Apple released the much anticipated software update to the Apple TV. The 6.0 version provides support to iTunes Radio and AirPlaying content from iCloud. Content can now be played on an Apple TV not configured with the required iTunes login.
The new AirPlay allows users to stream the content from the iCloud to a friend's Apple TV. The required authentication is provided wirelessly via an iPhone or an iPad. Purchased content like music, movies or TV shows can be streamed directly.
Users can also purchase content from the iTunes Music Store directly using the Apple TV 6.0 upgrade. Other features include syncing their podcasts and accessing photos from a shared Photo Stream.
The iTunes Radio service, which was recently launched with the iOS 7, is now available on the Apple TV. It was previously available only on the iPhone, iPad and iPod devices. The service is similar to the Internet music provided by Pandora.
The software update comes at a time when there were rumours that Apple may be launching a new Apple TV set top box. That however did not happen and even the software update came a little later than anticipated.
Apple reportedly took delivery of three "Set Top Boxes" from its suppliers from China recently. This had led to the speculation that a new Apple TV was on its way. Some of the software upgrades that now feature in the 6.0 were accurately predicted in the rumours.
The new Apple TV is expected to be unveiled along with the iPhone launch, that did not happen and Apple TV did not get a lot of attention at the event. It was later speculated that the Apple TV with software upgrades would be released along with the iOS 7. The upgrade has finally come, much to the delight of the customers.
Rumours are still rife that Apple may yet launch a new Apple TV with better hardware. The latest software upgrade is seen as the last before the hardware gets upgraded. Analysts feel that a new Apple TV may not be expected too soon, if Apple has decided to have an annual launch of the device, then it may be unveiled by early 2014.