Get Ready for Apple TV Evolution

| Analysis

TV sucks, we're stuck with glorified VCRs, and it's time for a change. So said Apple's senior vice president of Internet services and software Eddy Cue at Re/code's Code Conference on Wednesday, hinting that its time for Apple TV to evolve again.

Apple'sEddy Cue ready for the next Apple TV evolutionApple'sEddy Cue ready for the next Apple TV evolution

"The TV experience sucks," he said. "All we have today is glorified VCRs." Mr. Cue added that the overall television experience "has been stuck."

That's Apple-talk for something is coming from the company. Mr. Cue didn't offer up details, but did at least offer a small hint saying that Apple TV will continue to evolve.

Apple has been long rumored to be planning big changes for the television viewing experience, but so far all we've seen is the Apple TV changing from a content storage system to a content streaming system, plus the slow expansion of channels available on the device. Reports that Apple is developing its own television have circulated for years, but so far there hasn't been any indication that one is really on the way.

Mr. Cue hinted that Apple may be working on making Apple TV an entertainment nexus. "One of the problems you have with TV is you have a bunch of disparate systems. There's no standards," he said.

That could mean Apple is looking to replace the equipment viewers need to watch shows and movies from their cable provider, and handle recording much like TiVo, while also giving us a big screen gaming experience all from a single box. It could also mean Apple is hoping to partner with all content providers to become the only accessory cable companies need to give to their customers -- or the company could have another master plan for taking over our television viewing experience.

Mr. Cue was short on details, but it's clear Apple has a plan it isn't sharing. The company has been working to bring more content to Apple TV, and on Wednesday announced it is buying the streaming music and headphone maker Beats Music for US$3 billion. Once the Beats deal closes this fall, Apple will have yet another part of the entertainment market in its grasp with Beats' unique music subscription service.

Apple will be hosting a keynote event at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco on June 2 where we may get a few more hints at what's in store for Apple TV. With the Beats Music deal revealed only days before the event, it seems likely TV and entertainment will play into next week's conference in some way.

Apple TV has always come across as more of a peripheral project for Apple, but that's slowly changing. More channels are coming to the set top box, and Apple even stopped referring to Apple TV as a "hobby." Apple TV's next big evolutionary step may be just around the corner.

Comments

Harvey Lubin

I love my Apple TV… but I would love it many times more if Apple made it’s version of iOS more like iOS on iPhone and iPad.

Normal iOS features that are missing on the Apple TV include:

- Ability to download and run iOS apps (games, productivity apps, web browsers, etc.)
- Ability to sync with iTunes in iTunes “Devices”
- Ability to use Siri
- Ability to use FaceTime (with optional external camera)
- Ability to run XBMC

If these features were added to Apple TV it would fulfill its potential as a real iOS device.

Arbourable

Recording? How 1990’s. These days, one can use catch-up services to see shows you’ve missed.  I can’t see them getting embroiled in the disparate standards of cable/satellite/etc when IP is a standard the world over. I don’t have any doubt that the Apple TV will continue to be based on streaming over a “dumb pipe”.

Arbourable

- Ability to run XBMC

No.  Just never going to happen.

Content deals are what matters to the future of the Apple TV, and the ability to search across services, including catch-up TV.  But I can see Apple extending its “Made for iPhone” controllers to the Apple TV and launching a new App Store limited to games.

Zack Anton

For me, the search for Film on Apple TV is so not what Apple standards. I personally love Celluloid Film discovery app, it streams non stop trailers via Airplay till I see a movie that I like. Here is a link to it:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/celluloid/id623558136?mt=8

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