreshed with Showtime Anytime, an app for the Showtime TV network. While some episodes are available on-demand for free, full use of the app -- including live streaming -- requires authenticating a subscription with compatible providers. That list includes AT&T U-Verse, Bright House, Comcast Xfinity, Cox, DirecTV, Optimum, Time Warner, Verizon FiOS, and a number of regional firms.
Empty stocks linked to $25 iTunes cards
The Apple TV is showing as "unavailable for pickup" at many Apple Stores across the US, including the most high-profile ones in California, Texas, and New York. The absent stocks are reportedly being blamed on the ongoing $25 iTunes card bundle. Sales may also be influenced by a recent Lollapalooza livestream, and Apple's forthcoming coverage of iTunes Festival London.
Includes access to personalized streams
Nearly two weeks after its announcement on August 7, the NFL Now Apple TV app has finally gone live. Functionally, the app is similar to its iOS counterpart, providing a certain amount of free content, while moving other material -- such as game highlights and NFL Films specials -- behind a paywall. The NFL is promising to add 105 hours of original content per week.
Likely attempt to revive sales
In tandem with the upcoming iTunes Festival in London, Apple has announced a promotion that will get buyers of new Apple TVs a $25 iTunes gift card. The deal runs through September 30th, the end of the festival. The card can be used to buy apps, music, movies, TV shows, and books.