Thoughts on the Upcoming Apple TV

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Apple TV

If you followed my Twitter account during Apple's event yesterday, you'll know that I was most excited about the Apple TV update.  Apple TV is a neglected gem inside the Apple world, and despite it not really being enhanced in the past few years, I'd still assert it's better than what Roku and Amazon Fire stick offer.

So on a basic level, what did we learn yesterday?  This:

  • New touch-based remote
  • Siri
  • Bluetooth remote
  • App store with games
  • Screensavers based on time of day
  • New user interface
  • Apple music
  • Releasing "late October"

Full disclosure: I own Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and Amazon Fire stick.

Seeing I'm a huge Apple TV fan and user, I thought I'd share some thoughts on what we learned yesterday:

  • I may have made my wife watch the Apple TV presentation....
  • The fact that Apple is now putting some effort into Apple TV makes me smile.  The market is huge and Roku and Amazon have done nothing to lay claim as the best.
  • I don't think "smart TVs" stand up to this new Apple TV as I can't see their creators having an update cycle like Apple does.  App vendors (like Netflix, Hulu, etc.) will surely prioritize Apple TV above "smart TV" OS'.  The Roku TVs are nice but since Roku doesn't stand up to Apple's offering, I still think a separate box is best.
  • I wouldn't be shitting myself if I were Nintendo but you have to think it's a fairly significant blow.  Nintendo was first to the large scale motion gaming fad but they haven't done enough to make it their own.  In a year I can see Apple TV competing with them in game quality but (obviously) never in game brand.  If Apple can brand a Mario-like character though....whoa.
  • My two year-old will love the gaming and it's a good intro to what gaming is. The games would be mind-blowing but simple enough for him to get the gist of wave-controller-game-does-something. I'm can't wait to see the smile on his face. We have a wii but it's probably not working overkill for a two year old.
  • The new remote looks great -- I used my iPhone instead of the Apple TV remote most of the time anyway...
  • ...because stuff was always blocking the Apple TV box.  Now that the remote works via bluetooth we can mount the box behind the TV!
  • The new screensavers look nice but ... not something I would have kicked off the presentation with.  Or even really mentioned....
  • ...and my two year-old son will be pissed about the screensaver update -- he loved the animation photos.
  • $150 seems like a fair price point for all of the enhancements
  • App store will be interesting, especially when it comes to music.  You knew Pandora wouldn't be on Apple TV (due to iTunes) but now that there's an app store, there's really no way to prevent other free or paid music services.
  • I never use Siri for anything but my wife's favorite new feature was asking for a show and Siri searching across all the apps. She can't remember if a show is on HBO or Showtime, which I personally find offensive.
  • I just bought a new 4k TV last week.  No mention of 4k in the presentation.  Boooooo.

Those are my initial thoughts.  What did you think?

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  1. I agree, I’m very excited for this update and share your “finally” sentiment. As a web dev tho, I’m confused why there isn’t a WebView, only TVML which isn’t the same. Hardware specs are fast enough to run Safari or Cordova/PhoneGap so not sure why they limited it there. All in the name of controlling the user experience?

  2. Bethany

    I thought this was the most exciting announcement yesterday! It doesn’t seem to be getting a whole lot of hype.

    I’ve always been a big fan of Siri. Siri is so much faster than navigating through a bunch of screens to get to something. This is especially important on a TV! No more kludgy menus.

    I’m with you. Take my money!

  3. Zach

    I’m really excited as a customer, and more so as a game developer working to produce family-friendly games for iOS. The remote is by no means a replacement for hardcore gamer controllers, but should be enough for any casual game or platformer. I can imagine games where a family passes the remote around to take turns at a game, or multiple controllers connecting to the new Apple TV for some co-op or competitive action in Disney Infinity or Skylanders. You can already do iOS gaming on your TV with AirPlay or the Lightning-to-HDMI adapter, but if tvOS allows iPhones to communicate with it as game controllers then that is going to open up a lot of options for developers.

  4. Nuno Ferreira

    As a power user I still think that nothing comes close to Kodi. Not being locked to a particular combination of OS + Hardware is a freedom that I cherish the most. As such, the hundreds of Android and Windows 8/10 media boxes have already those capabilities and more for a fraction of the price.

  5. n

    It’s mostly what I already know from Amazon’s FireTV. We’ll have yet to see if there’ll be better apps. And FireTV supports webapps even on the stick, which is also a lot cheaper.

  6. I’m excited about this too! But there is not as much hype as I expected either

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