The AppleTV is a device that doesn’t seem to command a lot of attention. The attention is left to that of the Mac, iPhone or iPad. However, the AppleTV is an inexpensive device that enables so much. Some of this we take for granted and some, with a bit of quiet reflection we see this true capability.
The AppleTV was announced in March of 2007. At first it was called a hobby endeavour. If this is so, Apple truly didn’t know what they had on their hands. The AppleTV is revolutionary and not evolutionary in its impact on societal norms.
Till this point in time, the TV and not you dictated your social life to a degree. That is, if you were caught up in Saturday Night Live it was obvious what you would be doing on Saturday night. If you didn’t watch the show, your life was somehow put out of rhythm. So too, was this with anything someone was caught up in.
It allowed for what we’ll call the water cooler socializing mode. Often the next day, people could be found at the water cooler discussing last nights episode.
A Simple Revolutionary Device was Introduced
Some might say, due to the nature of the PVR, the AppleTV was more evolutionary than revolutionary. Some might say this but the AppleTV has turned the model upside down and inside out. No longer would the TV control our activities but rather we would control the TV around those activities. Freedom to do and freedom to see what one really wants to see.
Such shifts as this are revolutionary in their impact. Unlike the Smartphone which is evolutionary (taking your computer and phone a walking) the AppleTV’s significance is only just beginning to sink in. Further, the harm that is emanating from the Smartphone at the social and personal level isn’t occurring with the AppleTV. This I believe is because the device is truly liberating. The Smartphone is is controlling us far more than we should ever be controlled. Could we do without our Smartphones? It is unlikely as they have been interwoven into the core fabric of society. However, the negative effect of big brother (the Smartphone) can’t be undone as easily as an alcoholic has to give up alcohol.
Apple Almost Missed it’s Own Boat
Other vendors have been making hay with Streaming Video and have been doing very well at it. Netflix is a case in point. Youtube yet another and one that is egalitarian. Apple foolishly has been sitting on the sidelines watching the drama unfold. However, it’s not too late and they are finally coming to the table with a video streaming service that looks well thought out.
I keep referencing the AppleTV and there’s a reason for this. It is the best streaming device on the market. It is easy to setup and use, supports the latest standards in TV, has great brand recognition and can deliver any kind of mainstream content you throw at it. It is small and styled beautifully with tremendous reach and power. It can enable the digital revolution better than any other product out there.
What has Apple been missing all these years they’ve had that little black box looking at them. First, they should never have called it a hobby as they diminished its stature from the beginning but Netflix and many others have handily proven this wrong. Then when they finally decided to redefine the whole strategy they were overwhelmed. This is not the same thinking that applies to a Smartphone.
Disney sees the Opportunity
In this market, some will do better than others. Disney has decided to enter the market whole hog with a very reasonable price tag. Who should be concerned. The standard TV channels. However, Disney comes to this with a wealth of content and wealth ready to be made. For the consumer there couldn’t be a better time.
Apple is stepping into the arena also with a wealth of content and the intent to make high quality shows. If your work is demanding, there is no reason you cannot get caught up with an enjoyable show. You are in charge of your TV now. Work really has little accommodation to do.
Unlike the Smartphone which commands our attention sometimes at the most inopportune moments we do not need to allow our TV’s to control us. They actually might be exactly what each individual wants: some entertainment and some educational or a mixture which can enhance your life.
Much is being written about the problems in our new digital age with Smartphones that control us and computers that demand too much of a finite amount of time. Instead of the tech making us sick, streamed video can do the opposite.
An Enviable Position
Apple makes the AppleTV and now they are stepping up to the plate to be a service deliverer. I said earlier that the AppleTV is easy to setup and use. Plex is one of the new services that allow us to curate our own content. I have found the best way to do this is not with a smart TV or other device but an AppleTV. I now will no longer share my own services unless the person has an AppleTV as it is so much simpler for me to configure. Further the AppleTV unlike Apple itself is not a locked in environment but is rather an open environment. It’s perfect.
Apple can win selling boxes and if they deliver a streaming service that is top notch they could have a regular stream of revenue. The latter is the hard part but I feel Apple can pull this off.
It won’t be just Apple that wins but everyone will win. Why? The AppleTV is not part of the walled garden as it is expressed. Apple’s walled garden approach long term will be fairly detrimental to the company. You need partners and players and the AppleTV has this and yet more to boot.
Boxes and Services and the makings of a Revolution
AppleTV is the best streaming video box on the market and if they have a service to match the box this will be a major win win. How that lowly little hobby is going on to change aspects of the world is no less than amazing.
With the computer, Smartphone and all our other little do dads you could easily say we’re being swamped in information. Not so with the AppleTV. It will allow us to relax when we want to relax and learn when it is most appropriate. Media generates many things for us. The AppleTV has the right mixture to generate social time, relaxation time and learning time all when we are ready for it. If you’re not ready it’s difficult. People are reporting high levels of stress due to long hours and the pressure to get it right the first time. Our ability to socialize normally has turned into a virtual keyboard in which we type and yet it is known this is not an effective way to communicate feelings.
So the little hobby called the AppleTV has turned into; is and will become a significant device in the third wave of the information revolution. Regardless of Smart TV’s they are limited and yet the AppleTV is just breaking loose. There is a place for both but if you have both you’ll likely use the AppleTV. There are other streaming boxes and systems but nothing compares to the AppleTV. Remember, you are not becoming part of the walled garden by using an AppleTV. If Apple does not free itself of its mote and walls that are hard to cross though not impossible, they will be handicapped in the long run. The AppleTV does a good job at letting the competition in to their own benefit. Now the lesson just needs to spread within Apple to include all its devices.