Customers complain after an Apple TV software update fails to function properly.
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Apple TV, once described by co-founder Steve Jobs as just a hobby, began being something more than that earlier this year when CEO Tim Cook called it an area of intense interest.
Some Apple customers, however, are referring to the streaming media device as if it were something suited for the construction trade, specifically masonry: There have been a small number of reports that Apple's latest update for its streaming media device has turned the black boxes into bricks, figuratively speaking.
That's overstating the case. Apple released its Apple TV 6.0 software update on Friday only to withdraw it the following day after customers complained that their Apple TV units had become inoperable.
The damage, however, appears to be reversible. Apple has provided instructions on its support website for restoring Apple TV to its factory settings either on its own or by connecting the device to a computer with iTunes.
Once Apple's engineers fix the bugs and re-release the software, the update will provide Apple TV users with several new features, including access to the iTunes Music Store and iTunes Radio (which debuted in iOS 7 last week), AirPlay from iCloud, iCloud Photos and Videos, and conference room mode.
AirPlay from iCloud provides functionality similar to Google Chromecast: It allows users of iOS devices to stream iTunes videos to an Apple TV device directly — their own or a friend's — rather than having users stream content from iTunes to an iOS device and then to Apple TV via AirPlay. This more direct routing of data reduces unnecessary bandwidth usage.
The update does away with Photo Streams and offers iCloud Photos and Videos in its place, allowing users to stream photos and videos from their Shared Photo Streams.
An Apple TV hardware revision is expected next month, in conjunction with or close to the OS X Mavericks release, the debut of the redesigned MacPro and the anticipated introduction of the next-generation iPad.
To date, Apple has shipped over 13 million Apple TV units, Cook said in May. The company's hobby is beginning to look like a bridgehead from which Apple will be able to expand its platform beyond the office and into the living room. In July, research consultancy Frost & Sullivan said that in 2012 Apple TV accounted for over 56% of the consumer streaming media device sales, giving it more than twice the market share of its closest competitor, Roku.
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