Here is a suggestion I posted to the Apple TV feedback site today:
I suggest you develop an iTunes “favicon” that becomes common place to host on pages that reference topics related to content that is available in the iTunes store (e.g. like icons for Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Readit, etc). Clicking the icon would either:
a) take you to the related iTunes store content for that related topic (e.g. an article about U2 might take you to the iTunes Store home page for U2).
b) might add reference to that content in some kind of “inbox” or “playlist” or “favourites” within iTunes to refer to the next time you use iTunes (Mac/PC), your iPhone/iPad iTunes, or available in a “watch queue” on your Apple T
This link could apply to references across any web site to the iTunes Music, TV Shows, Movies, Apps, eBook, Podcasts content. The link could also apply to any such content that could be viewed through Apple products (e.g. Safari, iTunes streaming, Youtube on iPhone/iPad/AppleTV). The link would allow you to open that content directly (e.g. the movie, photo, music, online video), not surrounded by a web page. It provides a convenient way to add content to a “to-be-consumed playlist” in your devic
The act of adding items to playlist might cause a Push Notification to your iPhone/iPad, or display the “ready to watch/view” dialogue box on your AppleTV (i.e. like ready to watch rented movies) to allow the user to immediately start playback on their current device if desired. This is all from clicking a link in a third party website. Taking this to the extreme, you could immediately start playing music on your home stereo (via AppleTV or similar) by clicking links on any 3rd party web site that support the iTunes favicon lin
You may support combine this with an affiliate program to give a small percentage of any potential iTunes Store sale (if relevant) to the link source. This would encourage such links to be added to third party web sites as a potential revenue source. It would drive traffic for content consumption/purchase to the iTunes store for Apple. Take the affiliate program further, you might allow individuals to host the iTunes favicon to the iTunes Store in return for iTunes Store credit (e.g. to spend on Apps).
Example Use Cases:
1) A news article about a band might link to mentioned songs, album, band in the iTunes Store. Clicking the iTunes icon would not open iTunes (although this could be a secondary option), but instead queue it to to “to listen” playlist. The user would then see this from their iPod/iPhone/iPad/AppleTV in a format friendly to immediately listen to or purchase the musi
2) A site like TED might include an iTunes icon link beside each online video on their web site. Rather than watch online, the user may want to browse talks online, adding them to their “to watch” queue, to later watch from their couch via AppleTV.
3) A blog post about an iPhone/iPad App might link to an app on the iTunes Store via this iTunes icon. Like today connecting to the iTunes Preview web site, clicking the link would (indirectly) open the App Store to purchase the application. However this icon provides an “official” graphical link (i.e. not a text based URL) and, if applicable, may provide a commission to the affliate web sit
4) A tweet might include a shortened URL to the equivalent of the iTunes link to achieve the same result (i.e. just without the graphical iTunes favicon). The linker gets affiliate compensation. The user immediately adds content to the to-watch inbox. You may have a format of the link that would directly open the content in the local applicatio
5) If Apple ever enhanced Apple TV to be more of a web consumption device (e.g. to read blogs, RSS feeds, etc) the favicon icon could be supported in a “TV remote” style of browsing to easily allow adding related content in the article to your “to watch” queu
Quick predictions of where Apple is taking the Apple TV product having been reading reviews of the iPad…
Take a look at the interactivity of the MLB app. The combination of video with interactive data (field layout, scoreboard, player stats). Now imagine that experience was standard for your home TV? Is this not the future of television, to provide interactive mashup of video and data that the end user can control?
Of course not all programming would benefit from the combination of a video and data stream, however for that content that would benefit, the interactivity and personalisation offered would exceed anything that digitial free-to-air or cable TV can provide. I used to think that Apple should put a digital tuner in the Apple TV, however assuming they can win over all the networks to make their content available within iPad applications (either within iTunes or in their own native apps) then now I see no reason why that feed of TV shouldn’t been streaming using H.264. In other words, I could completely see the next version of Apple TV being another customised version of the iPhone OS customised for lounge room, big screen viewing.
Obviously I’m not proposing a Touch UI on your big LCD TV, but imagine the combination of the iPad or iPhone Remote App working together with your Apple TV to no only be able to select iTunes content but also able to fire up other native Apps like Hulu, Netflix, CBS, WSJ, etc designed for your big screen TV. Alternatively, a simple Apple Remote should be capable of driving the Touch UI interface of the iPad without adding too much complexity. An Apple TV variant of the iPhone OS would probably require another jump in resolution to do justice on HD TVs, however I’d expect a more tightly controlled group of Apps to be available on the app-centric Apple TV — such as content providers (video and “print”), games, interactive data like weather, etc.
Such a move for Apple would take the next step from revolutionising music (iPod), telecommunications (iPhone), print media (iPad) to also change the way broadcast television is published. For example, in conjunction with live or on-demand video (perhaps a selection of video angles or content for a given program), just as important would be broadcasting the live stream of data to support the content on display. For example:
- Stats — like live stats from a sports match (like MLB above)
- Geotags — for travel shows, news stories, etc
- Product details — for advertisements, product placements in movies/TV shows
- Social Media — for live discussion of content (like integrating Twitter comments around a story)
Just imagine the revolution of the advertising industry to allow all TV content to support links to more information for virtually anything on display (products, places, people, content, comments, opinions, ratings, etc)?
Apple doesn’t hit the market with half-baked products. It works in total secrecy on products and then on business partnerships until it has a compelling market of content. I see this the same with an Apple TV streaming live and on-demand TV. I think content partners need to come to grips with individual solutions for accessing their content via iPhone and iPad applications and users will, over time, demand more interactive and personalised viewing experience of adding data streams to their viewing. When there is more coverage from content providers familiar with this combination of video and data broadcasting, then I think Apple are in a position to lift that from the individual experience on the iPad and make it a big screen experience on the lounge room television in a more controlled but experienced broadcasting market.03.9.10
I should rename this blog to something related specifically to Apple predictions…
I was reading a blog today, Great Advances are Coming to Apple Remote & Apple TV, and suddenly a few pieces of the Jobs puzzle fell into place.
Specifically Patently Apple drops all the clues (my emphasis in italics),
Although the patent brushes over this fact quickly, the fact remains that Apple TV will be able run applications beyond iTunes, such as “email, web browsers, programming guide applications or game networks…” Yes, we can easily see that Apple’s iPad will also be able to work in sync with Apple TV which is likely to run to the same operating system in the future.
Apple’s patent point # 59 specifically mentions game networks (think OnLive, as an example) and the screenview of FIG. 14 below confirms this and also phrases it differently by including game station – which could be hinting at Apple working with one of the major gaming console makers.
and finally this..
And lastly, the patent provides us with a hint that Apple TV could, at some point in time, include cellular telephone communications protocols. That would hold some interesting scenarios indeed, but I think that such a feature is a little too down-the-road.
So, why would Apple ever partner with another games network when it has tens of thousands of games in the App Store? Why not have a “games network” where a user could, using their Apple TV, download any game from the App Store as required and play the game on their TV? Perhaps iPhone games (320×280) don’t have the resolution to do justice on TV (e.g. HD 720p is 1280×720), however games developed for the iPad (1024×768) would be getting much closer to acceptable on the big screen. iPhone games may not have the same depth as consoles, however with a wireless remote (i.e. iPhone/iPod Touch with accelerometer) there is potential for the same fun factor as a Wii. And the In App purchase model would allow for quick download of new content.
Another very new angle is the announcement of Steam for Mac, there would be potential to offer richer single and multiplayer games closer to consoles. I doubt you could sell an Apple TV for the same price with the required video card to do these games justice, however if Xbox and PS3 can do it, so could Apple if they wanted to be in this market.
My long shot prediction for the Jobs master plan is therefore:
- Support iPhone apps on the iPad to provide instant library of applications.
- Promote iPad app development for the larger form factor.
- Use the iPad to get movie / TV studios used to larger scale digital sales (i.e. improve access to content)
- Release upgraded Apple TV as a true media centre with TV, current movies, games (see below) in a closed in DRM protected package.
The Apple TV clearly has lots of potential as media device. Having owned one for over a year and love it as a media player, online video store (albeit older releases) and music player, to make it a killer media device I think it needs:
- Very latest releases, at least current with DVD for that country .
- Free to air TV, either via the Internet (ala Hulu) or a Digital Tuner.
- Recording, live pause and playback of TV
Addition of games for me is a nice to have, but I can see it rounding out the purchasing decision for a family wanting an all-in-one media device.
 As an aside, I would like to see iTunes and therefore Apple TV (or, to keep the movie studios happy, only Apple TV, to keep content viewing in the lounge room) offer variable pricing for TV/movie releases but with simultaneous worldwide distribution. For example, right now I would like to watch Caprica in Australia, however I would need to wait until an Australia network picked it up for this market. I’d be happy to pay say $5 per episode for the option to watch it in time with the US release. This high premium therefore should compensate studios for the lose of premier deals with local networks. This premium price is consistent with the premium budget of Apple owners so, in my view, takes the cream off the top for the studios, gives Apple an exclusive content offering to justify a premium product, and still leaves enough in the bottom end of the market for per country DVD releases without DRM. Brilliant.