If you guessed Apple TV, then you’re paying close attention to what happens (and does not happen) in Cupertino. Apple is getting serious about television. Apple TV finally got some engineering love and has been upgraded to set the stage for the company to disrupt the television industry with a flexible entertainment platform that merges multiple content and activity streams into a single– and much higher priced– device.
Siri, TV, Music, Games, Oh My!
Until Apple TV, the new one, ships and we get a chance to use it, I can’t be sure if it’s the coolest new device for watching television ever, or, if Apple’s executives said, “Screw the TV networks, let’s throw everything, including the kitchen sink, into this little box and jack up the price.”
What’s missing is the highly anticipated and much talked about Apple TV Subscription service, the one that would get millions of people to cut their cable TV cord. Instead, Apple TV 2015 marries a number of Apple products into a new device.
There’s a new remote with touch capability and much easier navigation; a remote that is easier to navigate and select TV shows and movies. And play games. The remote is a touch pad so gestures you already know and love work to navigate the screen. All you need is your thumb.
Siri is built-in, too, so simply asking a question can get results that range from simply opening up the YouTube app (or any apps) to searching for information about a star or movie while watching both on TV. Siri’s results are overlaid on the screen. Move your thumb across the pad to navigate. Press the microphone button to ask Siri questions.
Apple calls the new Apple TV experience “A TV experience you’ve never experienced” and while that’s technically true, the whole experience appears to be a mashup of Apple technologies that already exist.
The remote is an improvement (I love the little wrist band so keep the remote secure while you use it as a Wii-like game controller; accelerometer and gyroscope are built-in). So is the addition of Siri for navigation and search. Apple plans games, too, and you’ll be able to shop for applications from the TV App Store, just like iPhone, iPad, and Mac. But shopping for something to watch has two categories. Apple wants to sell you TV shows and movies, and applications will get you access to Netflix, Hulu, HBO, MLB, and other content provides. For a price. The new Apple TV hardware makes it easy to bounce between apps and navigate, but it also serves as home for cinematic screen savers. Apple Music is also included (the app, not the subscription service).
What’s missing is what we all want. A way to get access to popular TV shows and local TV so we can break free from the cable company with an Apple television streaming subscription service. That capability may come, but not this year.