How the Apple iTV will work

Most journalists now believe Apple will be releasing a TV this year. Speculating over Apple's plans is close to impossible, but if we look closely at what Apple have been releasing over the last few years I think we can predict what an Apple iTV would be like. There are a lot of problems. All of which would be solved by taking the problems out of the TV set and instead making it a much more connected device.

Go to market problem

When asked what he thought about set top boxes a few years ago Steve Jobs famously replied that there was no good go to market strategy.

The TV market is very different from Apple's usual markets in that consumers tend to buy new TVs close to 10 years apart. While Apple prefers to update their products every year.

"What is remarkable is how Apple can use iOS devices as wireless set top boxes for the Apple iTV."

The Apple iTV though, won't need to be updated every year. I believe Apple will release basically a huge monitor with some inputs and a decoding chip. The chip will easily be able to push 1080p or maybe even higher quality video in crisp quality. But in itself that is not remarkable. What is remarkable is how Apple can use iOS devices as wireless set top boxes for the Apple iTV.

User interface

Apple has always been famous for their interfaces. From the mouse to the click-wheel to the touch screen, Apple has always tried to create intuitive and immersive user interfaces. For the Apple iTV they have just released a UI that seems perfect for a TV set. Siri.

Using natural language to control your TV could be spectacular. Of course they'll probably throw in an Apple remote just to make everyone comfortable. But I will bet we will all be telling our TVs to turn on and off in the near future. And all iOS devices would also control the iTV, of course.

Content

Think of all your content from your Mac, your iOS device and your iTunes account seamlessly streamed through iCloud. The Apple iTV hardly even needs any local storage.

Some exclusive deals with production companies are sure to come. But if we look in the Apple media library they already have a really good offering. What they lack is real time programming. Most real time broadcasting is already available for iOS devices however. Which brings us to apps.

Apps

The Apple iTV doesn't need apps. Don't get me wrong, I want apps. But here's the magic sauce in my prediction. Apple won't make the iTV a stand alone device. The market doesn't update their TVs often enough for that. Instead the iTV will be an insanely great screen on which to project your content. From iOS devices. From iCloud. From Mac. Where you find AirPlay, you'll be able to push content to your iTV.

Real Racing2 Party Play

Want to play a game? Use your iPad or iPhone for controls and they'll sync the games graphics onto your iTV screen.

Want to see a movie? Start it on any device and just click AirPlay to show it on your iTV.

Want to listen to music? You get the point.

This might sound underwhelming. Apple's announcements often seem so at first glance. But then you realize what a profound change in the way you use technology it offers. Think about having a monitor at home that can play all your digital content. No matter what it is. Playing a game on your Mac? Watching a movie on your iPad? How about doing both side by side. Since the devices steam it to the iTV, it can handle anything you throw at it. Why not let your kids play games while you watch the news? Someone walks in with some photos to show? Put them up there with everything else.

"The best thing about it is that it doesn't need updates."

The best thing about it is that it doesn't need updates. Siri will get smarter through iCloud. More and more content will be available through iTunes. And every time you buy a new phone or tablet the iTV get's a major bump in features and power.

All wireless. All simple. A perfect Apple strategy. Or is it?

The desktop metaphor is being replaced

"The desktop metaphor was invented because ... you had to manage your own storage" - Steve Jobs, 1996

He was right.

The desktop metaphor was great because you had all your files and needed to be able to navigate and store them. Today with standards for different types of data this metaphor is becoming obsolete. Most things can and are stored on the web.

Stored in accounts, used and read by apps that handle those file types.

How much more intuitive will general computing be when people no longer need to handle the management and storage of files?

Time consumers

For my Bachelors thesis I'm writing a design document for an expansion of an MMO and reporting on how I can msot effectively communicate that design to others.
For my design my mentor and friend Ola Holmdahl gave me a book about the insecurity in our society today because of the many fractured facets of our lives we are trying to control. Compared to the life long professions and family life of a hundered years ago many people are becomming stressed and unsecure.

This is a problem of information, a problem that is turned on its head in MMOs where we face the same issue but see it suface as boredom instead. Players choosing to stop playing after the single player campaign is over or after the first five or so levels.

But this is great news to any crafty coders and internet savvy people out there. The first person to create a community similar to linkedIn and with the functions of Gmail and Google Calendar that works online and from a mobile platform wins.

One community for finding jobs and projects, or workers and qualifications.
That also helps you communicate and keep track of you shopping lists and random tasks. As well as lets the project plan it's resources and taskes.

We could quell the whole problem before it becomes and epidemic. But I don't really think this will happen for some years to come. The problem is that it is too wide a target for investors. "You want people to do all that? With an understandable interface? It will never work...".

It will take a lot of time, and a lot of resources. I'm available for hire by the way... ;)