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Apple Will Change the Way You Watch TV

Rumors of Apple’s newest revolutionary product are circulating around the tech world. They wowed us with the iPod. We didn’t think anything could top the iPhone, until the iPad came along. Now, we’re all holding our breath to see how Apple will change our world next. What kind of media could Apple conquer next? According to a few Apple aficionados: the television.

Apple representatives were tight-lipped when we asked them about the speculations of an Apple television debuting in the near future. So we took our questions to Neil Hughes, from Apple Insider, and John Maler, adjunct instructor at The Art Institute of Indianapolis.

Slim and Sleek

Apple is known for their minimalist design, and the Apple TV will be no different. A lot of consumers are drawn to apple products because of their sleek look, compared to the bulky competitors. In a New York Times article, tech blogger Nick Bilton says that an Apple insider confirmed that hardware prototypes are being developed already. Expect a slim, eye-pleasing design that makes today’s HDTV’s look downright clunky. A mass of cords peeking out from behind the television and cable boxes will finally disappear, as everything will be internal and wireless.

Functionality

Most of the speculations are pointing to the Apple television working wirelessly off of your internet connection.  This will allow you to stream movies and television episodes from your iTunes account and other media services. It also means you have the capability to use apps to play music, chat with friends, and play games (just imagine Angry Birds on the big screen!).

Of course this raises a pretty obvious question: how will we watch live television if content is streamed from the web? Maler expects “full support of existing cable TV service and maybe satellite television, so you can record and watch them on your Apple TV set.” He also guesses that Apple may alternatively produce a cable-like television service, comparable to current cable options. This would be another revenue stream for Apple.

User Interface

As with Apple’s computers, tablets, and smart phones, the user interface of an Apple television will be a big draw. Steve Jobs and his cohorts have always strived to create the most intuitive, user-friendly interfaces. Many consumers are turned off by current cable companies’ complicated listings and on-demand menus. The Apple interface could make navigating your television and finding what you want much more simple.

One of the biggest changes may be the way you control your television. “The rumors suggest it will feature Siri voice integration,” says Hughes. “This is pure speculation on my part, but I envision a system that could tie together a number of content sources and present them as one simple, clean interface.” According to a Wall Street Journal article, Apple hinted at developing technology to allow users to control their television with hand motions and movements. 

Roadblocks

With all the speculations come some concerns as well. Many expect that an Apple television will be integrated with your other devices, like your smart phone or tablet so that you can share media across them and even control your television, like a remote control. Does that mean that your non-Apple devices won’t be compatible with the television? That all depends on the content providers. “Those restrictions are in place by the content providers, who are afraid of having their content pirated and stolen, Hughes says. “Apple fought for years against DRM (digital rights management) that restricted music files bout from the iTunes Store to run only on iPods. After years of trying, Apple finally convinced the record companies to cave, and iTunes music purchases are now DRM free.” However, he notes, the movie and television studios are not budging, so some content might be restricted to Apple devices.

Price points

As with most other Apple devices, the rumored television will probably be a premium product. According to BusinessInsider.com, Apple analyst Gene Munster estimates that the new Apple television will start at around $1,600, about double the price of many current televisions. However, Hughes thinks that estimate may be a bit high. “I would guess that it would be comparable to the cost of an HDTV, surround sound receiver, game console, and more all put together,” he says. “Don’t forget, before the iPad was announced, some rumors pegged the price as $2,000. The biggest shock was the $499 starting price.”

Everyone wants to know when they will be able to get their hands on an Apple television. According to Munster, the earliest release date may be at the end of 2012, just in time for the holiday season. However, it may be pushed back to early 2013, depending on how deals with the media companies progress.

Sources:

Neil Hughes, from Apple Insider

John Maler, adjunct instructor at The Art Institute of Indianapolis

“Apple Plots its TV Assault”, Wall Street Journal

Here's Everything We Know About Apple's Top Secret TV Project So Far”, Business Insider

“What’s Really Next for Apple in Television?” New York Times

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