Apple Should Release a New Apple TV Soon and Be Done

Image credit: Martin Hajek

The rumors about a next (4th) generation Apple TV are in Phase 2 now. Phase 2, as I call it, is when the preponderance of the evidence from sources and the supply chain make it almost certain that a new product from Apple is coming. We just don't know the exact date.

We thought we were going to see a new Apple TV at WWDC, but the scuttlebutt was that Apple hadn't secured the content deals it needed for its (rumored) TV subscription service. For more on the latest, see "Apple TV won’t get Streaming Television Until 2016."

It has always bothered me that Apple sought to tie the release of new TV hardware to the bundling of a TV subscription service. It almost seems that Apple has been concerned that there would be little interest in a new Apple TV without the service. And, as we're painfully aware, tying a brand new service to new hardware is always asking for trouble.

I believe that there are plenty of good reasons to release new Apple TV hardware right away and without a bundled subscription service.

  1. Apple hasn't shipped a major new Apple TV model since 2012. This looks very bad.
  2. The competition has been heating up, especially from Amazon, Google, and Roku
  3. It's time to get on the 4K bandwagon or look like a corporate doofus, always behind the times.
  4. It's time for Apple to introduce real apps (with all the security expertise Apple can muster).

Even if people had paid $99 or less for a 3rd generation Apple TV in the last few years, they'd be happy to upgrade now, especially with it being future-proofed with 4K/UHD capability. UHD Blu-ray players and content to marry with ever less expensive 4KTVs will be here at Christmas. Apple doesn't want to omit 4K and look like it's slapping the face of the entire TV industry even as it tries to negotiate content deals with them.

Apple is a company with a rich heritage of releasing capable, good looking, desirable hardware and letting developers and the currents of the modern technology stream bring it to fruition. And so it's been worrisome that Apple has (apparently) delayed hardware when it had every reason to expect that negotiations with content holders would be difficult and protracted.

Apple can save the day on September 9, or thereabouts, with blow-away hardware. The rest will take care of itself as the holiday season approaches.

Next page: the tech news debris for the week of August 10. Android switchers and the collapse of the Android business model.

Page 2 - The Tech News Debris for the Week of August 10


Image credit: Asymco 

During Apple's last earnings report on July 21, when Tim Cook mentioned that Apple was seeing the highest rate of switchers from Android to iPhone to date, it may have seemed to some like a bit of cooked up pr-speak. But it wasn't. Expert analyst Horace Dediu looked into the numbers and produced some research that backs up Mr. Cook's claim. See: "The new switchers.

As we all know by now, our smartphone has the ability to track our whereabouts. That's done with the carrier's cell towers for each call, independent of any tracking of location data kept solely within our iPhones. When law enforcement needs access to a location history, they ask the carrier, with probable cause, for that cell tower data, saved on servers.

The carrier can exercise some discretion, but it's all still done without a warrant. Now, some progress is being made on the a legal front that says every location request will require a warrant. Here's some technical discussion, the way things are now, some legal history and progress on the initiative to require a warrant. "Do Police Need a Warrant to See Where a Phone Is? (Right now, no. But that could change soon.)"

We know that over long periods of time, social mores change. And so without social or religious commentary, I present, for your consideration and analysis only some recent thoughts on sex with robots. "6 NSFW Reasons Why Robots Are The Future Of Sex."

Glenn Fleishman knows a lot about Mac security. And so I recommend this article by him. "Why you shouldn't freak out about this week's scary-sounding Mac exploits."

The Android smartphone market suffers from several maladies. As we know, carrier control over some phones that don't get upgraded means that many users can't have the latest security fixes right away. Or ever. That's catastrophic. However, another problem is the proliferation of smartphone makers and models that ends up dissipating profits. A case in point is HTC. For an analysis of HTC's plight and Android in general, see: "One statistic tells you why HTC collapsed and why Android is in so much trouble."

I knew this was coming, so it's no surprise. Namely, companies are eager to sell home automation products, but don't seem to exercise enough diligence when it comes to security. See: "Researchers exploit ZigBee security flaws that compromise security of smart homes."

Technology development is an ongoing thing in our society. Continuous applied research, learning curves and new discoveries (like graphene) can make our electronics smaller, faster and more battery efficient. But there's also something else that happens. Generational shifts, induced by the economy, new ways of doing things, and just plain old fashion can cause sea changes as well. Some are unforeseen and may be uncomfortable for many. Home Media magazine put it this way.

As Baby Boomers embrace middle age and beyond, the future of pay-TV hangs in the balance. That’s because succeeding demo[graphic]s raised on the Internet and social media are indeed eschewing the status quo when it comes to consuming video entertainment.

Apple is sensitive to these kinds of changes. We've seen it in the transition from purchased music to subscription, streamed music to all devices. We've seen it in the backup practices and photo streams with iCloud. And so on. In that vein, here's an article that provides some background. (OTT = Over-the-top content) "OTT Video: It's a Generational Thing."

Twitter has been having some troubles lately. I'll let Jason Snell at Macworld explain it, and this is a good read because Twitter has become such an important part of our technical lives. It's too important to fail. See: "Twitter on the Mac: Do your job, or get out of the way."

Finally, here's a terrific article that does a great job of following up on the promise of its title. "What you need to know about Apple's next smartphone." One possible feature is something the article claims Apple has a patent on.

One unusual update could be a safety feature that uses the vibrating motor, "air foils" or ejecting batteries to spin the handset in mid-air if it's dropped and ensure that it always lands screen-up.

I shall declare that feature "Cat mode." You heard it here first.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.