For some time now, rumors have ebbed and flowed around the idea of Apple building a television set. While many praise the idea, I downright detest it. Why am I against an Apple manufactured TV? Simple. It just doesn’t fit their business model. As well, building a television set is not forward thinking on Apple’s part. Actually, it’s lazy. It’s copy cat. Thing is, anyone can build a tele. Call Samsung, order some displays and add in your GUI. Mix. Serve.
Apple is known for creating eco-systems. A classic example is the iPod. Consider that while there were several music players existing when the iPod was released, it’s ease-of-use hooked millions of people and they needed headphones, speakers, and a way to connect it to their car stereo. With each need, a new market category opened up. Numerous SKUs of cases, ear buds, headphones, adapters, chargers, holders… the list goes on! It’s one of the reasons the iPhone became a huge success.
So now consider a lowly TV built by Apple. Sure, there are many who would flock to the set for no more a reason other than it has Apple’s name on it. But I already have this in the form of an AppleTV connected to a Samsung display. With such a dead simple solution, what could a TV by Apple bring to the table?
Nothing from my perspective.
Now consider, with a TV by Apple, what sort of aftermarket can we expected for it?
You can’t put a case on it. It doesn’t require a charging base. Okay, maybe we can hook up some AirPlay speakers but that’s only going to work part of the time (and this from an Apple Fanboy – neither my Sony receiver, nor my Bose Soundtouch can keep the music going for more that a couple of hours tops). So what else can third party accessory makers contribute to the party? Not much.
The current-gen AppleTV needs help. Global search is the first item I’d like to see on the feature list. Some pie-in-the-sky ideas I imagine include a revision of AirPlay, the broken Sonos-killer. Or let’s say they copy what RogueAmeoba is doing with AirFoil. That would kick ass. But, still that just leaves us with nothing more than a TV meet’s AppleTV meets AirFoil.
No, for me, I would like to see something bolder from Apple. Some thinking that is seriously different.
I once read something by a Silicon Valley tech genius that went along the lines of, ‘look for outdated technology that can benefit from being reinvented’. I’m sure I butchered his thought, but the gist of it is, look for opportunities in areas where little has changes for generations. It is this strategy that generates the biggest payoff. ApplePay is a great example.
As I look at the living room, there sits a device that is so outdated, so in need of a makeover that it just blows me away that Apple hasn’t noticed it. There have been hundreds of attempts to reinvent it. All have failed. Even the industry responsible for them has attempted to incorporate new features like Bluetooth, AirPlay and NFC playback. Yet not so much as one has become the game changer.
No other device in the living room today has so many things attached to it. It comes with a built-in eco-system that can be greatly enhanced by offering wireless version of its primary output.
That black box that receives AM/FM has been doing the same basic job forever. It can be unwieldy to configure, the interfaces are varied, as are the terms describing the same feature across different brands. It comes in a variety of sizes, some with clocks built in, others with large alien-esque speakers and handles. The lowly stereo receiver should be the object to which Apple should affix it’s target.
So now imagine a device that ingests the AppleTV, can drive any speaker in your home via AirPlay, allows you to setup a wireless home theater that uses Bonjour for self-configuration, has a built-in 802.11ac (or whatever the latest spec is) and connects via wireless router, doesn’t need HDMI because it streams video to your TV via AirPlay – and can stream it to multiple AppleTVs in the house. All controlled by our iPods, iPhones, or iPads. Need more? It would be open to apps and connect to HomeKit so that you could make the house appear like there’s a party while you’re out on vacation.
Think of the eco-system that would develop around such a beast.
Me, I’d back up a Brinks truck to get one.
What are your thoughts. Share them below.