Peter Kafka

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Apple Won’t Introduce New Apple TV Box Next Week, Will Upgrade Software

apple tv updateThere are very, very good odds you’re going to hear about new iPhones at Apple’s event next Tuesday.

But if you’re looking for a new Apple TV, you’re going to be disappointed.

Despite speculation about new Apple TV hardware on the way, Apple won’t be unveiling any new boxes next week, according to people familiar with the company’s plans.

That said, the company will be tweaking the software inside its Web TV box. Apple has already said that it will be bringing its new iTunes Radio service to Apple TV. And it has been adding new content partners, including Disney and HBO, throughout the summer.

Expect to hear about more changes next week.

Sources said that one new feature in the works will let people who’ve bought content from Apple play that stuff on other users’ Apple TVs, via Apple’s Airplay system and Apple’s server. So if you bought a TV show or movie from Apple’s iTunes store, you could watch it at a friend’s house by calling it up on your iPhone and telling your friend’s Apple TV to start streaming it. (The files wouldn’t need to be stored on your iPhone or iPad)

You could have previously accomplished this by getting your friend to log out of their Apple TV box and then logging in with your own credentials. But that’s awfully cumbersome — particularly with Apple’s minimalist Apple TV remote. And you can already do a variation on this, though not as elegantly, with some Apple TV apps like HBO Go.

But if this makes it that much easier to watch “Pain and Gain” with your pals, then that’s a good thing. And if that makes you less inclined to buy a $35 Google Chromecast and treat that as your Web TV device, then that’s good for Apple.

No comment from Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus