Apple regularly schedules a September event to unveil new iPods and other odds and ends in time for the holiday buying season. I think we can assume this year will be more of the same. What will we see and what won’t we see? I’m going to try to put some odds to the various rumors and possible announcements. Note that these are all just my opinion as a guy that watches what Apple does with a rather critical and overly obsessive eye.
New iPod Touch – odds: even money
It’s almost guaranteed we’ll see a new iPod Touch introduced. This, like the iPhone announcement in June, has become a regular event. The question is what are the features we’ll see? I’m hoping we will, as in past years, see feature plurality with the current generation iPhone. So we’ll hopefully see the Retina Display (odds: 2-1), front facing camera with Facetime capability (odds: 3-1), rear camera (odds: 5-1). I’m also wondering if we’ll see the storage capacity increased beyond 64GB (odds: 4-1). And will we see other iPod lines retired like the iPod Classic, perhaps (odds: 8-1)?
iOS 4.1 Officially Announced – odds: even
This is also a given. iOS 4.1 has been in beta for 9+ weeks now and it’s been over 3 weeks since the last beta release. Betas usually come out every 2 weeks. So I think we can guess that it’s done and ready to release. We can expect the release either next week on 9/1 or very shortly after. What features will it have? A fix for the proximity sensor (odds: even) and a Game Center release (odds: 3-1) are the best bets. There’s the possibility that the length of time since the last beta was due to Apple adding in a mystery feature or two (odds: 5-1), or maybe it has to do with….
iOS 4.1 on the iPad – odds: 8-1
While I can’t wait to get iOS 4 on the iPad, it won’t be for a couple more months. I’m hoping that we’ll at least get some details on iOS 4 for the iPad (odds: 4-1), but I won’t hold my breath for that. Features I’m hoping for include support for running iPhone 4 resolution apps (odds: 4-1) and dashboard / icon layout update that takes better advantage of the screen size (odds: 30-1).
Updated Apple TV / iTV – odds: 5-1
This is the big new announcement most are expecting and an update to the Apple TV has been a long time coming. But I think Apple still sees it as too small of a market. I could be way off base here, but I think it’s too early for this rumored update. Apple has had so many leak problems that we tend to know just about every detail of a new device before it’s launched. We haven’t seen anything about a new Apple TV other than a few persistent rumors. While this would be the perfect time to launch it, just before the holidays, I just think it’s too early. But, in case it will be announced, the rumored features are a $99 price tag (odds: 10-1), and iOS based system (odds: 3-2), and App Store support of some kind (odds: 3-2).
Verizon, the company that is rumored to get the iPhone onto their network in the not so distant future, has an app planned that will bring live TV to FiOS subscribing iPad users (FiOS, for those who don’t know (which included me until about an hour ago), is Verizon’s bundled home communications service which includes internet, TV, and phone). The live TV in the app will be a completely separate experience, letting the iPad work as an independent TV rather than an extension of another, a la Slingbox.
While the news is not quite as epic as a confirmed by Apple Verizon phone, the ability to stream live TV is something that iPad owners have been yearning for.
There is a major limitation though, as the service can only be used in your home due to Verizon’s need to authenticate users to send them the correct content. While it is unfortunate for the end user, it wouldn’t make sense for every user of the app to get every premium channel just for having it. The eventual goal is to provide a TV anywhere model, but there are apparently some kinks that need to be worked out.
Verizon is also planning a video on-demand store to be ready in Q4 2010 (which may or may not be before the release of the iPad app) that will let you stream rented and or paid for movies on the fly. Instead of making you store the content on-device though, the service saves the media onto a 70 GB HD in the clouds that is specifically dedicated to you. This capability allows users to watch the videos on whatever device they choose, from one of the TV’s connected to FiOS to a supported mobile device.
Verizon doesn’t have a set date for the apps arrival as they are waiting for all of the content partners to get on board, something that could be very difficult in today’s world where everyone is trying to make money in the App Store, but the “cloud TV” experience could be right around the corner. If you are one of the lucky 2.5 million FiOS TV customers, your TV on the iPad dreams could soon come true.
Elgato has announced that the 1.1 update to its EyeTV app now provides iPad compatibility for streaming TV wherever you are.
Now, before you get too excited, the EyeTV app does need Elgato’s EyeTV software and tuner as well as a Mac or PC in order to stream TV but. if you fulfill these requirements, today is a good day for you. An Elgato package isn’t that expensive either, with products starting around the $150 mark and taking advantage of the free digital video signals it catches.
Elgato is renowned for its EyeTV software that turns your computer into a digital TV and allows for recording live shows as well as scheduling using a small tuner that connect via USB. The EyeTV app for iPhone and now iPad allows users to view all of their recorded content as well as watch TV live on their device, taking advantage of the in-built TV guide. The app even allows you to set recordings on your home computer remotely.
At $5.99, the EyeTV app is a worthy investment for existing EyeTV users and will more than likely lure many new customers too.
Okay, so David Hasselhoff‘s airtime these days is a mixture of him singing rock songs in German and eating burgers off the floor in a drunken stupor, but we all remember his heyday, don’t we? No, not Baywatch, the cult classic that was Knight Rider. In a nutshell, the show followed the crime fighting escapades of Michael Knight and his kick-ass futuristic car with a voice that sounded like that old guy from Boy Meets World. Sadly, the last we heard from KITT (the car) and Michael Knight was way back in 1986 when the series ended – until now.
For those who loved the quality soundtrack, cheesy dialogue and completely impractical stunts, Knight Rider has returned as an iPhone game, available now on the App Store. In a nice touch, the developer hasn’t tried to bring the game into the same technical field as the iPhone (which is probably more advanced than any gadget found in the show) opting instead for the retro pixel art feel of 80s coin-op titles. Most of the game is spent driving the car in a top down view and there are plenty of powerups available that hark back to the TV series, clips of which can also be unlocked as you play.
If you enjoyed Knight Rider growing up or simply love the glory days of kids TV you’ll likely get the same goose bumps we did as the intro sequence and title music plays when you launch this app.
MobiTV has been around for years on other mobile platforms. And the technology behind it has powered the NCAA March Madness app the last two years and also the NBA and UFC video apps. But the MobiTV client, at least until now, hasn’t been available on the iPhone.
MobiTV is a streaming video application that let’s you watch both live TV and on-demand programming. For free, you can try out the app and stream the ABC News Now channel to test the speed and the picture quality.
With a monthly subscription to the MobiTV service, there’s a greater selection of channels you can watch such as MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, Disney Channel, ABC, CNBC, and Fox Business. You also get access to 30 channels of on-demand such as MTV shows, ABC, CBC, SyFy, NBC, etc. The service costs $9.99 per month with slight discounts for pre-purchasing multiple months either 3 or 6 month packages.
MobiTV is available in the App Store now and it’s free, but to really get anything out of it, you will need the subscription. Oddly, MobiTV hasn’t changed much since I first tried it out on my Palm Treo all those many years ago. The number of channels hasn’t grown, if anything, it’s shrunk a little. This, of course, limits is usefulness and makes the $10/month fee seem a little crazy.
i.TV announced today that their massive 2.0 update has been submitted to the iTunes App Store. This update includes a striking new feature that turns your iPhone or iPod Touch into a remote control. Initially the app will only support Tivo devices, but the framework is there to allow other remotes to be added. You can now view the TV listings and instantly switch to the channel it’s on, schedule it for recording by your DVR, or download it from iTunes.
This is on top of their already impressive feature list of this all-in-one TV addicts app. Features include TV listings, show information and user ratings, Tivo recording, NetFlix queue management, iTunes and YouTube integration, movie showtimes and ticket buying.
More details on the new release:
Introducing i.TV 2.0
New look, iTunes, alerts, and remote control
Remote Control: i.TV now combines the TV guide and the remote control on an iPhone or iPod touch. Remote controls are powered by the i.TV Remote Control Framework, which allows third parties to develop remote controls for use on the i.TV platform.
TiVo remote: TiVo is the first to introduce a soft remote on i.TV. You can now change the channel, fast forward, record and most importantly play your favorite shows and movies, with just a tap on your iPhone or iPod touch.
New look: i.TV now has a simplified and streamlined user interface.
iTunes: From within i.TV, discover related TV and movie content and then tap to download from iTunes.
Push notifications: Set alerts for when your favorite TV shows air. Never miss a show again.
Here’s the into movie that shows you the new interface of i.TV 2.0.
Recently, the fantastic Erica Sadun of Ars Technica uncovered a little undocumented iPhone OS SDK nugget that showed the OS had some hooks to TV output. Turns out this MPTVOutWindow class gives an iPhone OS application the ability to direct it’s output to the TV when connected with the Apple A/V video cables while getting input from the device accelerometer still. Effectively this could turn you iPhone or iPod Touch into an input device and TV game system. But it must be pointed out that this is still totally undocumented and completely unsupported by Apple at the current time.
So what’s the result? Erica contacted Freeverse and asked them to play around with it. They took their killer Moto Chaser (App Store) game and modified it to work with this new output class. Here’s what Moto Chaser looks like played on your TV and controlled and connected to an iPod Touch.
So what does this mean? Why is Apple making this available? Well I doubt we’ll see this officially announced anytime soon. How will Apple use this? A dedicated gaming device? For use on the Apple TV using an iPhone simulator like software application to allow iPhone OS apps to run on your TV screen? Who knows what Apple has planned, they are as always tight lipped.