I love my current Apple TV, and now Apple has announced its follow-up.
It looks the same. It feels the same. It IS the same … well, not quite.
Only notable changes are switching from a single-core A4 processor to a single-core A5 processor and the ability to output 1080p to the television. Of course, those two are related.
The A5, even with just a single-core, allows the Apple TV to now decode 1080p content and output it to the television. The 2nd generation Apple TV (the one I have) was only able to do the same for 720p content. So …
Apple has announced that movies and TV available on iTunes will now be available in 1080p (for free) for those who have purchased the old 720p versions. They are still updating all of their offerings (and some will be delayed because of other content and licensing deals), but that is good news.
iTunes in the Cloud
Apple also announced an expansion of their cloud offering by moving movies into the cloud as well. Now you can download (again) the movies you have purchased in the past. I believe you can also purchase new movies from your Apple TV without the need to work with iTunes on your Mac or PC. All good news.
There is also the iTunes Digital Copy as well, which will allow you to stream movies that you bought in the store. It is kind of like iTunes Match for Movies. Also, more good news.
The Apple TV (2nd generation) and the new Apple TV also get a complete refresh of the UI and software. It is far more “app like” and puts pretty much everything on equal footing. So far I’ve updated my Apple TV and I like it a lot better than the last version. The fact that it came as a free update to your Apple TV is really cool and further cements that the Apple TV is far more like an iOS device than the old, first-gen Apple TV.
Another update thrown out was to the iOS Remote application. The main addition is that you have controls for your iTunes Match library right within the application. It is a HUGE update as far as convenience goes when choosing music you have stored with iTunes Match.
Other Things and Conclusion
It is interesting to note that the Apple TV was brought into the iPad event even if it makes a lot of sense. The content updates were needed for the new iPad, but the Apple TV needed a slight refresh in order to take advantage.
More and more of Apple’s outlook on the importance of iCloud is coming into view, which is fun to see. The devices are becoming endpoints for the data which is stored by Apple … which is really, really nice. I don’t need to have a computer with my iTunes library awake to play music, I just play the music through iTunes Match. I don’t need to have a computer awake to watch a movie, I just watch the movie through my Apple TV.
These are good things.
It will be interesting to see if the Apple TV gets a boost in sales by getting more exposure from the higher-profile iPad event. Another thing to think about.
Also, thank goodness there was no Apple TV Set.