Apple TV 6.0: Worth Upgrading?

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Apple TV 6.0 new features

iTunes Radio will be the demise of Pandora. Pandora’s stock plummeted due to this reality. First and foremost, iTunes Radio has a much bigger selection of music. iTunes Radio offers 27 million tracks compared to Pandora’s 1 million. iTunes Radio offers better audio quality and the ability to skip more tracks. Apple’s ad-free premium service (iTunes Match) costs less than Pandora and offers much more.

iTunes Match also provides a cloud-based match for any ripped CD in an iTunes user’s library. If you have a collection of CDs and have imported them into iTunes, an iTunes Match subscription will add these to iCloud. You can stream and download them from any device, even Apple TV. iTunes Match is the best way to get your entire music collection in the cloud. As the name implies, instead of uploading your imported CD’s, they match them with iTune’s collection. Only CDs that do not exist on iTunes need to be uploaded.

By default, iTunes Radio does not play explicit content. If you would like to access all music options, press the top navigation button on your Apple TV remote while in iTunes Radio. Next, select “Edit Stations” and then select “Explicit Music”.

iTunes Music Store

Users can now purchase iTunes music directly from Apple TV, even without using iTunes Radio. This is a feature I had been anticipating. When I really want to listen to a new album fast, I will buy it on my iPad, stop the download, and then listen to it on my Apple TV. With every new update to Apple TV, I’m reaching for my iPad less often. Now I can make these impulse buys directly from Apple TV.

Apple sees the writing on the wall. They’re starting to saturate the market for devices. In order to become even more profitable, they need to monetize the users they have. While iTunes sells a lot of music, TV shows, and movies, it’s a very small part of Apple’s profitability. The iPhone is their most profitable product. As they saturate the smartphone market, Apple can only increase profitability by selling more content, be it apps, music, or videos.

AirPlay from iCloud

AirPlay from iCloud allows a user to beam content onto their Apple TV without downloading it. If, for example, you buy an iTunes TV show on your iPad, you can “beam” it to your Apple TV without downloading it on your iPad. Your Apple TV does the download instead.

This feature is confusing and misunderstood. Digital Trends claims this is the most useful feature of Apple TV 6.0. Wired claims this allows anyone to beam an iTunes purchase onto anyone else’s Apple TV. That doesn’t seem to be how the feature works. I don’t blame them, it’s confusing and hard to see the value of this feature. People are liable to dream up functionality that doesn’t exist. The new feature requires iOS 7. It’s just easier to play content directly from Apple TV. The best thing about Apple TV is that with every update, I reach for my iPad less often. (continue…)

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