Can Apple TV Revolutionize Television?

When Steve Jobs announced Apple TV in 2010, it didn't exactly take the world be storm as much as his other products did.  The Mac revolutionized personal computers, the iPod revolutionized music players, the iPhone revolutioned smartphones, iTunes revolutionized digital media distribution, the iPad revolutionized tablet computers, etc., etc., etc., but the Apple TV seemed to just be another device to add to a jumble of other bulky gadgets that consumers already have in their living rooms, bedrooms, dens, and other places around the home or office.  I thought, wouldn't it be great if Apple could find a way to partner with some television manufacturer so that Apple TV is already part of some streamlined, easy to use hardware? 

That last bit is the key -- TV sets nowadays require multiple remote controls to operate a tangle of devices (DVRs, cable or satellite boxes, Blu-Ray/DVD players, video game consoles, and so on) all wired to the television -- even universal remotes are often a puzzle to use.  The opportunity is there, then, for some genius to devise a way to simplify the TV set, that staple of every home and bar and conference room, and make it easy even for technophobes to use (just as it used to be in the old days).

Walter Isaacson's highly anticipated and much hyped biography of the recently deceased Steve Jobs has sparked some speculation by the L.A. Times and others over some intriquing quotes by the late great innovator: "I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use.  It would be seamlessly synched with all of your devices and … will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."

If Jobs did indeed "crack it" and found a way to make a modern high-definition TV set that's finally user-friendly enough for my parents to use, Apple may have gold in its hands again.  We've already seen touch-screen technology, but how about sound-activated technology?  It could be as groundbreaking as the graphical user interface was when the Macintosh first hit the market back in the early 1980s.  Imagine all your channels, video games, home videos, online content, music, and more easily accessible from one device that was dummy-proof to use.  The criticism that handheld portable devices have faced is their small screens, so finding a way to blend all the pros of those devices into a big-screen set for the home entertainment center is money in the bank if they can make it work.

Forget 3-D TV, the future of television might be Apple TV.

Comments