Apple recently introduced two new formats, iTunes LP and iTunes Extras, which deliver additional content to album and movie purchases, respectively. Apple also only just updated the iTunes Store Terms and Conditions agreement, and AppleInsider spotted some key changes in that document that point to an upcoming Apple TV update that will support the new formats.
It seems inevitable that the new bonus material featured in LP and Extra releases, which includes things like photos, videos, mini-documentaries and commentary, would become accessible on Apple’s home theater device, but this is the first official confirmation that it is in fact on the way. It would seem to suggest that we’ll see the update sooner rather than later, too.
While it may not come as a surprise, a new major update for the Apple TV firmware would be the first big one since the “Take Two” 2.0 update that came at Macworld Expo in January 2008. Other things expected to arrive with it include Quicktime X and the HTTP Live Streaming protocol, both of which were recently introduced as features of OS X Snow Leopard.
It sounds like it’s shaping up to be a decent little upgrade for Apple’s main foray into the living room, but it doesn’t really sound like anything that’s going to turn heads among people who are on the fence about buying the device. Apple has recently taken some steps to increase Apple TV sales, including getting rid of the 40 GB model altogether and dropping the price of the 160 GB version. Which is great, but there’s still a lot more Apple should be doing to make the device viable.
Like the Mac mini, the Apple TV seems to be lagging behind other Apple offerings in terms of the tech behind it and its software capabilities. Many new TVs coming to market now offer built-in functionality comparable to a lot of what Apple TV brings to the table, beyond access to the iTunes Store and all of its associated content. And HD-capable nettops from companies like Asus offer a fully functional home theater PC at a comparable price, with better storage options and more.
A software update is great, but Apple needs to do more than just what’s expected to breathe some life back into its least exciting device.