The new software arrives just a couple of days later than it was rumored to appear. But those reports did correctly reveal that Apple was planning to update the AirPlay wireless streaming functionality of its set-top box.
The new AirPlay over iCloud functionality allows users to take any purchased iTunes content ? such as music, movies or TV episodes ? and stream it directly to an Apple TV that may not be configured with their iTunes login credentials. The authentication is instead provided wirelessly by a connected iOS device, like an iPhone or iPad.
Apple TV 6.0 also adds access to purchases from the iTunes Music Store, and allows users to sync their podcasts. Photos from a shared Photo Stream can also be accessed.
Finally, the latest Apple TV software brings the newly launched iTunes Radio service, which is similar to established streaming Internet music provider Pandora. iTunes Radio debuted on Wednesday on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with the release of iOS 7.
The new Apple TV update may be the last software refresh before the company's rumored Apple TV hardware reboot. The company took delivery of a mysterious shipment of "set top boxes" in the days leading up the iPhone 5s and 5c announcement.