Apple releases iTunes, Apple TV updates

By Philip Michaels, Macworld.com |  Personal Tech, Apple, Apple TV

Apple released software updates for both iTunes and Apple TV on Thursday that address performance issues with the former and security issues with the latter.

iTunes 8.0.1 improves stability and performance, according to release notes accompanying the 58.5 MB download in OS X’s Software Update tool. Specifically, the update includes a fix for iTunes 8’s newly introduced Genius feature. Now when you create a Genius playlist, iTunes will continue to seamlessly play the current song. What’s more, iTunes 8.0.1 addresses problems that crop up when syncing Genius results to your iPod.

Apple says the iTunes update also features a number of improvements, including syncing spoken menus to the iPod nano, checking for App Store updates, and VoiceOver accessibility. The update also addresses an issue of deleting HD TV episodes as they download, according to the release notes.

iTunes users who’ve installed the 8.0.1 update also report that the software aggregates high-definition and standard definition TV shows in a single listing rather than treating them as two different TV shows.

The primary focus of the Apple TV 2.2 update appears to be addressing security issues with Apple’s set-top box. An Apple Knowledge Base document says that the update addresses an issue where viewing “a maliciously crafted movie file” could lead to either “an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.” Apple says the update improves both the handling of atom length fields in movie codes and bounds checking of STSZ atoms, crediting Cody Pierce of Tipping Points DVLabs and Tipping Point’s Zero Day Initiative for raising the issues.

The update also fixes an issue where openly a malicious PICT image may cause applications to quit unexpectedly. Apple says the update performs additional validation of PICT images and credits Sergio Alvarez of n.runs for reporting the issue.

But Apple TV 2.2 adds new features as well as security patches, specifically adding support for the Genius capabilities introduced last month by Apple. If you click and hold on a song playing via the Apple TV, the device pops up a screen with “Start Genius” and “Add To On-The-Go” options. The same screen appears when you hold down the center button while on the Now Playing screen. The My Music menu adds a Genius submenu, and you can save and refresh Genius playlists.

HD now appears as an option in the TV purchases on the iTunes Store; previously, only standard-definition TV programs showed up. Apple TV’s updated software marks HD TV shows in the My TV Shows listing; likewise, individual episodes in HD have that mark.

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