With this update, Apple’s days of neglecting the Apple TV seem to be over.
Apple just rolled out the sixth major version of the set-top box’s software today, which brings with it some long-awaited features like iTunes Radio support, direct access to the iTunes Music Store, and a helpful new feature dubbed Airplay from iCloud, reports 9to5 Mac.
The latter feature resembles Google’s recently released Chromecast gadget — it streams content directly to your Apple TV, rather than first streaming it to your iPhone or iPad and then pushing it to the Apple TV via AirPlay. The feature makes for a more efficient use of bandwidth, and your iOS device also won’t be stuck with the streaming workload, which means it should still be capable of doing more advanced things like playing games.
We expect the announcement of an entirely new Apple TV within the next few weeks. The Apple TV on the market right now is Apple’s third-generation device, which first debuted in March 2012 and received a minor update this year for additional security.
The Apple TV update comes two days after Apple released iOS 7, its latest mobile operating system, as well as a new version of iTunes. With Apple’s streaming music service iTunes Radio being one of the bigger features of those two updates, it’s not too surprising to see it pop up on the Apple TV today.
Among other updates, the Apple TV can now access your iCloud Photos and Videos as well as synchronize podcast subscriptions across all of your iOS devices. Apple has also opened the floodgates for new third-party channels over the last few weeks, with new offerings from Vevo, The Discovery Channel, and more.
It’s been more than six years since Apple first launched the Apple TV, and only now is it coming into its own. Apple seemingly ignored the device for its first few years on the market (to be fair, it was busy launching a phenomenon in the iPhone), and other set-top box makers like Roku were quick to capitalize on that with cheaper prices and more content.
Now, as Apple prepares to launch the next Apple TV, it’s in a better position than ever before in the living room. For once, the Apple TV no longer seems like a hobby (something that Steve Jobs called the device back in 2010).