New Apple TV Tidbits: Limited App Discovery, User Guide, Amazon Pulls Apple …

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amazon removes all Apple TV, Chromecast listings from its website.

These tech giants are every bit as phenomenal as the fabled University of Michigan basketball team from the early 1990s. (I miss the baggy, yellow shorts and black socks!) If Amazon passes GE, it will become the sixth most valuable company. Apple opened up preorders for the fourth-generation Apple TV on Monday, but didn’t say when the 32GB and 64GB models would be available to buy in-store.

LOS ANGELES: Amazon has followed through on its plans to go nuclear on its competitors: The company removed all listings of Apple’s Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast streaming adapter from its website.That’s the consensus among reviewers this week as the newly upgraded set-top box — seen by Wall Street analysts as a big bet on the living room — prepares to hit stores Friday. It’s unclear why the company didn’t announce a date, given that they probably want to sell a lot of products, but now it’s official: New Apple TVs are on Apple Store shelves starting right now. After many years of speculation, Apple has finally released an Apple TV that can connect to an app store and run third-party apps, rather than the more limited Apple-supplied content channels that have been on the Apple TV since its very first generation.

Chen of The New York Times seemed especially surprised by how much he liked it–many of them noted that Apple faces some stiff competition in this market. The company confirmed the decision to stop selling both devices when contacted by Variety, sending a statement that read in part: “It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion.” Blaming missing support for Amazon video on Google and Apple is somewhat misleading: Chromecast has long had an open SDK, allowing any publisher to add casting to their mobile apps.

A bigger selling point for many is the slick new remote control, which Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook hailed as “revolutionary.” It does a pretty good job acting on Siri voice commands like “Show ’80s romantic comedies,” writes Geoffrey Fowler of the Wall Street Journal. It’s much more likely that the real reason for the removal has to do with backroom business: Amazon has long feuded with Google over Android and Google’s app store rules, and the e-commerce giant may balk at Apple’s revenue sharing demands.

In another bonus, the new remote has a touchpad like a MacBook, eliminating the need for a bulky monstrosity that carries dozens of buttons and arrow keys. Nevertheless, users will frequently still have to use this fancy remote to hunt and peck, one letter at a time, through an on-screen keyboard to find movies. “It’s excruciating,” gripes Yahoo’s David Pogue, blasting an “absurdly designed layout” for the on-screen keyboard that puts all 26 letters of the alphabet on a single line.

It’s possible – especially if oil prices don’t improve soon and Buffett’s investment portfolio – loaded with market dogs like IBM, American Express, Procter & Gamble, and Walmart – continues to lag the broader market. Elsewhere, some reviewers were disappointed that the Siri commands only worked with a few key apps, and that its handy search capabilities aren’t available for YouTube or broadcast channels like NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS. Amazon’s approach with the Fire TV Stick was to boil the contents of the regular Fire TV down into a small USB-powered HDMI stick, like the Chromecast, that you can plug directly into your TV and power via USB.

That’s particularly unfortunate, according to Yahoo’s Pogue, as Amazon’s video service “is looking like it’s going to be the new Netflix, now that Netflix is de-emphasizing movie acquisition.” It’s hard for me to imagine Apple releasing a brand-new TV device that would struggle to play higher-end games, but the current $69 model doesn’t run any apps at all, so it would still be a step up. Deal.) Still, there is no denying that Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook are among the five most important companies for many businesses and consumers. Beyond running apps, such a product would also have another major feature: It would be a small, unobtrusive device to bring AirPlay support to any TV set.

And then consider that those apps could also be used to transform TVs throughout an office into status boards (at IDG I velcroed iPads to the back of TV sets so we could run Panic’s Status Board app). It might also be nice to see an update or addition to the $99 AirPort Express that does what Google’s $35 Chromecast Audio does–supply audio via AirPlay to an external speaker or other output device. I’ve got a bunch of Bluetooth adapters that sort of do this, but I’ve found using them to be unreliable, and of course, they require that you stay relatively close for the connection to remain intact. I find myself connecting my iPhone to speakers by the good ol’ headphone jack in most cases, which is dumb (and forces me to be next to the speaker to play anything, and give up the use of my iPhone if I’m not sitting right there). Once Apple can make a new Apple TV at a lower price, it will. (It might take a year or two.) The only question is, will that be a price cut to the existing $149 model, or a newer model that’s been engineered to be cheaper and hold down the bottom of the product family?

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