Over the years, television have been a major part of our lives, creating for itself a rather unique place in our daily routine activities. Like me, there may millions in not a billions of people out there who spend quite some hours in front of the big screen daily. Despite these global “television craze” over the years, there have been dismal attitude towards innovations with TV gadgets in relation to other technology products like smartphones and watches. The status quo is however beginning to change drastically thanks to Apple Inc. The American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California and best known for its high end smartphone: The IPhone, have brought more innovation to the TV industry with the Introduction of the Apple TV.
Image credit: Apple Inc.
For clarification purposes: the Apple TV is not your average 64″ TV screen neither is it anything close to a TV screen. Apple TV is a digital media player and microconsole developed and sold by Apple Inc. It is a small network appliance and
entertainment device that can receive digital data from a number of sources and stream it to a capable TV for playing on the “actual TV screen”.
Before bringing to the fore what the latest Apple TV models have to offer, let’s take a trip down memory lane for the “not so history inclined readers”. The first Apple TV was released as a work in progress on September 12, 2006 using a modified Front Row interface using the Apple Remote, as expected of an Apple product it was called the iTv. The iTV name was later dropped because the British terrestrial broadcast network ITV holds the rights to the name in the UK and threatened to take legal aactio against Apple if it went ahead to use the name to keep it in line with the rest of their “i”-based products (iMac, iPod, etc.).Apple started taking pre-orders for Apple TV on January 9, 2007 and on March 21, 2007 Apple TV started shipping a new model featuring a 40 GB hard disk. Apple released a
160 GB model on May 31, 2007; and ceased selling the 40 GB version from September 14, 2009. However before then, on January 15, 2008 Apple announced a major and very important software upgrade. This new upgrade turned the Apple TV into a stand-alone device that no longer required a computer running iTunes on Mac OS X or Windows to stream or sync content to it, and making most of the Apple TV’s hard disk redundant. Recently, most probably on September this year, Apple officially classified the first generation Apple TV as being obsolete/vintage which means that owners of first generation Apple TV owners will no longer be able to get service for their old devices anymore.
Image credit: Apple Inc.
On your smartphones and computers, you probably already use apps such as “Netflix and YouTube, iRokoTv, WatchESPN, and iTunes to watch TV shows. Now its very important to stress that apps are the future of TV, at least with the Apple TV.Apps have virtually liberated television. They allow you to make individual
choices about what you want to watch. And when and where you want to watch it. Apple TV and its powerful new tvOS, apps developers are creating experiences that will change what you expect from your TV screen, making your TV feel as personal as your smartphone or tablet PC.
On September 9, 2015, Apple announced the new Siri Remote for the 4th generation Apple TV. It is a completely redesigned remote that features dual microphones for Siri support and a glass touch surface for navigation around the interface by swiping or tapping and scrubbing to fast forward or rewind. Also, it has a menu and home button, a Siri button to invoke Siri, a Play/ Pause button, and a Volume Up/Down button to control the volume on the TV. With the Siri Remote, you tell your TV exactly what you want to watch. Or ask Siri to give you a few options, like “Find me some funny TV shows”,”find me some action movies”,”find me season 2 of the TV show Dominion”…. Siri automatically searches across popular services like iTunes, Netflix, and more, so you don’t have to dig through each app individually. You can even ask Siri to launch a specific app. The Siri Remote takes the stress out of watching TV, it does the job while you give the orders. Talk about the perfect mix of Artificial intelligence with TV and you got your self a pick.
For those a little conversant with the workings of TV search apps, you may prob what happens when certain seasons of a show are spread out across multiple services? How might the Apple TV handle that?
Luckily, Apple’s CEO Tim cook answered a similar ququestion in an interview with Buzzfeed:
“… If I’m a Netflix subscriber and I want to binge-watch a five-season series, will an Apple TV search tell me that the first three seasons are available to me for free on Netflix, the fourth is available for purchase on iTunes, and the fifth isavailable only on HBO? Or will it leave me to work that out myself? Cook said the former scenario is the one Apple’s implemented. “It will be clear which service is free,” he said. In other words, Apple will show each season or episode in all the services in which it’s available to you and iTunes if they have it. So you would see options for Netflix, iTunes, and HBO, if all three had the content and you were subscribed to Netflix and HBOGo.”
The Apple TV is slated to launch sometime later this month, but Apple has yet to give out a firm release date. Pricing wise, recall that a 32GB model will set you back about $149 while a 64GB model will be priced at $199. Apple’s Apple TV offers so much more, watch this space for my exclusive hands on review of the Apple TV ….