Apple could be preparing Bluetooth keyboard support for the next Apple TV iOS update

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

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UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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Reader comments

Apple could be preparing Bluetooth keyboard support for the next Apple TV iOS update


I'm not a fan of using a keyboard with my television, but I like every hint of apps for the Apple TV.

I think its quite useless as the Remote app does the work perfectly. Unless of course the BT hookup is intended for something else...

Come on Apple MagicRemote!

A iPhone sized device only with the cheapest screen, SoaC and no wifi. Just Bluetooth 4.0 and a couple of hardware buttons, gyro and compass for gaming. The (non rentina) screen is used for keyboard and a second screen for content.

Runs extremely cut down version of iOS that is basically just a larger version of the remote app.

And of course a Microphone for Siri.

The device would access the Internet over Bluetooth. Like Personal Hotspot. But maybe it's cheaper for them to just add a wifi and Bluetooth chip from other devices since they buy them in bulk.

I would love to see a device like this.

Sold for $49-$69 piece of course. But with they're production set down so well. I can see them still turning a profit on these even at $49.

I wish they'd fix using their bluetooth keyboard with iPad. With every iPad I've owned, the keyboard sends double key presses every once in a while. Has never happened using the same keyboard with my laptop.

So can someone remind me if my AppleTV 2,1 has the Bluetooth controller in it?
Mine is currently jailbroken but I don't recall seeing BT anywhere.