Apple may not have figured out how to convert the Apple TV from a hobby to a consumer firestorm, but the company is thinking along fabulous lines with AirPlay. AirPlay creates a giddy sense of the magical, while Google TV bogs us down with a keyboard and a browser. What a contrast in philosophies.
There is more to video entertainment than building hardware and implementing various in-your-face technologies. When it comes to video entertainment, movies and great TV, the viewer is accustomed, by choice, to the art of the visual. Whether it’s live sports, TV drama, or a movie that inspires one for a lifetime, viewers know that it can be a magical, emotional experience.
In a similar fashion, the act of managing and viewing video entertainment should be just as magical. And that’s what AirPlay is, a magical, friendly, awe inspiring, fun thing to do. Sit with your significant other or children, press a button on the iPad or iPhone and the video instantly shifts to the TV. It took Apple many years to develop and refine that magic so that it’s seamless.
Compare that to the concepts presented by the Boxee box and the Google TV — as implemented on a TV or the Logitech Revue. At the New York Times last week, David Pogue wrote a scathing review: “Google TV, Usability Not Included.” It seems that the Google TV casts one into the WebTV dark ages, and the giddiness of the UI on these devices is shared only by young men who live in their parents’ basement.
Anyone who has the new Apple TV 2G and a modern iOS device to store content will instantly realize that this is the future that millions of customers can embrace. The technology sinks into the background and yet makes its presence known by the things we can do and enjoy, not by the frustrating, geeky actions that we must take to make things work.
I don’t feel moved to say this very often, but here it is. Thanks Apple. AirPlay is why you do what you do.