It’s a highly competitive market notorious for making or breaking the technology giants that choose to compete. But Apple are poised to take on the giants and potentially crush them like they have done so many times before.
We know very little about the much‐hyped Apple HDTV. That’s no surprise, of course, Apple are hardly famous for giving away secrets now are they. But yet, if you think about it for a second or two and consider what the ultimate TV could look like, Apple are in a much better position than anyone to come up with something quite special. Let’s take a look at why this is.
Firstly, let’s ask ourselves, ‘What does everyone want from a TV?’ Forgetting the masculine perception that size is everything, it comes down to a few fundamental features:
• Aesthetics – does it look pretty hung on my wall?
• Content – can I watch what I want, when I want?
• Ease of Use – do I need to have an IT doctorate to operate this thing?
Apple make pretty products, there is no denying it. Their iMac is elegant to say the least; super thin with finishing that knocks the socks off any of their competitors. Will their TV look like a big iMac?
Maybe, maybe not, but rest assured they know a thing or two about design and it’s going to look as good as a piece of modern art hung on your wall. ‘What about the picture?’ I hear you ask. Well, obviously that comes in to play, but not as much as you may think. Some of the best‐selling TVs on the market offer relatively average image quality and let’s face it, hardly anyone actually changes their TV picture settings from the ‘scorch’ mode used to attract their attention on Harvey’s shop floor. Regardless, Apple has been working on their ‘Retina’ displays for quite a while now and given that one of the foremost reasons all graphic designers use Apple displays is colour accuracy, I think they have a pretty good head start in this area. And have you seen their LED Cinema Displays? They’re simply stunning! Of course, no one in their right mind would be setting up a home theatre using a 27” computer monitor, but let’s hope they’re working on a big brother. A much bigger brother (didn’t I tell you, size is everything!).
When it comes to content, that means one thing with Apple ‐ iTunes. Love it or hate it, it’s the Apple way and that ain’t gonna change. It does let you buy or rent movies and popular TV shows, albeit with a focus on the American market. But then there’s a little thing called Airplay which basically enables you to play anything you can find on your iPad on your TV. And that’s a LOT of content, pretty much anything in fact. We won’t get in to streaming illegally downloaded movies because I’ll end up mounting my moral high horse, but suffice to say, you can do that too. Your portal to iTunes already exists ‐ it’s called Apple TV ‐ just plonk one of those in the telly and it’s job done. Which leaves Apple plenty of time to focus on the thing they do best: creating their signature user experience.
At this point, I’d like to show you a video from a company called Archos who are due to release a device called TV Connect which claims to turn any TV in to a Google Android‐powered Smart TV.
I’m showing you this because, to date, all incarnations of Google Android on your TV have suffered from the same encumbrance – a horrendous user interface. And this one doesn’t look much better ‐ did you see that remote? Not really what I want sitting on my coffee table.
The point is you’ll never see that with Apple; with all of their products, the entire experience has been designed and created by Apple with one goal in mind ‐ to make it as simple as humanly possible to use. If you have any doubt in your mind, I’ll challenge you to hand over an iPad to a twoyear‐ old child and see how long it takes them to figure it out. Will Apple completely redesign the way you interact with your TV? Possibly. Will they incorporate Siri ‐ their popular voice recognition technology? Most likely. One thing you can be assured of is that you won’t need to be a brainiac to operate it and you most certainly won’t need to buy a new coffee table. Of course, all of this is speculation and guesswork, but given that our fruitful friends in Silicon Valley have already revolutionised the worlds of personal computing and digital audio, I think there’s every chance in the world that the Apple HDTV is going to be worth the wait.