The Carter Crater: Too Many Prospectors at the Apple TV Gold Rush?

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple’s Cook says Android users bolting to iPhoneThe Galaxy on Fire series has kept iOS space shooter fans entertained over the years, but for the Apple TV release, Fishlabs decided to do something different.So here’s a wild one: Apple is experimenting with giving people $50 discounts on Apple Watches if they buy one at the same time as a new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus.Apple this week started selling its new streaming video box, another piece of hardware that connects to your TV set with the sometimes-undelivered promise of making cable unnecessary.

Friends looked sympathetic, employers impatient, their IT staff grimly predicting your forced switch to the Windows nemesis, an inevitability as sure as a wet Glasgow summer. They’re only running the promo in a handful of stores in California (Burlingame, Chestnut Street, Corte Madera, Hillsdale, SF, Stonestown) and Massachusetts (Boylston Street, Burlington, Cambridge Side, Chestnut Hill) — not online. Apple’s newest set-top box arrived in stores—and on the doorsteps of those who preordered—on Friday, and once you rip open the box, setup is pretty simple, although far from painless. Executives at the Cupertino tech giant have said that tvOS, the new operating system for Apple TV, is “95 percent” of the same core framework as iOS, so that apps being built for the different platforms will stay in sync across different devices as they’re updated. And while games of this sort can be complex on consoles, Manticore Rising is designed around the Siri Remote with an auto-firing ship, which means you get a reasonably full-fledged experience without needing a gamepad.

Speaking during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call Tuesday Cook said that 30 percent of iPhone purchasers during the period switched from an Android device. It’s an interesting direction for Apple, which for years insisted calling the apps on its TV box “channels.” All of the standard video streaming apps are there on the new Apple TV, such as iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, and HBO. That kind of claim is fuel for debate – to put it mildly – but so far analysts don’t seem to be disputing it. “With a record-breaking 13 million iPhone 6s and 6s Plus units shipped during launch week, the two new models continue to capture upgraders and Android converts alike in many key markets such as China and the United States,” wrote market researcher IDC in a release this week. “It’s not too surprising, given the popularity of the phablet-sized 6S Plus,” IDC Analyst Ramon Llamas told via email. “And now we are at the point where the [iPhone 6] has reached its second generation version and appeals to those who decided to wait out the first gen version 6 Plus. But the more interesting Apple TV apps might just be the ones you don’t expect — the casual games, the commerce apps, even interactive weather apps. And, in fact, it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to push back on Cook’s argument if you glance at the most recent preliminary third-quarter figures released by IDC this week.

Booking an Airbnb almost always involves sending links to other people so they can check out the options you’re considering (unless you’re traveling solo). It is still essentially unknown in the U.S. market, though that is likely to change soon. “The recent launch of the new premium Nexus 6P device could signal that Huawei is finally ready to seriously compete in the U.S.” IDC said in its report this week. But it didn’t work for me at the office—the network I’m using has WPA2 Enterprise security, which requires me to log in with a username and a password, not just a password. The app offers an easy login, using an activation code on the web rather than entering in your credentials using the remote, and shows big, gorgeous photos of vacation rentals. Entering usernames and passwords with a remote is a pain in the butt, so you might be tempted to grab a Bluetooth keyboard, or launch the Remote app on your iOS device, to input this text like a gentlemen.

And, this is one of those apps where Siri isn’t especially useful: I searched for “Vancouver” using Siri while in the Airbnb app and was told that was beyond her capabilities right now. The idea of watching live, first-person POV videos on Apple TV will sound either incredibly mundane or very exciting, depending on how you feel about Periscope (or about vertical video on a large screen). An information overlay pops up from the bottom of the screen showing the exact location and details on the listing, as well as its listed price and estimated mortgage. If you’re looking for signs of a bubble, you can even scroll down with your Apple TV remote and take a look at the 10-year “Zestimate” of real estate prices in Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, you can’t buy stuff through the Zillow app, but were you really going to buy that $9.6 million dollar home with a $36,000 per month mortgage payment, anyway? (And would Apple still take its 30 percent revenue cut?) If Zillow is about real estate porn, Houzz serves the same purpose for interior design and renovations.

But you’re not just driving one car; the game layers each of your drives on top of one another, so that the second car you’re driving is fighting for the road against the first car you drove, and so on. Storehouse launched as a notably beautiful iOS app for creating visual narratives, complete with social network features that made it feel like a mobile-only version of Medium. To search with Siri, all you have to do is hold down the microphone button on the Siri Remote.) So to really get started, you’ll want to grab some apps.

From there you’ll see the current temperature, chances of precipitation, UV index, humidity, and visibility, along with a short-term weather reading, an hourly forecast and a daily glance, all by swiping on the touchpad remote. If you already have a subscription you purchased within that service’s iOS app (which you shouldn’t do anyway, since you’re likely paying more than if you had just subscribed in a web browser), you can click Restore Purchases and you won’t have to sign in. And luckily, when it’s time to enter your email address, there’s a Recent list with shortcuts to the email addresses/logins you’ve already entered—that’s really handy. The Yummly app shows various cuisines, courses, and dishes on the left-hand side of the app screen, with perfectly staged food photographs in a grid on the right.

Oddly, though, the app’s right-side menu was cut off on my TV screen, and so far I haven’t found a way to view a full recipe — just the list of ingredients. If you put apps in the top row of icons, the marquee row along the top will show you a preview of content inside those apps. (In the old generations of Apple TV, that top row was off limits.) For example, I put Netflix up there and saw popular Netflix items like Orange Is the New Black and Family Guy. You might want to take a quick tour through the Settings app, especially if you want to enable Restrictions, say, to disallow purchases or rentals from iTunes, or in-app purchases, or Explicit music or podcasts, or R-rated movies and M-rated TV shows.

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