Apple TV hasn’t seen much love from our favorite Cupertino, CA technology company in recent– what would you call it? Years? Sure, every month or two Apple TV users get a new channel to view, but many are lame and require a cable TV account to view. Everyone has an opinion on Apple TV, so here’s mine.
The Quiet Sales Leaders
There is plenty of competition for our TV viewing eyeballs, many of which compete with Apple TV. Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Walmart’s VUDU, and Roku. All less expensive than Apple’s $99 box.
Funny thing, though. Only Apple tells the world how many Apple TV’s get sold. Less than a year ago, the number was 20-million.
Apple honcho Tim Cook just announced that Apple TV was up to 25-million sold, so that would indicate that another 6-million or so have been sold in the past year. What other company has sold that many similar products in the past year?
If you listen to the folks on MacBreak Weekly tell it, Apple TV is steam operated when compared to Google’s Chromecast, Roku, and other TV wannabe solutions.
Uh, not so fast. Try installing and setting up Chromecast and Apple TV and using both from iPhone or iPad and tell me which setup and usage is easier, faster, better.
Alright, I get it. Apple TV is in need of an upgrade, update, something more useful, perhaps even more TV-like. Let’s start with more streaming content– not movies and TV shows for sale– that does not require a cable TV account already. What’s the point?
I groan through the user interface of every other Apple TV-like device, and maybe Apple is on to something with the simplicity of Apple TV’s 1999-ish menu structure (something is accounting for those millions of unit sales), but come on. How hard can it be?
The real reason to buy and use Apple TV is Apple’s secret weapon. AirPlay. It’s trivial to send a video from iPhone to iPad to a TV through Apple TV, so that makes it a natural for games. How about an SDK (software development kit) for app developers so they can create games and apps for Apple TV?
What I’d like to see in the next generation of Apple TV is a little Kinect-like 3D sensor tech mashed up with Siri and a built-in living room iSight-like FaceTime camera. Apple bought PrimeSense, the Israeli company that did Microsoft’s rather cool Xbox Kinect technology, so what’s going on with that purchase?
Note to CEO Tim Cook: jumble all those techn- pieces together, including some HomeKit and HealthKit hooks, place them into Apple’s product mixer and see what pops out. I’m thinking Siri as nanny, Siri as personal companion, Siri as counselor. Things like this come to mind:
“Bambi, your mother is calling on FaceTime. Should I put her up on the TV, so send her call to voice mail?”
“Bambi, it looks as if the FedEx delivery man is at the front door. Should I let him into the building?”
Or, in a different vein…
“Siri, can you find all the episodes of Dr. Who from last season?”
Perhaps something like…
“Siri, do I look fat in this dress?” Or, “Do these shoes match?” Or, “Siri, what’s my schedule look like tomorrow?” Or, “Siri, please order the dim sum from Mings to be delivered at 6:30.”
See? The next version of Apple TV should be a mashup (what Apple does best anyway) of new technologies; voice and facial recognition, context sensitive responses, TV, calendar, contacts, health and home.