Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Apple TV 2.0 delayed a week or two

Apple TV 2.0 needs a little more time in the oven.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils Apple TV 2.0 at Macworld earlier this month.

(Credit: Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks)

Apple put out a press release Wednesday noting that the MacBook Air is now shipping. Check out my colleague Dan Ackerman's review of the extremely slim laptop if you're thinking about making a purchase. But the company also tucked in a sentence about Apple TV in that release, saying "Apple also announced that the new Apple TV software update, which allows users to rent high-definition movies directly from their widescreen TVs, is not quite finished."

Current owners of Apple TV will be able to download the software update in a week or two, Apple said. It was supposed to be released within two weeks of its announcement at Macworld, or that was the plan unveiled during CEO Steve Jobs' keynote speech. New Apple TVs with the updated software ship within 24 hours from Apple's online store.

The new software brings a whole new look-and-feel to Apple TV, Apple's bid to connect big-screen televisions to the Internet and computers. It will also allow Apple TV owners to rent movies through the new iTunes Rental Service.

This isn't the end of the world--after all, current Apple TV owners are getting all this for free--but it's not the best news, either. Apple has delayed a few software projects in the past 12 months, most notably the four-month slip in Leopard's ship time precipitated by the push to get the iPhone out on time.

At last year's shareholders meeting, a shareholder asked Jobs why Apple hasn't hired more engineers to keep up with the demand for its products. Jobs said the company considers software engineering a quality issue, not a quantity issue where problems can be solved by throwing bodies at a project. Still, you have to wonder if he'll get that question again this year, with so much now on Apple's plate between the Mac, iPod, iPhone, and now Apple TV businesses.

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