Close on the heels of iOS 5.1.1’s arrival on Monday, the second and third generation black Apple TV models finally got their own taste of the modest software update on Thursday night with Apple TV Software Update 5.0.1.
The new Apple TV looks exactly like the previous version: same small black box. It’s got the same inputs and outputs on the back: AC power, HDMI output, micro-USB for service only, optical audio output, 10/100 Ethernet. It’s just as easy to set up: simply sign in to your Wi-Fi account and use the remote (or better yet, the free Remote app on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch) to navigate around.
Just because your music and videos are on your Mac or iOS device doesn’t mean it has to be stuck there. Thanks to AirPlay, a feature built into iTunes on the Mac and in many iOS apps, you can use your Apple TV ($99, apple.com) to stream media straight to your TV. The Apple TV connects to your TV with an HDMI cable, and you can optionally connect it to a stereo with an optical audio cable. Or you can use an AirPort Express ($99), which has a 3.5mm audio output, to stream music from your Mac or iOS device to a stereo or powered speakers.
Everyone's been noticing an uptick in their app updates now that the big new iPad Retina Display is here. While you were busy tapping over and over that yes, you were aware other browsers would let you view adult content, a bunch of other things were going on and we nabbed some of them jsut for you. Aren't we sweet?
The more we play with the Apple TV, and the more Apple updates it with new features and new software, the more we like it. But the problem is that unless you've got at least one Mac or iOS device, it's simply not something you'd want to buy. This latest version is a perfect example of that. New 1080p features and a new interface will be enough to attract Apple fans, but for anyone else there are simply better, cheaper options out there. Still though, we've enjoyed our time with it and it's been fun to test it alongside some of Panasonic and Sharp's 2012 TVs this week.
The Sharp in particular offers stunning value for money – so if you're looking for a great home cinema TV on a budget, be sure to check out the review after the cut!
We may be Apple fans, but we can still appreciate when competitors bring their best game to the table. Microsoft and Nokia are betting the farm with the new AT&T-branded Lumia 900, which the carrier seems to think will have a bigger launch than even the iPhone. We’re hoping that’s a misquote, but we won’t have long to wait -- the Lumia 900 will hits stores on April 8. Since you’re sitting at home plotting which AT&T store will have the shortest lines on that day, why not catch up on the day’s news for Wednesday, March 28, 2012…?
Until Apple releases its secret-but-we-all-know-it's-coming, Siri-powered, high-definition television set that will change the face of the industry forever (okay, so we're hoping this is what's coming), we'll have to settle for Cupertino's "hobby" if we want to stream our movies and photos to a screen larger than 27-inches. But while Apple TV has made great strides since it launched alongside the iPhone, it still has a long way to go if it wants to become a major player in the booming set-top box market.
It's not often that Apple can learn from its competitors, but sometimes it seems that Apple is purposefully holding back Apple TV features for something bigger and better. If you're not totally tied down to the iTunes ecosystem, there are worthy third-party alternatives. Here's a few that we've reviewed that are highly worth it in our book.
Apple might insist on calling it a hobby, but the new Apple TV's near-instantaneous shipping delays suggest that the market for streaming set-top boxes is bigger than Tim Cook wants us to believe. It's so big, in fact, that there's a quiet war brewing between top manufacturers, with each of them offering a similarly sized box that effortlessly streams all of your music, movies, and photos right to your television.
I was a little surprised to see this guy waiting for me on my desk this morning. Anyway, here it is! The new Apple TV! It looks...exactly like its predecessor. Even the ports on the back are the same. But it's what on the inside that counts, right?