There have been rumors for the last few months that Apple is working on a television for your home. The primary question I have is how will the Apple TV be revolutionary? For it to be successful in the TV space, they need to come with something that fundamentally changes the way we use our televisions and consume content.
Foxconn's Chairman Terry Gou recently said, "Foxconn is making preparations for an Apple TV." Rumor has it that the iTV will be Siri-enabled, and feature face time calling and an aluminum construction.
Apple won't just launch an aluminum LCD TV. They will want to... think differently.
Getting rid of cable and satellite companies
Does anyone really like the big ugly box sitting under their TV? If Apple can find a way to include DVR functionality into the iTV and bypass the standard cable and satellite boxes that we all hate, it would be huge. I see absolutely no way that Apple is going is going to allow a user experience that involves turning on your slick, aluminum Apple TV and having is boot into an ugly, 5 year old Comcast guide. Not going to happen. The question remains, will cable companies allow Apple to control the user experience of consuming content? It would be similar to the control Apple has over the mobile phone companies. If they do agree to it, Apple will be paying a hefty fee.
Pay for only the programs you want to watch
Similar to what you do now with iTunes and the current Apple TV, I'm sure that bite-size content consumption and purchasing will be part of this rollout. Want to only have a TV so that you can watch Dexter? Well you'll no doubt be able to do that with the iTV. I know lots of people who have the current Apple TV for this reason alone. Even if you can create your own monthly cable bill, I would like to see the ability to get entire channels as well. How nice would it be to get NBA, FOX, HBO, Showtime and that's it? I want the ability to blow up the cable and satellite companies concept of packages. Maybe this is exactly the kick in the pants that content creators and TV networks need to start creating good content again.
Second screen technology and it's role in the iTV
Second screen has been booming lately. If you watched this year's Superbowl then you know that there almost wasn't a commercial that aired that didn't prompt you to pull out your smartphone and scan a QR code, pull a web page, or join in the fun at a micro-site. We're going to continue to see more of this because that's how we watch TV these days. Most of the time when I'm watching I either have my laptop, tablet, or phone out. Disney and ESPN are both on board with pushing this technology. Sean Bratches the network’s executive vice president of affiliate and advertising sales, said today in an interview, "We’re a platform-agnostic content company.”. "To the extent that in the future there’s an opportunity with Apple to authenticate through the pay-TV food chain as we’re doing with Microsoft, that’s something that we will participate in.”
Imagine a world where you're watching an NBA playoff game on ESPN and on your iPad you have multiple cameras showing what's going on during a timeout, what the coach is telling his team during halftime, the ability to flip to other games, or even control which camera angle your iTV is displaying. That future is coming.
Social media integration
If you're anything like me and my friends and co-workers, we're always talking about the newest shows at the water cooler. Well, in my case it's a coffee pot. What if you could actually see a summary of what your friends had watched recently, and they could rate and recommend things to you through their televisions? My hope is that the iTV will include Facebook and Twitter integration and plugins. Why wait for the water cooler? If you enjoyed a TV show, you should be able to tell people about from your iTV when it's over or even while you're watching it.
Games, apps and more games
Lastly, Apple should be looking to take a chunk out of the gaming market. Traditionally dominated by consoles, we're seeing a huge shift in the way people game. Look for the iTV to be able to upscale an iPad game to full 1080p HD. Imagine watching seeing your games in full HD on your iTV and controlling them with your iPad or iPhone from the couch.
Of course, these are all just rumors. I'm sure that whatever Apple has planned will blow us all away. What do you think Apple has up it's sleeve?