Archives For Apple

Unboxing the new Apple TV

Dave Zatz —  September 13, 2015

You getting the NEW Apple TV?

Dave Zatz —  September 10, 2015

As expected, a NEW Apple TV has been unveiled … clocking in at a comparatively hefty $149-199. Yet, with brand recognition and that shiny, shimmery interface, they’ll surely move many when they go on sale next month.

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Apple TV highlights include the redesigned remote, featuring a glass covered gesture area and Siri voice control, along with what appears to be a full-fledged App Store.

Neither of these features are unique to aTV, but Apple has more reach than most and the Siri interactions go well beyond Roku and Fire TV’s universal voice search in terms of opening apps, pulling up the weather, and natural language interaction (more akin to Xfinity, believe it or not). As to the newly introduced finger tip control, having directed my Fire TV, Xbox One, and even existing Apple TV via their respective gesture-based smart phone apps … I don’t particularly care for it, finding increased utility via discrete actions and tactile feedback. But Siri does look strong. Real strong. Continue Reading…

With announcement of the iPhone 6s just days away, it’s time for many of us to secure offers for our existing iDevices. And Gazelle is guaranteeing they will beat all-comers, including your existing carrier. My wife and I aren’t yet certain if we’ll be upgrading our smartphones (and/or replacing T-Mobile with Verizon), but we went ahead and locked in offers for my iPhone 5s ($171) and her iPhone 6 ($362), should we choose to ultimately pull the trigger.

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Continue Reading…

Word on the street is that Apple TV will gain Siri-powered “universal” search with a rumored new $149 model being unveiled next week. Which would be quite curious if they also deliver a more open app platform as, suddenly, Apple iTunes video could compete directly against the likes of Amazon and Vudu. Presumably, should both come to pass, Apple would be content to take a cut of app sales (as seen on mobile) to offset the video losses.

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Of course, others like Roku and Fire TV, have long featured universal search, with TiVo leading the pack — as both live and upcoming television programming are indexed, along with the ability to create a OnePass playlist from disparate sources. Apple’s search functionality would gain additional utility should their rumored streaming TV service launch… with live programming and hopefully an on demand library.

As the story goes, Apple is supposedly working on a streaming television service – perhaps something akin to DISH’s Sling TV or more likely Sony’s Playstation Vue, given rumors of local affiliates. Yet, the rumored service is now rumored to be delayed,

Without enough content deals in place, Apple has scrapped plans to announce the service at a Sept. 9 event in San Francisco, which would have coincided with the beginning of the new network TV season, the people said. The main stumbling block is the price of content. Just as Apple once convinced music labels to sell songs for a lowly 99 cents, it wants to offer a package of popular channels for $40 a month, the people said.

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The primary sticking point (rumored) appears to be securing favorable terms in regards into retransmission of the local affiliates like CBS and NBC. While it wouldn’t work for all households, given location or construction, the idea of an Apple TV with ATSC tuner and antenna to pull down those locals and commingle the content alongside a Sling-esque library could be an effective solution for many. Which, of course, wouldn’t have the elegance and simplicity of an online-only service. If anyone can pull this off, it’s Apple (or incumbent Comcast, but probably not Verizon). Continue Reading…

TiVo enables AirPlay for in-home streaming to Apple TV via iOS devices

Sonos CEO: ‘We would embrace Apple Music’

What if the smart devices around your home could all interact with each other, even if they were from different manufacturers or different systems? Say your front door sensor could trigger a light to turn on in the living room when you get home. Currently, to get this kind of interoperability, you either need to acquire all the components of the same system (like Insteon), or have one agnostic hub that tries to “talk” all the different languages of the smart home landscape (like Staples Connect, SmartThings, and the dreadful Wink).

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What if there was another way? What if each of your home devices could speak the same langauge independent of manufacturer? An Elgato door sensor that opens when you get home could tell an Ecobee thermostat to turn house temp to 72 degrees. Or turning off a specific Lutron light switch in the bedroom could tell the August front door to lock?  That’s the promise of Apple’s HomeKit.

Much has been written already about HomeKit. But now that Apple is officially allowing vendors to start selling devices, we are finally starting to get a better understanding of what can and can’t be done with HomeKit. At first, my thought was that the iPhone now becomes the “hub” to control the devices of your home, but that was the wrong way to think about HomeKit.   HomeKit is much more far reaching. Continue Reading…