Apple’s most notable hobby got a very quiet update today, bringing features that were previously requested and, frankly, overdue. Among the updates is the ability to (finally) rearrange apps on the homescreen and the ability to switch between two Apple accounts on one Apple TV. The release notes are below:
Shared Photo Streams – Accept invitations for Shared Photo Streams, browse photos and comments, and receive notifications of new content.
AirPlay – Send audio content from Apple TV to AirPlay-enabled speakers and devices (including AirPort Express and other Apple TVs). Also includes the ability to require an onscreen code to use AirPlay with your Apple TV.
iTunes account switching – Save multiple iTunes accounts and switch quickly between them.
Trailers – Search movie trailers. In the United States, see show times for local theaters.
Screen savers – New Cascade, Shrinking Tiles, and Sliding Panels screen savers.
Main menu – Reorder icons on the second page by holding down the select button on the remote.
Subtitles – SDH support for the deaf and hard-of-hearing as well as improvements to viewing and selecting subtitles.
Network configuration – Support for setting up advanced network options using configuration profiles. See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5437 for more information.
Stability and performance – Includes general performance and stability improvements.
The new Apple TV software supports both the second and third generation Apple TV hardware. There are some nice feature bumps included, although many of these additions should have been standard since the Apple TV came out–especially multiple accounts. The most interesting change is the ability to rearrange the home screen. Until this point, all Apple TV homescreens have been identical: they’ve had the same content options in the same order as every other Apple TV. Therefore, the ability to switch around the icons (hold down the Select button on the remote à la iOS) potentially signals a game-changer for the little black box that could. If Apple were to introduce apps, users would need the ability to rearrange their software shortcuts, and now the Apple TV has it.