Apple TV Update Appears Imminent

Ever since Steve Jobs was quoted in Walt Isaacson's Jobs biography as having "nailed" the television dilemma, and really before then, Apple watchers have been looking for an integrated Apple television set. I never thought it was practical, as the TV set market is pretty cutthroat, with newer entries like Vizio driving sizes up and prices down. It's hard for Apple to enter that market, make a difference, and charge a consistently profitable price. But where they could leverage their expertise is in user interface, remote control, home automation, and thanks to their acquisition of PrimeSense (the Israeli firm behind Kinect), gestures and gaming.

Reports indicate that Apple executives realized this too, and the fruits of their labor, an updated set top box, could debut at June's Worldwide Developers Conference. The timing makes sense, as Apple recently dropped the price of the current Apple TV unit from $99 to $69 (and as low as $59 on their refurbished store.) HBO's NOW app lets non-cable customers become HBO customers via an app. The hot trend dubbed, "Over The Top" (OTT), allows consumers to access content by going over the top of cable providers. Apple could pour gasoline on that fire and make it practical to cut the cord. The next generation Apple TV is expected to run third-party apps, via a new software framework dubbed TVKit. If so, Apple's WWDC is a good opportunity to train app developers how to make apps for the small screen. Ironically, this could be the year that Apple expanded iOS apps to screens as small as 38 mm and as large as your family room wall!

AirPlay

9to5mac.com reports that the next Apple TV could be twice the size of the current Apple TV, yet slightly thinner, making it closer to the Apple SuperDrive in size, or a thinner Mac mini. Siri integration would also be a part of the offering, which could be what Steve Jobs was referring to as the improved television interface.

I always hoped for a projector with built-in Apple TV functionality. That would be great for corporate boardrooms and allow everyone to connect via AirPlay and share their screens without wires. I also have a projector in my bedroom, connected to the current Apple TV and it's great for Netflix, etc. For years, I have used a variety of Logitech Harmony remotes to manage everything, but an updated Apple Remote with touchpad is rumored to be part of the next Apple TV and that could make things interesting.

The next Apple TV could also serve as a hub for HomeKit enabling automation of more than entertainment such as door locks, lighting, thermostats, and more. I am using Quirky's Wink Hub and it's a pleasure to automate my front door, garage door, and even propane tank. I get alerts on my iPhone (which are also relayed to my Apple Watch) when the doors open or when the tank is low. I would love to see what Apple, and third parties, can do with HomeKit. And Apple TV could be a big part of that.

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Author Details

Todd Bernhard

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.