What’s keeping the Apple TV


iTV.001_samsung_d8000_side1.pngiTV.001_samsung_d8000_side1.png

A fully fledged Television or a very updated Apple TV box, the rumors about Apples entry into the living room has been growing steadily since the introduction of the iPad.
I recently saw a concept for a user interface of the Apple TV, and to me it clearly showed just why Apple is not in this market yet. Apple is missing a core piece of technology.

The missing piece

Apple clearly puts a lot of thought into their User Interfaces. The iPod, the iPhone and the iPad all changed how we interact with these types of devices. The same has been true for OS X, their PC operating system. But in classic Apple fashion, one of the hardest problems to solve has been delegated to the future by working around it. User Management on all of Apples devices is still pretty poor.

login screen OS X

On the Mac it works fine, log out of your account and log into another. But sharing apps and files across accounts is a nightmare. Accounts work almost as completely separate repositories. Which might be good from a security perspective, but is crazy for usability.

On iOS accounts simply are not available. The machines are made to be so personal you can’t really hand around an iPad for fear of people messing up your settings.

A lot of families work around this issue by simply sharing an account. But this makes iMessages and many other Apple features difficult or impossible to use. Clearly there’s something missing here.

On the concept at the top of this post the Apple TV is shown receiving a notification. Who for? The person that set up the Apple TV probably. But that would cause no end of problems for most users. A TV simply is not a single user device.

Apple won’t chance an entire new market without some solution to this problem. But this means their entire infrastructure needs to be upgraded to support group accounts.

Think about the problem of making a family login for iTunes. How will the rights be managed for a shared account? How will movie execs be sure we’re not all sharing a single iTunes accounts?

Today, rentals are locked to the device they are rented on. This might be a short time solution, but with AirPlay and the increasing amount of TVs in a single home it becomes restrictive and hard to manage.

Apple needs an entirely new way to manage users and material rights. And they need it in place before they can launch a full living room device.

Personally, I can’t wait. My Netflix account on my Apple TV is overrun by my partners odd choice of shows to watch.

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.
Continue reading “How the Apple iTV will work”

iPad 3 without buttons

The iPad three will probably have a button, but you’ll never use it. Before the iPad 2 was announced there were rumors that Apple were preparing an iPad without a home button. There was much debate and the rumor seemed drastic. But the rumors are actually true.

New interface gestures for iOS 4.3 which shipped on the iPad2 lets you multitask without using the home button. Pinch to homescreen let’s you close apps without the button and swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar let’s you exit apps that are running in the background. Effectively making the home button a relic of the past.

So from the release of iOS5 (probably with the iPhone 5 this june) you might never need to use a button on an iOS device again. Some of you might think that’s a great thing, I for one would love it since I rarely double click fast enough, and others might think it’s useless.

The tail end of this effect is that you could, theoretically, controll all the interactions with apps running on an Apple TV with a Magic Trackpad…

Let the rumor mills run wild! 😉

The future of Apple TV – sans apps

The new Apple TV
The were a lot of rumors around before the launch of the new Apple TV, the most interesting ones from Engadget that claimed the Apple TV would be fully compatible with iOS apps. But Steve Jobs claimed it had no local storage, how would that work?

Apple TV presentation says: no storage

Looking at the tech specs page of the Apple TV site I can’t find any information about storage though. There must be some storage to fascilitate buffering of video but it could work just fine with only RAM.

What the future of the Apple TV will be no one knows. But if it doesn’t have local storage it won’t ever handle apps. We’ll have to wait for the next generation.

Now begins to long wait for the post launch tear down that will tell us if it has local storage or not.