I want one. A new one. Not the current one (well OK, I do want that too), but a new upgraded one!
Apple have been notoriously quiet on the Apple TV for more than a year, instead focusing on the phenomenal success that is the iPhone 3G, and iPod/MacBook refreshes. But is it possible, in the near or medium-term future, that we might get a long-overdue refresh on the device that Apple could use to tie together their converged home strategy?
Well let’s look at what the device could probably now do with:
- A bigger HD
- Full 1080p support
- More codec support
- Restyling of the hardware – the aluminium unibody…..?
- UI tweaks
- iPhone integration
For me, a user that doesn’t mind paying money for good quality content, the Apple TV is currently something that could be great purchase, yet I have the nagging doubt that (a) there is in fact a refresh round the corner, and (b) there are some key things missing (listed above) that I would need to make me a (very) happy user of it.
Key amongst these is 1080p support, and also better codec support. At the end of the day, whilst iTunes is a great conduit for some content, you are invariably going to have stuff at home that you want to load on the Apple TV. Right now, that has to be in specific formats, and can’t exceed 720p. In my opinion, all “HD” devices have to be 1080p capable – because they can always scale down from this spec to meet the needs of less capable displays, and then display at native resolution on those “Full HD” displays.
But are Apple missing a trick with iPhone integration too? The obvious (and in fact deployed) feature is to use the iPhone as a remote to control iTunes, but knowing the cross-application integration that Apple are usually very good at, are there some more innovative features that could be deployed on the TV device? Probably!
If Apple want to tie together their computing product lines with their Mobile devices lines more completely, then Apple TV does seem a very logical place to keep on building momentum (however slow it might be) – like it or not, the converged home is slowly gathering pace, and in the next 24 months, you can expect to see most consumer CE getting USB and Ethernet ports – even if the firmware in the device isn’t initially activated to use it – fully in the knowledge that devices will need to become “network-aware” .
Apple’s legendary secretiveness about devices means we may well not know anything about a successor to the Apple TV current generation devices, until it actually hits us – what a shame, as I’d love to be placing an online order for the next-gen, integrated, upgraded, and converged Apple TV box right now!
Readers, how do you feel? Would you buy an Apple TV with new (perhaps mobile-integrated) features? Which features matter to you?
You can check out the current Apple TV here.
[Image via: Apple]