Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

That Apple TV Refresh Is Coming Next Week

apple_tv_cookNope, Apple didn’t show off new Apple TV hardware yesterday.

And Apple didn’t talk about new software for its Web video box, either. But it’s still coming.

People familiar with the company’s plans said that Apple TV is scheduled for an internal overhaul on Sept. 18, the same day Apple releases its iOS 7 mobile operating software.

The one new feature I’m aware of is a tweak to Apple’s AirPlay system. I didn’t do a great job of explaining this before, so here’s another stab: The new software will allow people who have purchased content from Apple’s iTunes store to play that stuff on other people’s TVs, via its AirPlay system.

The key part is that they will be able to tell an Apple TV box they don’t own to stream the media they do own, directly from the cloud. That’s a change from the current system, which requires users to download stuff to their iPhones and iPads and fling it to the TV from there. It also echoes the way Google’s new Chromecast device works.

Hope that makes more sense.

I had thought Apple might have talked about this yesterday, but Tim Cook and company didn’t mention Apple TV in any way.

You might assume that this means they don’t think the software overhaul is significant. Or you might argue that they didn’t want to spend much time discussing anything besides their new phones. Note, for instance, that iTunes Radio, which is also in the works, didn’t get any stage time. (Correction: Thanks to several of you who pointed that iTunes Radio did in fact get a brief mention yesterday.)

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik