Apple TV to Get Siri Remote App for iPhone in First Half of 2016

Apple realises that not everyone is getting along well with the new Apple TV remote, and it assures it is working on making things easier for users. The company has announced that it is working on a new Apple TV remote app that will give Siri Remote functionality on the iPhone.

Eddy Cue, Senior VP of Internet Software and Services at Apple, said that the company will release aniOS remote app for the Apple TV in the first half of 2016. He added that the remote app will replicate the features of the physical Siri-enabled Remote app which ships with the Apple TV.

“We’re working on a new Apple TV remote app that will give you the full functionality of the Siri Remote on your iPhone,” Cue said in an interview. “We’re hoping to ship that in the first half of next year.”

Siri integration is one of the biggest features of the fourth-generation Apple TV, which the company unveiled at its September event. The decision to extend this functionality to an iPhone app could substantially enhance the overall user experience. The company released tvOS 9.1 earlier this week that enabled users to use the Remote app and easily feed text input using their iPhone or iPad.

The company is aggressively pushing improvements to the new Apple TV. This week’s update to tvOS also added Siri integration to Apple Music on the Apple TV. The feature was previously scheduled for the next year. It will be interesting to see how the company, and arrival of new apps shape the new Apple TV in the next few months. In the interview, Cue said that the company is seeing a “tremendous developer interest,” noting that Apple TV already has more than 2,000 new apps.

Apple CEO Defends Smart Battery Case ‘Hump’; Says You Shouldn’t Use It Everyday

Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended the “hump” in its recently launched Smart Battery Case. He said that the much-derided hump in the company’s new accessory is there because users aren’t expected to be using it everyday.

Apple launched the Smart Battery Case earlier this week. The battery pack, which doubles as a smartphone case, comes with a peculiar hump at the back which isn’t pleasing many. Responding to the criticism, Cook gave his take on the design, adding that users shouldn’t be using the case so often – but only in situations where extended battery life is required, like hiking.

“You know, I probably wouldn’t call it ‘the hump,'” he told Mashable in an interview. “If you’re charging your phone every day, you probably don’t need this at all. But if you’re out hiking and you go on overnight trips… it’s kind of nice to have.”

Cook, who said he was aware of people’s comments on the design of the Smart Case Battery, also touted the design efforts the company has put in making the accessory. “One of the real insights here is, have you ever used other cases and tried to get them on?” Cook asked the interviewer. “In order to get it on, you’d find it very difficult to get it on and off. So the guys had this great insight to put the bend in along with making it a smart case,” Cook explained.

The iPhone Smart Battery Case is the first product of its kind to be released by the company. It is priced at $99 (roughly Rs. 6,600). Several commentators and users alike have used the opportunity to point out design flaws in several other recent products, and question if the company has lost its ability to make beautiful products.

The Magic Mouse 2, which the company launched earlier this year, has its charging port at the bottom side, making it impossible to use when the device is charging. Some people have also mocked Apple for the way the Apple Pencil needs to be plugged into the iPad Pro for charging.

Apple Reportedly Developing Mobile GPUs as It Continues to Reduce Reliance on Others

The future iPhone, iPad, and other mobile Apple products could utilise company’s own mobile graphics unit. According to “graphics industry sources”, Apple has been secretly working on its own graphics processor for a few years now.

Apple currently mandates the design of the processor that go inside its products, and soon it may have the full control over the GPU as well. According to a report on Fudzilla, the company has been working on mobile GPUs “under extreme secrecy for a few years.” There’s no firm timeline on when these GPUs will be ready, if ever.

Apple has long relied on Imagination Technologies, a technology company that focuses on semiconductor and related intellectual property licensing, for its GPUs. Apple has made investments in it as well, and owns as much as 10 percent stake in Imagination Technologies. The British company is known for delivering GPUs at a low price. The iPad Air 2, for instance, houses Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR GXA6850 octa-core processor.

Apple has been trying to become less reliant on others for the innards on its products. This, in turn, could significantly benefit the company — giving it full control over the components and their manufacturing, better integration with other components, unmatched technologies, and possibly lower overall cost.

A recent trend in the industry shows that every giant wants to have a complete say on the components that their products assume. Rival company Samsung builds its own processor and GPU, for instance.Google is said to be working with processor makers to design the processors in its products.

Over the years, Apple has acquired a number of semiconductor firms, P.A. Semi and Intrinsity to name a few, that may have accumulated to give it the expertise to pull take over the manufacturing aspect as well. And we’ve seen some of that already. It has used its own custom-made processors since the A6 chipset, which was used in iPhone 5.

Separately, Fudzilla also corroborates on a previous report that said Apple was working with Intel for the next iPhone. Apple currently relies on Qualcomm for LTE modems, but the chipmaker reportedly has an “army” working on chips for Apple’s next flagship smartphone. The report added that Apple could also side with Intel for the next SoC, if the latter manages to hit some “product milestones.” Under the partnership, if it happens, Apple would rely on the chipmaker for fabricating its Ax series of SoCs, integrated with Intel’s LTE modem technology.

Apple TV Already Has Over 2,600 Apps; Games Dominant Category

Apple believes the future of TV is apps, and that’s the core idea around which it has built the new Apple TV. But how is the new device fairing with developers? Pretty good, actually. In six weeks since the launch of the fourth-generation Apple TV, there are already over 2,500 apps in the tvOS App Store.

Developers are certainly jumping to the platform. According to app intelligence platform appFigures, there are 2,624 apps available in the tvOS App Store. The number is seeing an upward growth, the firm says. It expects the count to hit 5,000 in January 2016, and 10,000 sometime next year. In a recent interview, Eddy Cue, Senior VP of Internet Software and Services at Apple, said that the company was seeing a “tremendous developer interest.”

It seems game developers are most excited about the Apple TV. Data reveals that with 1,002 apps (38 percent), Games is the most popular category on the Apple TV. Following Games is Entertainment genre, which has seen the arrival of Netflix, HBO Go, and Plex in the past few weeks. No wonder then Games and Entertainment apps dominated in the company’s best apps for this year. The company gave HBO Now the mantle for the best app for the Apple TV. Following it were Zova – Personal Trainer, Kitchen Stories, Netflix, Airbnb, Showtime, Storehouse, Hulu, Sago Mini Fairy Tales TV, Playkids.

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The tvOS provides developers with the ability to develop apps for the big screen that can utilise hardware’s capabilities. However, Apple is also strict about several things, such as its no-ads policy with tvOS apps. The Apple TV also restricts many things. App developers, for instance, don’t have access to the Siri Remote’s mic, they can also not implement support for multiple Game Center accounts, which would be nice to have for multiplayer games.