How Apple screwed up AppleTV

AppleTV is Apple’s hardware “set top box”. You hook it up to your TV, the Internet and your stereo and you can listen to music and podcasts, buy and watch movies, watch youtube, look at flickr photos and more. It’s a nice little box.

But it could be a great little box if Apple hadn’t screwed up a few major things. These include:

  1. You can’t use a keyboard and mouse. It has USB and Mac OS X running inside of it, but if you don’t have a little white remote, you can’t operate it.
  2. Nor can you use it for web/email/etc. Major fuckup.
  3. It doesn’t have a DVD player in it. WTF? Those things cost like $80 and they are very slim. If their heads are not up their asses, the next AppleTV will have a Blu-Ray drive.
  4. DRM.
  5. The relative paucity of available movies and TV shows. There’s a lot, but it is a small fraction of what it should be.
  6. The lack of other web content. Boxee might eat Apple’s lunch if they don’t get on it. We want to watch Hulu, BitTorrent, Flash — all of it.

With all that said, I love the AppleTV and it is a glimpse of things to come. We won’t talk about “TVs” and “computers” in the future, there will just be displays and things we show on them*. The network will certainly be the delivery mechanism.

It is getting more common for people to gather around a computer to look at photos or watch video clips. The giant TVs that people have these days are the perfect place to do that. In many ways, once again, Apple has realized this first. So the AppleTV is, perhaps, an imperfect step in the right direction.

* The ancient X-Windows system for Unix got it right by totally separating the notion of display/keyboard/mouse with the physical system. Linux makes use of this to this day.

How Apple screwed up AppleTV

4 thoughts on “How Apple screwed up AppleTV

  1. AlSmith says:

    If Apple is to lose at something with the Apple TV it is in the selling of a blob of data through iTunes. I need a copy of digital content about as much as I want the latest technological breakthrough in storing shit on a plastic disc; I’ll lose or corrupt either one eventually.

    With limited exceptions (copying to mobile unconnected devices) I want a license not the data. Apple can own the data and keep it on their servers and ill stream it when I want it. If Apple is to lose somewhere it will be to streaming services like NetFlix because eventually maintaining a digital library of terrabytes of content isn’t much fun and it’s totally unnecessary.

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    1. Good point. The other good thing about the blob of data, in theory, besides when are you off the net, is that you can put it on a shelf and not depend on a service provider in order to re-consume it.

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  2. Yeah, that would be nice. I think they want to leverage the tv-over-the-network tech and leave behind the tv-over-the-cable tech. But, yeah, build an eyeTV in the AppleTV and you have something very cool and capable.

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  3. plammert says:

    I think another big thing they missed was the addition of a TV Tuner card.. Why not just make it a full DVR instead of this device where almost every little thing is a one off purchase. Once the fad of watching a few youtube video’s has worn off, then you are stuck paying 1.99 for an episode of the Office, which if it had a TV tuner in it, you could just watch for free on NBC. Oh well, maybe next version!

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