Apple TV Gains New Prominence in Apple Online Store with Valentine's Day Update [Updated]
Apple's storefront went offline last night and returned with a new Valentine's Day theme featuring accents of red and a handpicked shopping guide for gift buyers. Holiday graphics replace the standard stock product photos and updated captions like "Love is in the Air" promote Apple's top products for the Valentine's Day shoppers.
Perhaps the most important update is the new promotion of the Apple TV at the top of the Online Store, giving it similar prominence to Apple's Mac, iPad, iPhone and iPod lines. The new placement for the Apple TV suggests that it's moving out of the "hobby" status that Apple executives have long assigned it.
Previously, the Apple TV was relegated to the iPod section. Last week, it was rumored that Apple was considering adding game support with Bluetooth controllers and a new App Store to the Apple TV, possibly as soon as March.
Apple has revised its shipping estimates with updated information for those shopping for gifts ahead of Valentine's Day. All products, with the exception of the Mac Pro, currently are in stock and will arrive with free shipping in time for the holiday if ordered before February 5th. Deadlines for 2-3 day shipping and next-day shipping are February 10 and 11, respectively. Engraved items require additional processing and must be ordered one day earlier.
This advertising campaign extends to the company's Apple Store app (iTunes link), which was updated with similar holiday graphics and a curated list of the "Top Valentine's Gifts." The Apple TV gets prominent placement in the app as well, appearing on the home screen just below the iPhone 5s and 5c.
Update: Apple is testing a much improved version of the Apple TV that would utilize existing iOS devices as game controllers, according to a report from 9to5Mac, and the company is also considering combining the Apple TV and AirPort Express products, testing a combined Apple TV and 802.11ac wireless router in order to ensure higher-quality streaming.
The site also says Apple is testing an Apple TV device that can control users' existing cable boxes with an Apple user interface overlaying their existing content. It was reported last year that Apple was in negotiations with cable companies and TV networks to allow customers to skip commercials on recorded shows and Apple would compensate programmers for the lost revenue. The company has also been looking to "erase the distinction" between live and on-demand video content.
Apple has long been rumored to have an improved Apple TV in the works, though there have been a number of conflicting reports over what the device will include. Apple has repeatedly said that it has has a number of new products in the works for 2014, most recently during its quarterly earnings call with analysts yesterday.