In the aftermath of the recent Apple Live event, in which the cult of Cupertino unveiled the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Apple Watch, and new features like Apple Pay, the Apple TV faithful were once again left in the lurch, with no mention of a new device in sight. However, with today’s release of iOS 8, a surrogate gift was offered up for third-generation Apple TV owners, in the form of a revamped beta interface, new photo and sharing features, and a new Beats Music app.
It’s not surprising to see Beats Music show up on the latest Apple TV, considering Apple recently threw down $3 billion for the entire Beats Electronics family. The new Beats Music channel should make a nice addition to the device’s stable of apps, especially for those with a decent home-theater system to listen through.
The inclusion is relatively significant, since its really the first major assimilation of Apple’s newly acquired suite of Beats products and software. We had hoped to see a pair of Beats headphones show up as a pairing with the iPhone 6, but seeing that Apple didn’t formally welcome Beats “to the family” until August, it makes sense that the new iPhones will again carry the critically-maligned Earpods. The addition of Beats Music on the Apple TV is likely the first of many steps towards Beats integration as Apple tries out its new toys.
Perhaps even more significant is the upgrade to the Apple TV’s interface. First reported by 9to5 Mac, the new design flattens the app icons and thins out the text to line up with the look and feel of iOS. According to the report, the upgrade also brings support for iOS 8’s iCloud Photo Library, as well as Family Sharing, which allows multiple Apple ID accounts to share a single credit card for iTunes purchases.
Today’s upgrades are a bit of a Band-Aid fix for Apple’s aging streaming device, which was released back in March of 2012 — eons ago in tech time. If the rumors are to be believed, we won’t see a new Apple TV until well into 2015. That’s a long way to wait for those shopping the latest in streaming technology, especially considering the expansion of the competition.
Fighting Amazon’s speedy Fire TV, the latest Roku devices and the new Roku TV smart platform, a swelling of apps for Google’s Chromecast, and a host of lesser known competing devices, the Apple TV swims in deep waters. Apple is no doubt hoping the latest upgrades will satiate the streaming masses until a new Apple TV finally makes its way out of the shadows, and into the living room.