New Apple TV: Will the Device Compete With the iPad? Upgraded Interface and iCloud Storage Announced

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Apple's new iPad has been the talk of the tech community this week, but media gurus shouldn't ignore the company's other release: an upgraded Apple TV. Especially since a new software system allows an Apple TV to function almost entirely like an iPad, reported Australian news source News.com.au.

The update, which was announced yesterday at a San Francisco promotional event, will allow owners to stream full movies and TV shows in HD on their Apple TV straight from iTunes.  However, in addition to facilitating the streaming process, the upgrade transforms the Apple TV into an iPad-esque device, with the same features and interface as the tablet.

But if current owners of the Apple television gadget think they're getting their hands on the iPad software before everyone else, they're wrong. The update will be available for existing Apple TV owners on March 16, the same day the new Apple TV and iPad are released for sale.

The new TV, which boasts high definition at 1080p, allows owners to access any television shows, movies or music that they purchased via the iTunes Match and iCloud features.

ICloud now supports movies, starting today, Apple CEO Tim Cook said at yesterday's event.

The transition to iCloud is a monumental update for Apple TV users, cutting out the wired process of transferring data. Previously, if a user purchased a movie on one device and wished to play it on another, both devices would need to be connected to a personal computer with a cable.

Apple's renovation upholds its claim to shift the digital world into the post PC era, addressing the data transfer concern. iPad and Apple TV devices do not contain USB ports of SD card slots, but now users are able to store any information on the iCloud for near-instantaneous accessibility.

The new entertainment gadget is also said to liken typical television sets, with a TV set-top box to go on sale next week. The addition comes with a remote, and will cost $99. According to a report from the AP, the box will offer online streaming services such as Netflix, and the subscription service announced yesterday that customers will be able to sign up for its service directly from an Apple TV box.

Movies from companies such as Sony Corp. and the Walt Disney Co. will be compatible with iCloud. However, existing deals with Time Warner Inc.'s HBO channel prevent films from Comcast Corp.'s Universal Pictures and News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox from being available right away, reported the AP.

The premium service channel made an exception for Warner Bros., and will likely do the same for Universal and Fox.

Like with any other technological enhancement, we've always been able to find common ground with our studio partners and I'm sure we'll have the same result here, HBO spokesman Jeff Cusson said to the AP.

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