What Exactly Would the “Apple TV” Be?

No, I don’t mean the little Apple-branded set top box that was commonly referred to as “Steve Jobs’ hobby.” I’m talking about the full-fledged, widely rumored, Apple Television. What exactly would this mystic product be, exactly? I don’t think it would be a simple flat screen television with Samsung parts and a familiar software suite, that’s for sure.

If Apple is going to release a television, it’s undoubtedly going to have some “revolutionary” and “magical” characteristics that would make it somewhat desirable. An LCD with a built-in Apple TV set top box wouldn’t cut it, and of course, it probably wouldn’t sell. But what could Apple bring to the market that would revolutionize the way we look at television? I have a few ideas.

First, they could bring “retina” technology to the big screen. This of course has the potential to be extremely expensive (even more so a few years ago), but a retina-like television coupled with content that was of equal resolution would definitely be something we haven’t really seen. Of course, TV resolutions are much more standardized, but maybe Apple could help bring on the newest version of “High Definition.”

We all watch “TV” in many ways, and watching programming on a standard cable box is becoming even less common. As many have noted, the Apple TV could potentially hinder the growth of cable companies. I, personally, am not all too opposed to this, but maybe Apple could partner with them instead. Apple’s TV could uniquely integrate all viewing experiences in one and partner with the cable and satellite providers to offer a seamless interface, regardless of what company you chose to purchase your programming from. If any company could achieve this, it would be Apple.

The TV would feature everything that is already apart of the Apple TV set top box, but I think that the launch of an actual Apple TV would allow for a controlled ecosystem and the opportunity for Apple to introduce a living room App Store. The difference between a set top box and an actual television is the universal screen size and experience, something that has been a big part of the App Store since the beginning. Everything about the App store is uniform in some way, all the way down to Apple’s design guidelines and app icon gloss. Coupled with a native app store, the TV could also come with a remote that’s sole purpose would be to control these apps.

For the television to be a success, Apple is going to have to surprise us and convince the general population that their new product is something new, and something that intends to completely overhaul the way we watch TV. How they will do that, I don’t know. What features do you think would come packed with the Apple television?

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One response to What Exactly Would the “Apple TV” Be? and 18 more on the forums.
  1. Hi, never read your blog before but found this article in my Zite for iPad. Like it.

    I agree a TV set is useless. The HDTV market is renowned for commoditization and paltry profits, not an arena anyone should want to break into, least of all a premium profit company like Apple. Plus as you said Samsung, LG, and others already make screens for iDevices. Wouldn’t they just get a bigger lion’s share if they were responsible for a 50″ screen?

    Apple is about hardware and user experience. I don’t see how they can improve upon HDTV hardware (have you seen to top Samsungs?), but they sure as hell can improve on every TV interface experience in existence, because they almost all suck 1990′s bad. Plus that interface layer between user and content is where all the control is. Apple doesn’t make content so they can’t control content, but if they make a set top that interdicts every TV activity they can control what, how, and if one accesses it.

    I blogged about this almost a year ago (http://danliv.net/post/17256617640/apple-itv-should-be-a-super-tivo), and its still true. I have TiVo and its awesome. Best TV interface out there, but still could be much better. The perfect set top box would have:

    1. DVR, either local drive or cloud
    2. Complete programming guide
    3. On-demand; purchase, rent, and free streaming.
    4. Local network media streaming
    5. Apps

    Apple TV has most of 3 (needs free streaming, al la Netflix), 4 (needs broader filetype support), and 5 (needs full iOS app capability, which is inevitably coming). All Apple needs to do is add DVR capability, cable card compatibility for the oodles of cable subscribers, programming guide, and finally a BITCHIN’ slick overlay interface that deftly intercepts every interactive user command.

    The future holds much more, but right now what more could people want than complete control of their local, on-demand, and live  media content via an Apple-designed interface? That’ll hold me until 2015-ish.

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