Friday, August 21, 2015

What I Want To See in the New Apple TV

On September 9, Apple will unveil to the public the new iPhones in its annual fall event, along with the new iOS (9).  On 09/09.  Yes, I'm sure the coincidence was not by accident.  Meanwhile, credible rumors from the production lines have surfaced that a new Apple TV will come out, on the heels of sales data showing that Apple TV lags behind Roku, Chromecast, and the newly introduced Amazon Fire Stick.

While at this point we have no idea what the new Apple TV will have different from the older boxes, it has been surmised that it will have a faster processor, more memory, and an App Store (that is, developers can now target apps for Apple TV, and more memory to download the apps to).

However, I am truly hoping they took my suggestion of a couple years ago into account.  As I've said before, I think the Apple TV is the best streaming platform for many reasons, not least of which are performance and interoperability within the Apple world.  What it is sorely missing, is to become the center of a Home Entertainment System.

I suggested to Apple on their feedback page (of which of course, you never hear anything after you submit it), that they make a video input on the Apple TV, and sell an external video switch box accessory that can be controlled by the Apple TV remote (and remote app).  Thus, with one remote, you can control your video source on the TV, and the Apple TV.  But more, if they also release a standard that video device manufacturers can implement, the Apple TV remote could also control the switched device.

Imagine this scenario.  You want to watch a Blu Ray, so you switch input to the Blu Ray player.  Because the Blu Ray player you have is "MfATV-compliant", the Apple TV remote also controls the Blu Ray player, moving the cursor around and selecting elements from the disc menu, pausing, etc.  Volume controls, and now you could hook up your MfATV-compliant Cable TV receiver, and use the Apple TV remote (or remote app on your device) to control your cable tv receiver as well.  All integrated, all with Apple TV at the center.

And we have seen the talk about Apple TV being at the hub of the HomeKit that allows you to securely control the Internet of Things around your house (garage door opener, door locks, alarm system, thermostat, and more).  This really begs for a new name, no longer Apple TV, but Apple Home.  And that's what I want to see.

(*)Three Remotes for the video boxes,
Seven for the various streaming players,
Nine for the TV, switch box, games and stereo doomed to die,
One for the Home Owner on his throne,
In the land of Suburbia where the Tech lives,
One Remote to rule them all, One Remote to find them,
One Remote to bring them all, and in the basket bind them
In the land of Suburbia where the Tech lives.
Thus goes the legend...

Here's an excerpt of the screenplay for the scene where they discover the true identity of the One Remote.

Frodwin:  Gandmorph, how do you really know this is the One Remote?  Certainly, it is a great Remote.  It gives me much power over all my devices.  It is precious to me.  But the One?

Gandmorph:  (Snatches the Remote from Frodwin's hand, and tosses it in the fire)

Frodwin: (Gasping) No!!!

Gandmorph:  Wait!  Look and see - the flames touch it, but scorch it not.  The buttons are still the same shape, the brushed finish unmarred.

(The Remote is a burnished, chamfered aluminum-like finish.)

Gandmorph:  (Fetches it out of the fire with a stick, and picks it up in his hand.)  See!  The heat has not made it hot to the touch.  And look at this fiery script now visible on the battery compartment.

Frodwin:  What does it say?  I don't recognize the language.  (Shudders)

Gandmorph:  It is an ancient tongue, spoken only by those who live in the land of Cupertino.  It says, One Remote to rule them all, One Remote to find them.  It is part of the ancient verse... (Reaches out the window and grabs Samwham, lifts him into the house by the ear.)  Samwham Gammer, how long have you been listening at the window?


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