“I finally cracked it” Those were the words of the late Steve Jobs when conversing with Walter Isaacson in regard to the Apple TV.
Here’s the full quote from Steve Jobs which pertains to the Apple TV:
‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it”
In fact, up until that revelation many within the industry were ambivalent about Apple’s interest within the television market.
Some surmised conquering the television market would be an insurmountable task for Apple and thus inferring that Apple’s devotion of resources and employees to such a project would be futile.
But that fallacious argument is ignoring an integral component of Apple’s DNA: They thrive on accomplishing the seemingly impossible; they derive satisfaction from falsifying the doubts. And while it’s true, innovating in the television market presents many challenges, Apple are just the company to provide an innovative solution; with the adeptness of their software teams, and the ingenuity of their engineers they can make the same impact on television as they did for music, phones and tablets. The market is ripe for a revolutionary device and Apple will be the ones to provide it.
Intricacies of such a device:
So what’s the most auspicious approach for Apple?
Hardware: Suffice to say how competent Apple are regarding aesthetics of a device. One just has to look at their MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, & iMacs to see the meticulousness and the scrupulousness. So I think it’s self-explanatory that their television set will look stunning. FaceTime camera? Possible, but I think that’s superfluous. 4K? Just isn’t viable in the next few years due to the extortionate price of 4K technology so I think it’s unrealistic to expect a higher resolution than 1080P. Siri? Yes, I think Siri will be an integral part of the experience. Affordability will be another huge aspect of the set, and I’d expect Apple to have different sizes. 40″ will be somewhere around the $800 dollar mark and the 50″ will be approximately $1000. But what about consumers who already have an adequate television set and want the software to enhance their experience? Well Apple will offer a solution for them too; it will be reminiscent of the current box, very unobtrusive and very affordable. Under the $150 mark.
Movie and Television content: In my opinion this is the most important prerequisite for launching this device. Apple currently offer both Movie and television shows on their iTunes stores, but their selling mechanism is antiquated. In my opinion there is immense credence to the premise that streaming services are the more appealing solution opposed to buying episodes of television shows for 2.99 per episode. Apple will need to be rectify this problem before the release of the set. Subscription services have demonstrably been successful as is evidenced by services like Netflix and Spotify; unfortunately for Netflix they don’t have exclusive rights to a lot of appealing newly released content. We’re all aware of the abundance of cash Apple has in the bank and this is where it’s going to pay dividends; in fact this is probably the nuisance postponing the launch of the device opposed to technical limitations. But Apple have so much cash at their disposal they will eventually obtain rights to this coveted content. My inkling is the service will be probably the most seductive thing about the device. For $15 a month you will be able to avail of all the newly released television shows from Fox, ABC etc a day after they air and you will also be able to enjoy all the newly released movies. If Apple can provide an aforementioned service that will be very conducive to success.
Live Sport: Another complication for Apple, in fact this is probably one of the salient reasons many are still availing of cable television. There just isn’t a viable alternative to watching live sport. A month ago ESPN launched an App for the Apple TV (box) which allows users to watch live sports, but there is one caveat. You have to have a cable subscription to ESPN which kind of nullifies the purpose of this app. But one has to assume it’s inevitable that ESPN will permit users to watch live sport without the stipulation of a subscription to cable television. And if ESPN do and it’s successful expect other networks to follow suit.
App Store & integration: At WWDC Apple released an API for developers that will allow them to utilise gaming controllers with their games, this move will incentivise game manufactures to design a copious amount of gaming controllers. This shrewd move gives more incentive for game developers to incorporate airplay support into their games, so users can then play them on the big screen and also solves the problem of a tactile controller. And since all the processing power can be done on the iOS device it won’t require any considerable processing power on the Apple tv. That’s a prelude to my next point: What if Apple came to the realisation that an App Store for the Apple TV may already be dispensable. There is an inordinate amount of iOS devices around the world, and these devices all already have the capability to perform arduous tasks. So what if Apple decided that iOS devices would be used to power 3rd party applications on the television? So let me expound on this theory: Apple would make it a requirement for every app to have an Apple TV variation, the app would be more sophisticated than its iOS counterpart and would be redesigned completely for the bigger screen. One notable positive to this proposition is that the Apple TV could be reduced significantly in cost because it wouldn’t be as reliant on considerable processing power. Of course there are drawbacks to this theory too: 1. iOS device becomes a requirement to derive full gratification out of Apple TV. 2. Broadband limitations could pose a problem. I think it’s an interesting theory, but despite that I still envisage that Apple will launch a standalone App Store for the TV, and that seems to be the general consensus too and If that is their intention it may be imminent.
Apple are primed to deliver another innovative product and completely redefine another category of device. Many users are yearning for a seamless experience with regard to television and I have an inkling Apple will captivate them once again!