Apple set to include Bluetooth keyboard support in the next Apple TV iOS update

Apple may be planning on offering support for Bluetooth keyboards when the next software update arrives for the Apple TV. When iOS 6.1 beta 3 was released, it enabled Bluetooth support on the Apple TV. 9to5 Mac decided to try pairing Bluetooth keyboards with the device, and it worked with both Apple's own Bluetooth keyboard, and a third-party keyboard.

Once connected, you can use a wireless keyboard to completely control the Apple TV without using the included remote. The arrow keys function for navigation, the Return key is the play/pause, and the Escape key maps to ‘menu’ or up ‘one level’ functionality. More importantly, searching for content becomes a thousand times easier when you can enter search terms with a hard keyboard.

It's important to remember that what is tested in beta sometimes stays in beta, so just because the Bluetooth keyboard support works now doesn't mean Apple will include it in the final iOS 6.1 release.

However, adding this type of Bluetooth support for the Apple TV makes a lot of sense. Controlling the Apple TV with the hardware remote now is constrained to infrared line-of-sight, and offers really poor text entry support for searches. Bluetooth will work from anywhere, at any angle, in range, and a physical keyboard makes text entry much easier.

Perhaps we could also see the door open for third-party manufacturers to start offering their own remote controllers for the Apple TV. We could start to see some innovation like we already do from the likes of Logitech who offer sophisticated remote controllers with inbuilt keyboards for other bits of A/V kit.

Apple could use the additional Bluetooth functionality, for example, for a remote controller with an in-built microphone for a Siri controlled Apple TV maybe. The Remote app for iOS could perhaps also ditch Wi-Fi for a low-power, faster-to-connect Bluetooth 4.0 version.

Hopefully we'll find out more soon.

Source: 9to5 Mac