There will undoubtedly be many comparisons made between Apple TV and Google TV in the upcoming weeks. As Apple updated and re-vamped their Apple TV initiatives today they showcased their strategy to make the television a viable platform for software and services.
Several things stuck out to me about the revamped Apple TV. The first was that the device is now without a hard drive. Which means that its primary role is to consume streaming services. Things like Netflix, which they announced and YouTube as well. It is great as well that the new Apple TV will stream content from the PC to the TV. Pictures, videos, etc now don’t need to be synced they simply can stream to the device. Apple’s own iTunes store is now even a streaming service to Apple TV. This will pave the way for more streaming services as well in the future as other content owners and networks get on board.
The second thing of interest was that even though the new Apple TV runs Apple’s own iOS it does not include an App Store. For now, it is strictly and purely an Internet services platform for rich media. Now that does not mean it won’t include apps in the future. What it does do is it allows consumers to become comfortable consuming streaming content from the Internet on their TV’s from the sources they know and love.
Lastly the role of AirPlay will play an important role in the desire for consumers to buy Apple TV. AirPlay gives all iOS devices the ability to stream content from one to the other. I could be watching a movie or TV show on the iPad an instantly send that to my Apple TV to enjoy on the big screen. The same is true of iPhone to Apple TV and even iPhone to iPad etc.
Apple is sending the message loud and clear that putting a web browser on the TV is not the correct approach for consuming Internet services on the big screen. By entering the market at a $99 price point it allows Apple to seed the market before courting developers and working with them to understand how to develop applications for the big screen. By tying all their devices together as a part of an ecosystem it is an exciting solution that I feel will be quite attractive to consumers.