Apple iTV

It’s coming.  Soon.

Are you as excited and ready as I am?

Steve Jobs admitted that the current Apple TV set-top box was “more like a hobby“.  It’s also been widely reported that Jobs told his biographer about finally cracking the secret to creating an integrated television.

“I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”  -Steve Jobs

Apple is incredibly tight lipped about their products.  Barring any developer losing a secret Apple iTV prototype in a bar… I think we’re all going to have to live off the rumors right now.  Granted, that can be a bad idea.  I should know.  I fell absolutely head-over-heels in love with the iPad eight years before it existed – back when it was known as the Mac Tablet.

Oh, man, that product had it all – slot loading super drive, SD card slot, MiniDisplay port, front and rear facing camera.  Basically, this imaginary thing was as powerful (and as useful) as a MacBook.  I wasn’t the only person who believed that was the direction Apple was going, either.  Indeed, a company named Axiotron began modifying MacBooks to look and work like the upcoming Mac Tablets – which, of course, fueled the flames that Apple’s product would be that much better.

Then the iPad launched… and a lot of people (myself included) saw nothing more than a big iPod touch.  I even changed the email signature on my touch to read, “Sent from my iPad nano”.

Imagine my surprise when Steve Jobs deflected some criticisms of the yet unreleased iPad by saying, “A lot of people say the iPad is nothing more than a big iPhone.  I think that’s great, because we’ve sold an awful lot of those!”.

Turns out, the iPad is a terrific product. It’s perfect for those people who mostly use their computers for email and browsing the internet (ie: the majority of the public).  In fact, I’ll be buying one for my wife after they launch the iPad 3 this March.

Right now, I am head-over-heels in love with the next amazing Apple product that hasn’t even been announce yet. Will Apple’s television fall short of my expectations?  I suppose it might.  Will I desperately want one anyway?  Oh, you can bet on that.

Here’s a run-down of the best (and most plausible) rumors:

1). It will be an OLED retina-display available in three sizes.  Likely 32, 44, and 50 inches.

2). It will have a single-button remote; and that button will activate Siri.  Imagine saying, “I feel like watching a western” and within seconds your iTV responds, “there are three coming up in the next 8 hours.  Should I remind you about them or record them?”

3). Apple iTV will be fully integrated with Apple’s full line of products.  Okay, so you’ve told your iTV to remind you when Tombstone comes on at 7:00 tonight… but you forget and leave for dinner.  Suddenly, at 6:45, your iPhone chimes and reminds you that your show is on in 15 minutes. Next, your iPhone (using GPS) realizes you’re 20 minutes from home; so instead of just sending you that frustrating reminder, Siri asks again if you’d like to record your show.

4). Content available via iCloud.  Oh, it get’s better.  You tell Siri that, yes, you would like to record the show and she asks, “Should I record to the internal DVR or to Cloud?”.  If she records to DVR you can watch it when you get home.  If she records to Cloud you can watch your show immediately, on your iPhone.

5). A la Carte Channels.  This was the one that had me sold, 1000%.  Imagine using television channels the way you currently use apps – you only pay for the ones you want to use.  So, what if a channel or network was an app?  What if you could download just the nine or ten channels you really want; without having to pay for (and flip through) the 100+ channels you never wanted in the first place?

6). Sony, MicroSoft, and Nintendo need to worry.  What if I told you iTV would also use apps in the same way the iPhone and iPad do?  It likely will.  What if some of those apps were games?  They likely will be.  What if your Apple iTV came with built-in support for Bluetooth (like, say, a game controller)? Look how much the iPhone and iPod touch have already changed the handheld gaming industry.  Just count the number of so-called casual gamers who are helplessly addicted to Angry Birds and Words with Friends.

This product will put a dent in the universe.  It will also fundamentally change television in the same way the iPod changed music.

Are you ready?

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