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Apple reverses stance, says that all Apple TV games must be compatible with Siri Remote

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One of the standout features of the new Apple TV is its support for gaming, but now Apple has reversed its stance and placed a new limitation on that capability. Apple has said from the beginning that third-party controllers will be supported on the new Apple TV. The SDK for the device carries Game Controller support and the company mentioned it on stage at its unveil event. Apple also mentioned that games that worked only with third-party controllers were okay, meaning the games wouldn’t necessarily have to be compatible with the company’s bundled Siri Remote. Now, however, Apple says that games can not require the use of third-party controllers.



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Apple unveils its all-new Apple TV, here’s what you need to know

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Apple today officially announced its long anticipated revamped Apple TV set top box, marking one of the biggest jumps forward for a product category the company previously classified as a hobby project. Prior to today’s event we reported extensively on Apple’s development of the new Apple TV and the features it planned for the device and developers.

While proclaiming that “The future of TV is apps,” Tim Cook and team highlighted the key areas of the updated hardware and software: new powerful hardware, a modern OS, an all-new user experience, developer tools, and an App Store.

Head below for all the details…

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App Store’s gaming section gets its own curated Twitter account

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Apple is making its App Store a bit more social. The company today opened up a new Twitter account dedicated to the App Store’s gaming section. The account, @AppStoreGames, is yet to be officially verified by Twitter, but it was retweeted this morning by the official and verified @AppStore account, which launched a few years ago.



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Apple TV 4: Gaming and Siri will be major focuses, expect Bluetooth game controllers + enhanced wireless

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New Apple TV will look similar, but thicker (image via Michael Steeber)

Although iOS devices and the App Store have transformed the handheld gaming market, the first three Apple TV generations did not attempt to challenge Microsoft’s XboxNintendo’s Wii, or Sony’s PlayStation game consoles for complete control of living room TVs. According to sources with knowledge of the product, the fourth-generation Apple TV will actively compete for TV gamers with updated hardware, software, and peripherals that will debut at Apple’s September 9 event in San Francisco.

One of the next Apple TV’s tentpole features will be near-universal Siri control, a feature hinted at in Apple’s invitation to the event. But the other will be deep support for gaming, representing Apple’s largest-ever effort to lure players from traditional consoles. In addition to the convenience of downloading games directly from the Apple TV’s built-in App Store, and controlling many of them via a new bundled remote control, Apple will also support more complex, console-style Bluetooth game controllers with the pressure-sensitive buttons and joysticks previously introduced for iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches…



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What will September’s new iOS 9-based Apple TV bring to the living room?

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Apple plans to hold one of its annual fall media events on Wednesday, September 9th to introduce the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus with Force Touch, and after many fits and starts, it appears that the long-awaited next-generation Apple TV will also be unveiled. We’ve been reporting on this upcoming model since 2014, as Apple has been planning to update its set-top-box with support for an App Store for quite some time.

Earlier this year, Apple had locked in a June WWDC debut for both the new Apple TV hardware and software upgrades, but the company ultimately decided to delay the introduction until the fall. While some had speculated that the announcement was pushed back due to a lack of content deals, we are told that the delay was internally attributed to a concern over compromising iOS 9 engineering resources, as the latest OS release is focused at least as much on polish as on new features.

Why would the new Apple TV potentially take away resources from iOS 9? According to sources, this new Apple TV model, codenamed J34, will be the first model to run a full-blown iOS core. Specifically, the new Apple TV operating system will be a TV-optimized version of iOS 9. In addition to the new hardware inside, running iOS 9 will give the new Apple TV a series of benefits over the current model. Below, we explore what users can expect from Apple’s next-generation living room product.



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Apple patents TV remote with Touch ID, references both television and HomeKit applications

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While Apple reportedly dropped its plans to make a complete TV, its adoption of the Apple TV box as the gateway device for HomeKit may be behind a patent for a TV remote with Touch ID.

As is often the case, the patent is expressed in extremely broad terms, referring to a “sensor configured to detect a biometric characteristic of a user” and mentioning everything from iris detection to voice sensing, but a fingerprint is included and appears to be what is shown in the main drawing.

Apple suggests that biometric authorization could be used both for things like selecting an individual’s preferred channels on a TV, and for home automation applications like changing a thermostat temperature or opening a garage door.

As ever, the fact that Apple patents something is no indication that it will ever make it into a product.

Via Patently Apple

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SmartBrick Bluetooth LEGO controller replaces infra-red remote with your iPhone

If you your kids play with LEGO Technic, and the standard infra-red receiver feels just a little 1990s, a new Kickstarter project has the answer. The SmartBrick is a Bluetooth LE receiver that forms a direct swap for the IR one, enabling you to control your hi-tech LEGO projects with your iPhone.

The SmartBrick has four ports, enabling it to control four functions, and if that’s not enough you can control up to 16 SmartBricks from the app, providing a total of 64 controls. Because it’s Bluetooth LE, you can embed the controller inside your model, and you get around 300 feet of range – and even control your device over the Internet.

The app allows you to choose the remote control profile you’d like for your device. Joystick, gamepad and gyroscopic controls are offered as standard, and you can create your own custom controls.

A pledge of £40 ($68) gets you a brick from the first production run, but there are still some Early Bird specials available for £29 ($49).

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Tado confirms smart air-conditioning controller funded, aiming now for Apple HomeKit support

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Tado, the location-aware alternative to the Nest smart thermostat, has confirmed that it has achieved its Kickstarter goal to launch a device to control existing air-conditioners, turning them into smart cooling systems.

 

We talked about the GE-backed Quirky Aros in March which can now be purchased at Amazon.

Tado is now aiming to raise an additional $50k to allow Tado Cooling to integrate with Apple’s HomeKit, enabling Siri control.

If HomeKit is integrated, our customers will be able to use the tado° app together with some key iOS features such as Siri or TouchID.

  • Imagine setting your tado° to sleep mode or adjusting the desired temperature with a simple voice command.
  • Imagine giving your AC a little boost just by placing your finger on the home button.
  • Imagine combined scenarios with other connected devices …

Tado says that its system will be compatible with 82 percent of existing air-conditioning units, with a control unit working in the same way as its smart thermostat: using an app to track the location of those in the household, automatically turning off air-conditioners when the last person leaves the home and pre-cooling the home when it detects that someone is on their way back.

Low-energy Bluetooth is also used to track the position of people within the home, automatically adjusting air-conditioners within different rooms.

Tado Cooling will retail for $149, but Kickstarter backers can pre-order for $99, with units expected to ship in August. The existing product is fully funded, but currently needs an additional $47,000 in the next six days to add HomeKit support.

Other iOS controlled home cooling systems on the market and in the news include Big Ass Fans.

Apple built Google Glass-like prototypes, says former Senior VP of iPod division

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Tony Fadell, the Nest CEO who was Senior VP of Apple’s division from 2006 to 2008, says that Apple built prototypes of a similar device to Google Glass but “didn’t have time” to turn them into actual products.

Interviewed as part of Fast Company‘s Oral History of Apple Design series, Fadell said:

At Apple, we were always asking, What else can we revolutionize? We looked at video cameras and remote controls. The craziest thing we talked about was something like Google Glass. We said, “What if we make visors, so it’s like you’re sitting in a theater?” I built a bunch of those prototypes. But we had such success with the things we were already doing that we didn’t have time … 

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Control your Philips Hue lamps from your Mac Menu Bar – new app coming soon

hue-menu I can see why manufacturers opt for iPhone apps as the remote controls for their gadgets. A small touchscreen device is a familiar form-factor for a remote, and it’s likely to be easily to hand. But if happen to be in front of your Mac at the time, it can seem a bit awkward to have to pick up your phone, open an app and then use a smaller, fiddlier device.

Philips seem to have recognised this, with a new Mac app on the way to control its range of Hue smart LED bulbs. The app sits in the menu bar, providing a convenient way to control any of your Hue lamps.

Philips updated the iOS app back in May, with geofencing, schedules and a wide variety of triggering actions, including support for the popular IFTTT (If This Then That) app.

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Logitech announces the Harmony Ultimate Hub: Turns any iPhone into a full-fledged Universal Remote

harmony-smart-control-gallery-02After nearly selling their Harmony remote line, Logitech has officially announced the Harmony Ultimate Hub, an “appcessory” that turns any iPhone (or most any Smartphone!) into a slick universal remote.  Bringing the beautiful Harmony remote touch interface to smartphones everywhere.  The hub allows up to 8 devices to connect and control entertainment systems from anywhere in the house via a Bluetooth connection.  No more precision remote shooting to try and hit the IR sensor just right…

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Verizon’s My FiOS iOS app adds remote control, DVR scheduling, TV listings, more

My-FiOS-iOS-App-remote-control-DVRVerizon has just pushed out a nice update to its My FiOS app for Verizon FiOS customers that brings more integration of TV functions to the app. Version 3.3.2.8 of the app now includes the ability to view FiOS TV and VOD listings, set parental controls, and access remote control options for functions such as scheduling DVR recordings & more.

The update also includes Voice Assistant feature for the Verizon support tool and  the ability to opt-in to push notifications “for billing alerts, service outages, etc.”

What’s New in Version 3.3.2.8

Bug fixes
Integration of FiOS TV functions (TV Listings, DVR scheduling and Remote Control)
Enhanced Verizon Support tool – including Voice Assistant function
Support for opt-in Push notifications for billing alerts, service outages, etc.

The free Verizon My FiOS app for iPhone and iPad is available on the App Store now.

Apperian launches first administrative remote control solution for iOS [Video]

Apperian just launched “Remote Control for iOS”, a feature for its Enterprise App Services Environment that it called “the first and only solution that empowers IT departments to remotely view and interact with employee’s iOS devices as if the device was directly in front of them.” The solution works from anywhere, even over cellular networks, provides per-app privacy settings for end users, and it allows admins to control iOS devices through a web browser with no additional coding or software necessary:

Mobile devices go anywhere and everywhere – so there’s no need to be on the same local network or use a VPN to use Remote Control. An administrator can remotely control a device that is behind a home router, firewall or captive network with no additional configuration. It even works over cellular network, so you can provide support to a user no matter where they are.

A video demo of the feature is above, while the company’s full press release is below:


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Apple patent details steering wheel remote control

PatentlyApple covered a number of Apple patents today that were recently published by the US Patent & Trademark Office. One of the 21 patents originally filed in Q1 2011 is for an iOS remote control that would clip onto a steering wheel. The remote shown in the patent drawings essentially looks like the iPod click wheel, but Apple described it as a touch-sensitive, rotatable faceplate:

Apple’s invention generally relates to remote controls. More specifically, certain embodiments of the present invention provide a steering wheel mountable wireless remote control for controlling a portable media player… The remote control device can also include a faceplate that is rotatably mounted on top of the base section that very much resembles Apple’s iPod clickwheel… The notable difference is that Apple states that the faceplate is touch-sensitive.

You can get full coverage on the patent at PatentlyApple

Apple researching universal remote that customizes UIs intelligently

This is not the first time we have received hints that Apple is working on an innovative universal remote control for controlling TV and video content. In January, we told you that Apple was researching a touchscreen remote with adaptable user interfaces. The invention would essentially allow button layouts stored in the cloud or in a device (such as a TV) to be wirelessly and seamlessly beamed to the controller’s UI. The concept would alleviate the “table full of remotes” scenario Steve Jobs described at D8.

Today, a new patent application published by the United States Patent & Trademark Office and detailed by PatentlyApple gives us even more insight into what Apple’s universal remote concept could become. In the newly discovered patent application, Apple details a remote that is capable of displaying customized controls for various devices by simply taking a picture of the device. Apple would send the picture to iCloud, analyze it, and beam a UI or button layout to the remote that works for your TV. PatentlyApple explained:



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