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Apple TV gets bad reception

As of Macworld 2008, someone pressed the reset button on the Apple TV. While there’s some nice additions to the Apple home media player, is it good enough to be called Apple TV 2.0?

As of Macworld 2008, someone pressed the reset button on the Apple TV. While there’s some nice additions to the Apple home media player, is it good enough to be called Apple TV 2.0?

I recently opined prior to Macworld 2008 about what new shape Apple TV might take. After all, it’s less than stellar performance necessitated some kind of update. But the question is, did Apple go far enough with the Apple TV? Yoav of Codswallop didn’t think so:

“What would you expect from a TV device? TiVo-like functionality? Media Center capability? Storage? Apple TV has none of those things. Sad, but true.”

Yoav, makes some good points, there’s no doubt about that. These are the arguments I’ve heard people putting forward since the Apple TV first abortively broke cover back in February 2007.

Apple as a media business

One thing you have to consider though, is the mind of Steven P. Jobs. Here’s a man who doesn’t like complication or clutter.

Yes, competing devices have hard drives, DVR features, TV tuners and hard drives, among other things. But it’s as well to consider why Apple leave such things out.

First of all — and as I mentioned earlier — such feature inclusions would increase the general clutter and complicatedness of using the Apple TV. So it’s a question of usability more than anything else.

Secondly, the Apple TV is a vehicle for Apple’s own ambitions and media deals first. Everything else is a very distant second.

Think of the addition of YouTube video — might that be attributed to Apple having Eric Schmidt, Google CEO on their board of directors?

Thirdly, because of the “end-to-end” expectations of their customers, anything Apple squeeze into the Apple TV would probably need to work across a number of different devices, such as the home iMac, iPhone and iPod Touch. As is the case with their new movie rental service.

In time, I think we’ll see things like DVR functionality and storage, but they’ll probably be added to a new high-end Apple TV — maybe called Apple TV Pro, or something similarly prosaic and simple.

What do you think — are Apple on your wavelength, or is the Apple TV sending out the wrong signals?

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

3 replies on “Apple TV gets bad reception”

I was really hoping for an optical drive in the new Apple TV personally but at the same time I wasn’t holding my breath. It would’ve been great but it’s obvious that Jobs (and therefore Apple) are trying to get us all to buy our music, films, TV programmes etc. online and so negate the need for such an addition. Whether this is to increase the simplicity of the device or to simply make more money, only he/they know(s).

Having said that I have decided that as soon as I upgrade my TV to a HD-ready model (a couple of years away at least, barring breakdowns) I shall be picking up an Apple TV at the same time or at least very soon afterwards — after all, it’ll handle my music, photos and podcasts too and, for now, I have the lovely, lovely HandBrake.

There’s no point antagonizing the movie studios. And like I said in the Macworld 2008 article, Steve Jobs feel their pain — so he’s not likely to undermine or annoy them by cutting through a very lucrative revenue stream…

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