Okay let’s get the 1st statement out of the way, when Steve Jobs was quoted to say in his autobiography he had solved all that is wrong with the Apple TV the answer is not Siri based.
Quite simply it’s all down to response and execute times. In its present incarnation Siri is still a little unwieldy and makes you work for a response in placed no matter how human engineers have tried to make Siri. Based on the present beta incarnation it’s simply not as quick or flexible as using your digits to change the channel. An example. Let’s assume I have Apple TV / Media Centre up and running and I want to change channel.
User : “Show me what’s on TV”
Siri goes off to the cloud to check what was said.
Siri : ” Here is what’s on TV now..” TV Guide comes up on screen.
User : “Watch BBC2”
Siri : off to the cloud once again to process your request.
Siri : “Changing channel to BBC2”
Channel changes on the Apple TV.
User : “Record program”
Siri : Once again off to do it’s processing
Siri : “Okay I’m recording your program”
And so on and so on. In the meantime with the conventional and accepted control method, the remote control, I could have performed the same task in a matter of moments. Of course we all know that Siri is still in the beta phase when a distinct possibility that when Siri responds it may drop repition of some areas of speech in favor of audio cues.
So if Siri isn’t the answer them what it’s. Quite simply content. I’ll get onto the controlling mechanisms later.
I don’t see the world, especially with this economic climate, being completely ready for pay only television on all levels. There is still a huge market for being able to watch live TV and record programs at your leisure without incurring any costs. In another article I’m going to do a week with no live TV, simply relying on streaming tv sites here in the uk, USA (thanks unotelly) and work out the comparative costs. Can you really do without a tv licence or cable tv fees and live in a streaming and rental world.
Sites like HULU rely on the past and your memory to recall the fact you’ve missed a program and you want to catchup and record. Reminders can be set on some sites but that involves a whole new level of interaction, signing up, email address and the rest of it all.
One app for the iPad that comes close to getting me invested in new content alongside that of stuff I’d be intersted in is Ustream. It’s not without it’s faults but it has a look and feel of an interactive TV. Once you use it;s not a stretch to see how this could easily be used with the existing Apple TV remote.
Microsoft’s media center is a big step in the right direction and is the exclusive reason that I own a windows based HTPC right now, but this clearly shows the content issue, speaking from the UK side of the pond. It took 2 years for red button functionality to make it fully into media center and then another big period of time for internet TV to start showing up. In the last year nothing has changed on the internet section of the media guide. The science fiction category comes across as pathetic with one old series of doctor who available, leaving the rest of the guide blank in it’s area.
This is Apple’s area to infiltrate whilst still integrating iTunes utilization.
Imagine watching a program live as you normally would on your TV (as the broadcasters would like you with adverts etc..) Apple TV would interact with you in the form of some discreet gui asking if you would like to catch up on previous episodes, allowing a download in the background whilst you continue watching. Perhaps the DOG (the channel branding in the right) could become interactive to a level. Think the rotating discovery channel globe with steroids.
With iCloud all these episodes become available on all your iOS devices along with Apple TV. Broadcasters should love this as you effectively double or triple your output, providing you have an iPhone / iPad and then you start reaching out to Windows systems with the aid of iTunes.
[pullquote_right]What if you could pre book episodes before they are shown on TV?[/pullquote_right]Immediately you’ve taken care of the past and remembering problem but why stop there? What if you could pre book episodes before they are shown on TV? DRM is already taken care off with iTunes coupled with the right pricing policy, piracy may seem a decline with this method.
Programs might include some basic advertising, though that’s not the Apple way, or some cross product promotion would be the safer bet. Move forward one more step and offer simultaneous release of exclusive shows in the USA and UK on the same day via Apple TV and iCloud.
If Apple implement any features like this then the PVR market will take a bashing and you can bet there are some pretty big contract negotiations going on behind the scene to stop Apple encroaching on this area. Apple has the advantage of the back catalog of all things in the iTunes store to reference and content will be king. Speaking of content.
Apple To Purchase English Premier League TV Rights.
This one has been going about a few weeks now from several well known uk tabloids (daily mail and the guardian). According to yahoo Apple has already bid for the rights for Football (soccer for you US lot).
The football league has been the express content of Sky television and the Murdoch empire. More recently sky released the Sky Go application letting you watch live sports on any iOS or laptop device whilst on the go using 3g or Wifi, so what’s so interesting about this. Well there is no Android application, it’s all iOS and Laptop exclusive bringing us on to this thought.
Sky control their territories just as fiercely as Apple. You can’t get an American app on the UK app store for example and like wise with sky. [pullquote_right]No Sky Go app for Android. Is this by design or something more??[/pullquote_right]UK football is the express copyright of sky. You can’t show sky sports or anything with the sky branding without agreement. It’s not beyond the realms that Apple might sound poised for a pounce on football but for one small detail. Microsoft Xbox 360. Sky are streaming content direct to the 360 console and you can bet your bottom dollar football ranks up their highly next to darts of course.
Where does this leave Apple?
Movie studios have accepted to move with the times accepting the online fashion of renting and watching programs and as Amazon look for bigger market penetration with the kindly fire, a new war looks on the horizon, the war for complete exclusivity. Hook people in with unique content, move onto “see the next episode now on iTunes” and build dependance on the Apple TV for those who don’t want to wait.
Onto the iPad 3.
[pullquote_left]I just purchased an iPad 2 which means that the iPad 3 will be out soon.[/pullquote_left]I’m going to claim sole responsibility for the iPad 3 coming out soon as, like with all tech that I buy, I just purchased an iPad 2 which means that the iPad 3 will be out soon. If it has the grunt to power siri and sit in place of it;s predecessor then I’m sold. Telula, my iPad 2, sits there as a faithful assistant to do my beckoning at my will. Yet like an assistant it’s a touch embarrassing and comes with a stigma of being seen out in public. Am I just being “down with my employee” on a night out or showing a bit of respect when I’m out with her? Sure in work we enjoy a fantastic relationship and her adoption of Siri would only add to that, yet outside the confines of the office world things can get a little tense.
Time for a handbag sized iPad?
As usual the moment a competitor comes along with something different that encroaches on Apple market share, arms a flailing all around citing Apple MUST realease something to compete, else that will be the demise of the company. The 7″ form factor is a hotly contended market as it’ the 10″ heavyweight tablet division is held up with all things iPad. The Kindle fire is completely responsible for this and adopted the Apple, blue sea approach. Enter a market with no competition and carve your own niche. Will Apple enter into this area directly head on with arguably a hefty rival? No! Look at the product line up and things come down to capacity and competency, not just entering a market because it;s there like the follies of so many manufacturers lacking ideas.
Technical issues arise with a smaller form factor and differing resolutions. iPhone and iPad stand clearly different on their resolutions allowing developers to have an easier life. A third form factor causes issues like the interface, graphics and resolutions. However if all iOS devices suddenly have retina displays of the same resolution then suddenly the game changes.