Bluetooth and iTunes Update for Apple TV

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Apple TV update adds Bluetooth support

Support for Bluetooth keyboards has been added in this new release. Simply go to Settings > General > Bluetooth. Apple TV will scan for any Bluetooth devices it can find. You can use a Bluetooth keyboard to control Apple TV. This comes in handy for those who don’t already do this with their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch using the Apple Remote app. To be honest, I just use the Apple TV remote and the on-screen keyboard. At most, I am rarely typing in authentication information (login to Netflix, Hulu Plus), as this is cached. Other than that, I type in a few characters for a search. I haven’t been stymied by the on-screen keyboard. Apple TV doesn’t require a lot of typing.

The update also fixes some annoying bugs. The previous update allowed the user to rearrange icons on the main menu (except for the top row). However, if you restarted your Apple TV, it would reset to the default arrangement. This has been fixed.

Netflix also seems to be more stable. I watched a few hours last night, after the update, without incident. The jury’s still out on this, as well as AirPlay. AirPlay improved after the 5.1 update in late November 2012. Unfortunately, it still crashed (far less frequently) and sometimes didn’t show the album art. Only time will tell if AirPlay is rock solid with the 5.2 release. So far, so good…

Overall, I would recommend updating your Apple TV immediately. The improvements are well worth it. The update doesn’t seem to introduce any new bugs. Perhaps Apple is finally taking this product seriously. Many have suspected that Apple will launch iTV — an all-in-one flat screen TV set. The improvements in Apple TV seem to indicate that Apple is taking this platform much more seriously.

Another more reliable rumor is that Apple will be releasing a new Apple TV unit soon. The device is physically smaller, as indicated by diagrams submitted to the FCC. It is speculated that the new Apple TV will sport an A6 processor and have gaming capabilities. The addition of Bluetooth functionality should allow for a variety of gaming controllers. Perhaps Apple will make one. The Apple TV remote could also facilitate a fair amount of gaming. One would expect an App Store for Apple TV along with gaming capabilities. Set-top boxes such as Roku can play games like Angry Birds. Roku doesn’t integrate with Apple products as well as Apple TV. Gaming platforms can deliver Netflix and Hulu Plus, but not iTunes. If Apple does what many suspect, they could very well be the lead in inexpensive set-top boxes.

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