A new Apple TV update is being talked about with media execs and Apple, reports the WSJ today. They're talking over the future of Apple TV and what it will be like, from the use of the voice activation in Siri to how this would play out across other Apple products like the iPhone and iPad. It also cities both the new rumored Apple TV set and existing Apple TV set-top box and how they could offer TV shows and movies for streaming.
"In recent weeks, Apple executives have discussed their vision for the future of TV with media executives at several large companies, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple is also working on its own television that relies on wireless streaming technology to access shows, movies and other content, according to people briefed on the project," reads the report from the Wall Street Journal.
They're talking Apple TV 3 with Siri of course, as Apple's big new product is sure to creep into every product experience for the near future. What's not clear is how fast all of this will come together - will the Apple TV release date be next year, or later? Think of TV shows and movies through iTunes and iCloud, then think how long it would take to get renewed licensing from as many big media partners as possible, and you've got a big task to complete. At hand here is the streaming of movies and TV shows (like Netflix with the on-demand "Watch Now" feature) vs. the traditional, buy it from iTunes, wait for it to download, THEN watch it practice that seems very old school these days. We know that there's Apple TV 3 code in iOS5, so the means for Apple to experiment is already in the wild.
Also, the future of Apple TV might not be split between and either or choice of an Apple TV set or the set-top box, but rather both -- a TV set in HDTV with ultra-fine specs could be high-end retail while the box could be more affordable, one for the masses.
Still, whatever future is at hand for an Apple TV update seems very bright. the emerging platform of iCloud opens a possibility of all sorts of Apple TV apps to be created, so the future could be more open-ended than just a pre-defined Apple curatorial approach. This brings Apple a little more in line with a Google TV approach (creating a platform for others to build on as much as Apple's walled garden approach of user experience.) In the Apple TV vs Google TV fight, this helps Apple to compete where they've been lacking - creating a platform. The app store was probably a good median for Apple - create a platform and a curated approach by approving apps -- the best of both worlds. The WSJ report talks of Apple TV responding to both "voices and movements," so the possibility of a Xbox Kinect style response to gestures as a means to navigate channels is possible. Whether this done by Apple or as a third-party app is unclear.
The last big item is the inclusion of the Apple iPad and iPhone alongside the iMac and other Apple computers to allow for seamless watching, meaning that you can start and stop a movie or TV show on one device and pick up where you left off on another. This what last week's news of the Apple "Connected TV" was all about. Watching a movie in the living room via http://www.google.com/tv/, and you get tired and decide to watch the rest in bed via your new Apple iPad 3? You can resume on the iPad where you left off in the living room. Again, this is a catch-up feature as Netflix already offers this, so Apple TV vs. Netflix is a game where Apple has fallen behind. Still, a future that combines a new Apple TV update with Siri, iTunes and iCloud possibilities for media and Apple TV apps, and the use the iPad or even iPhone for on-the-go watching makes the future look bright.
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