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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 24, 2014

Rumor Mill: Apple TV to Gain Cloud-based, Seamless Content Handoff?

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Apple (News - Alert) TV could get the company’s latest content porting capabilities, known as Continuity, when it’s refreshed this fall.

Apple previewed the functionality for Macs and iOS devices at WWDC earlier this month, and it’s oriented around seamless transition. For instance, the Handoff function lets a user start writing an email, text message or other missive on one device, and finish it on another. With Apple TV integration, it could in theory allow a user to start a movie or TV show on an iPad while on the go, then be able to pick it up immediately and automatically on the big screen when he or she gets home.

It’s very much like the existing AirPlay (News - Alert) functionality, except that no user intervention is necessary to pull or push the content from one device to another. And in fact, there’s no need to stream directly from device to device at all; the content is kept in the cloud, so users pull it down from there.

The seamlessness of it also trumps the Google (News - Alert) Chromecast functionality, which allows users to “cast” any content from a Google Android device to the television. That could be important for Apple as it tries to hang onto market share in an increasingly crowded video STB space.

Tech blog site 9to5Mac noted that beta testers for Handoff using OS X Yosemite machines on the same local Wi-Fi network as Apple TVs are getting notifications to be able to integrate with the Apple TV via the new feature.

“Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any references on either the new Apple TV software or OS X as to what Handoff between iOS devices/Macs and Apple TVs could mean, but there are some speculative possibilities,” the blog noted.

Of course, tighter integration across devices and a vertical stack of closed-ecosystem software and hardware is something that defines Apple’s playbook. It’s how the company drives demand for its content and services, so it would make sense to include Apple TV in any feature strategy that drives that further.

Apple TV is set for a refresh or update in the October timeframe. 


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