iOS 5 to enable Bluetooth in Apple TV, paving the way for apps?

“Just like Apple has done in some of its mobile devices (namely early generations of the iPod touch), Apple has included hidden bluetooth support in their second-generation Apple TV,” Mark Gurman reports for 9to5 Mac.

“Bluetooth support is not present within the Apple TV operating system (iOS), but Apple’s next major operating system, iOS 5, will turn on this bluetooth support,” Gurman reports. “Apple is positioning this bluetooth support mainly for keyboards, but perhaps the bluetooth Apple TV will be able to connect to bluetooth iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches.”

Gurman reports, “App support was rumored for inclusion in this second generation Apple TV, and perhaps bluetooth accessory and keyboard support is a sign of apps still coming to the television through Apple’s device.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]


  1. iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch can already interact with Apple TV (as an input/control device) using a wireless network connection. Since Apple TV needs a constant wireless network connection to be useful, I don’t see very much value in making Bluetooth available for that purpose.

    Obviously, it would be useful for other types of input devices.

    1. > … Apple TV, and perhaps bluetooth accessory and keyboard support is a sign of apps still coming to the television through Apple’s device.

      I don’t think this will happen as predicted by some. Apple does NOT make enough profit selling Apple TV for $99 (maybe $30 per device at best?). That’s why Steve Jobs keeps calling it a “hobby,” because the profit potential is not there (yet). Apple’s end goal is always to sell more hardware and profit, not run another App Store.

      One way to increase Apple TV’s potential profit is to sell a differentiated and desirable complete HDTV for $999. But that’s another story…

      Here’s a very different possibility (related to “apps” running on Apple TV)…

      Apple TV is already being used to play media from iPhone or iPad on an HDTV (AirPlay). This function could be expanded to apps, but it would be extremely inefficient for iPhone or iPad to run the app and “stream” the 1080p screen output wirelessly to Apple TV; that would be like doing “remote access” (screen sharing) between Macs. It works, but there is often “lag” and low refresh rate, with a big dependency on quality of wireless network connection. Plus, iPhone or iPad, running on battery power, is doing most of the heavy processing work, while the processing power of Apple TV (with unlimited power source) is mostly idle. That’s NOT efficient or smart.

      It would be far more efficient if Apple TV ran the app, with iPhone or iPad acting as the input device. This is already being done to control Apple TV’s built-in features. What’s NEW would be customers obtaining and storing “AirPlay apps” (from current App Store) on iPhone or iPad. Those apps would run on iPhone or iPad (like a normal app), but they would have an AirPlay mode that sends output to HDTV. When enabled, the app (or part of it) is sent from iPhone or iPad to Apple TV; the AirPlay “rendition” of app could be designed differently from what appears on iPhone or iPad screen, to take advantage of HDTV screen (and account for possible need by user for a visible “pointer” on the remote HDTV screen). Apple TV then runs the app, with iPhone or iPad changing to only act as the input device (and network storage location for app data “as needed”).

      So… Apps running on Apple TV, with no need for a separate set of Bluetooth input devices. It would also eliminate the need for a separate “Apple TV App Store” (with apps that only work on Apple TV). And Apple TV becomes another reason people buy iPhone and iPod instead of a competing product. Apple TV does not need to be a big profit center, if it becomes one of the key differentiators (like the iTunes Store and App Store) that helps sell even more iPhones and iPads (and iPod touches). Apple’s end goal is always to increase profit by selling more hardware, not by opening another App Store.

  2. I don’t think you want an iPad or iPod used as a game controller over Bluetooth when you could use WiFi, particularly if the iPad/iPod is streaming a game to your HDTV via AirPlay anyway. Bluetooth’s just too slow.

    Besides, you would want Bluetooth available for phone/FaceTime/Skype calls or online game conversations/taunting.

  3. I’ll bet that we wont see apps on the ATV natively for some time do to a deal with the studios, so they can keep HULU and the like out of the picture. Apple’s way around it is to mirror the iPad, and they can have the position of “Hey, look! No apps on ATV!” and make users happy.

  4. Something to add is that I recall the Bluetooth standard was being upgraded, the details of which I do not know. But enhancing Bluetooth can only give Apple more options for the Apple TV. If this means that we can type with an iPad or iPhone to choose or search for a movie rather than the petite controller that comes with the Apple TV, that’s a win in my book.

    As for apps, it would be interesting to see how these could manage the different and much higher resolutions of wide screen televisions. I’ll leave it to your imaginations to wonder if Apple is working on a game controller, or relying on software for the iPhone or iPad to do this instead, which might be the whole idea.

    Not that any of this idle speculation could be close to correct. That’s why I like happy surprises. Especially those from Apple.

    1. You realize the apple remote app on the iPhone & iPad already do this ? ” If this means that we can type with an iPad or iPhone to choose or search for a movie rather than the petite controller that comes with the Apple TV”


    Nintendo’s Wii, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and Sony’s PlayStation 3 all use Bluetooth controllers.

    Bluetooth in the Apple TV means that Apple’s device can have game console controllers, as well as Bluetooth keyboard.

    I can’t imagine that it won’t be long before we see Apple TV apps.

    Moreover, last week id’s Carmack and Epic’s Reinhart said they expect “mobile” graphics–i.e. the same stuff used in Apple TV as in other iOS devices–to surpass Xbox 360 and PS3 within two years.

  6. My Apple TV is a Mac mini Server, Eye TV and a MacBook Air DVD Drive. It already has Bluetooth which connects the Touchpad and Keyboard.

    I was an original ATV owner but really am not impressed with v2. When my 160GB unit started getting flaky I went with the Mini Server. The only concern is the reported dropping of Front Row via Lion.

    If you use the hockey puck this might be good news.

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