Last year, when Apple released the next-generation Apple TV, I was happy. I felt that after all these years, the company finally understood just how important the living room was to its customers. And although I wasn’t blown away by the device’s functionality, I was confident that Apple would show me something new this year.
But now that December is upon us and the holiday-shopping season is in full swing, I’ve lost all hope. Now was the time for Apple to launch its updated Apple TV, and yet, it hasn’t done so. Consumers hoping to get a set-top box to connect to their televisions will need to buy last year’s model — at the same $99 price tag.
I now have a much different view on Apple’s plans with its set-top box. I’m convinced now that the company has quietly killed the Apple TV, and the current device will continue to collect dust on store shelves until the company’s long-rumored television comes out.
Admittedly, I don’t have such a problem with that move. As I’ve said here before, I’m already planning to buy the Apple television because I think it can set a new standard in the living room. More importantly, I believe that it will provide all the functionality — apps, gaming, and better Apple services integration — that I’ve been hoping for with the Apple TV.
The odd thing, though, is that Apple doesn’t want to admit that it’s killing the Apple TV. The company still wants the world to believe that its set-top box is the go-to option in the living room, and it’s willing to take the scraps whenever someone gets desperate and buys the streaming device.
But I guess that’s Apple’s way. For years now, the company has been loath to admit that a device has failed, and when it finally discontinues a product, it usually dies without Apple giving it a eulogy.
That said, there are some people who disagree with this sentiment and believe that Apple will be unveiling a new Apple TV at some point in the near-future. Their best evidence, however, comes from the iOS 5.1 beta, which they say, includes reference to a new Apple TV (3,1).
I think it’s a stretch. Could that listing mean a new Apple TV is on the way? I suppose. But given all the rumors surrounding Apple’s plans for a television, wouldn’t it make more sense for that reference to refer to that device? Furthermore, isn’t it possible that the reference means nothing?
Although Steve Jobs said last year that the Apple TV was no longer a hobby for his company, it is. The device has been ignored over the last year, and it will remain so until Apple makes its television plans known.
So long, Apple TV. It was fun knowing you.