New Apple TV software with AirPlay enhancements due September 18

Apple TV 5.4 Beta (Conference Room mode, iGen 001)

While some watchers have been expecting Apple TV news during yesterday’s keynote, Apple instead chose to talk exclusively about the new iPhone 5s/5c and the revamped iOS 7 software. Apple’s been testing a new version of the software powering its $99 set-top box since iOS 7 was introduced at WWDC this June. We’ve seen some of the new features such as a Conference Room Mode for presenters.

Moreover, earlier this week the AllThingsD blog shed more light on improved AirPlay support allowing users to watch the media they own on someone else’s box without having to log in with their iTunes Store account. Today, a new report alleged that the final version of the updated firmware will hit Apple TVs a week from today, on September 18, 2013…

Peter Kafka writes for AllThingsD that Apple TV is scheduled for an internal overhaul on September 18. Apple also promised to release iOS 7 for public consumption on the same day so it would make sense to release the refreshed Apple TV software alongside iOS 7.

Kafka also details AirPlay enhancements that will let you play content purchased on the iTunes Store on other people’s TVs through AirPlay:

The key part is that they will be able to tell an Apple TV box they don’t own to stream the media they do own, directly from the cloud.

That’s a change from the current system, which requires users to download stuff to their iPhones and iPads and fling it to the TV from there. It also echoes the way Google’s new Chromecast device works.

This makes a lot of sense.

Why in fact wouldn’t I be able to play my purchased content on any Apple TV device, both the stuff downloaded to my device and media stored in iCloud?

Other features likely to be included in the forthcoming Apple TV software refresh: the new automatic device configuration over Bluetooth, custom subtitles, Conference Room Mode for presenters and more.