Apple says the future of television is here. 55 years ago then FCC chairman Newton Minow called television “a vast wasteland.” What’s changed since then? The wasteland is more vast than ever. We need Apple to step in an invent TV for the masses again. Again? Yes. The last time didn’t work.
Can We Talk?
If you love all things Apple and plan to vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump then you need to stop reading right now because it’s obvious that in this political age that a little truth doesn’t go very far but it sure can hurt. Apple’s newest Apple TV is an improvement on the older Apple TV versions, but it is not, as Apple says, ‘the future of television.’
Before I get to Apple TV’s new TV app, let me describe my perspective on using Apple TV gen 4 so far. First, the remote is, uh, cumbersome. That little touch pad on the top requires lots of effort to make it work correctly and not skip over Apple TV apps. Second, Siri can only be summoned with a button click, not just ‘Hey Siri…’ like on my iPhone. Third, everything is applications, and while that sounds terrific– Apple says there are 8,000 apps available now, a couple thousand games– scrolling through a few hundred apps is visually painful; like watching an orange politician trying to speak in complete sentences.
Maybe the worst feature is one that’s actually an improvement. Apple has a single sign-on option so you can use one sign-in to get to the applications that require an account; including all those from your local cable TV provider. I mean, if you have cable TV already, what’s the point of Apple TV?
Back To The Future
Sometime later this year or early next year Apple TV will have a new app. So will iPhone and iPad. It’s called the TV App and the claim to fame is simple. TV App gives you an easier way to find out what you can watch on Apple TV, including all those TV network apps you downloaded and subscribe to.
Watch Now – this is where available TV shows and movies show up from the aforementioned apps and iTunes.
Recommended – TV App lets you explore curated and trending shows and movies; which is a polite way of saying Apple recommends you watch what they want you to watch. Otherwise, close your eyes and click.
Up Next – if you’ve been binge watching a series or a movie rental or purchase, these are presented so you can pick up where you left off.
Library – for those of us with a collection of iTunes TV shows and movies they’re available in this tab.
Live Tune-in – Siri can help you find live news and sports on Apple TV so long as they’re not local news and so long as you’re subscribed to the correct sports channel. This is a good idea but what I’m not seeing are options for the rest of us.
The Rest Of Us
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Television needs to be reinvented. Apple claims to have done that a couple of times already but I still find myself switching back and forth between Apple TV and my local cable TV provider because, you know, choice. Apple may have 1,600 TV video apps available, but it’s much like watching YouTube where you spend as much time looking for something to watch as you do actually watching something you want to watch.
Apple needs to invent TV again, and Apple TV even with TV app isn’t the future. The future is video on demand. All movies, all TV shows, anytime and on any device. Or, at least give me the option to get a hundred decent TV channels for a half-way decent price tag so I can cut the cable TV cord.
AT&T’s DirecTV Now with 100 channels for $35 a month seems like something Apple should have built into Apple TV.