AppleTV and the iCloudpocalypse

First, the good news: Magpie for AppleTV is coming. Here’s proof!

IMG 2341

Nothing too fancy, but it does what it says on the tin. Here’s a shot of the home screen so you can see the icon and “top shelf” image.

IMG 2340


In order to get to the bad news, I have to talk a bit about how Magpie works. It uses Cloud Kit to store your saved videos. This saved information is part of your iCloud account, so it automatically follows you around to any device that you’re logged into iCloud with. It’s pretty goddamn magical, and it works great.

Having used iCloud since its inception, I’ve been able to happily ignore one shortcoming of the service: your iCloud login is a universal setting on the device. Only one iCloud account can be in use on your iPhone, your iPad, your Mac… and now, your AppleTV.

That limitation means that, for Magpie and other apps that use CloudKit to store its data, only one user’s data is available to an application at a time.

To bring it home with an example: if there are two Magpie users in the same house (ha ha! but anyway, use your imagination), only one of them will be able to watch their stuff in Magpie on the AppleTV. To see the other user’s videos, you’d have to laboriously visit the Settings and re-login as the new user.

Ever since the iPad came out, people have clamoured for a multi-user experience, so that different members of a family can share the same iPad. Apple has ignored that request, but it was presumably under the auspices of wanting everyone to own their own iPad.

With an AppleTV, that’s just downright impossible. The family room television can only reasonably have one AppleTV plugged into it.

Unlike with the iPad, I think real end users are going to get burned by this limitation. Ha ha, not Magpie users, but users of actually popular apps. I’m frankly amazed that Apple didn’t think of this use case. Maybe I’m just missing something (in which case I’ll update this post and burn with the everlasting shame that comes from being publicly wrong).

I’ve submitted a Radar to Apple (and on OpenRadar) about this issue. Please dupe this if you feel it’s important.

Just days later, and Apple has responded: this Radar has been closed as a Duplicate. Good news; hopefully a fix is planned.