As Apple enters a post-Steve Jobs era (may he rest in peace), their next big thing is obvious. It's so bluntly obvious that I'm amazed they haven't launched it already: Apps on Apple TV.
Apple TV 3 simply needs three things:
#1: ATV3 needs a bit more storage. Many people don't realize the second generation Apple TV box already has 8 gigs of flash memory, which it uses to store the operating system and as a cache to buffer streaming media. Give it an additional 16 gigs of storage for apps and you've got a winner, capable of everything from being a gaming beast to a killer media center.
#2: ATV3 needs a remote. But... wait. What's this? It's my iPhone! Problem solved. An iPhone or iPod Touch would make a perfect Apple TV3 remote. And the last time I checked, those things are selling like hotcakes.
#3: ATV3 needs an App Store (and APIs for developers to build on, of course).
Let's talk for a moment about the sort of apps that could be developed for ATV3. Obviously, games come to mind. I'm not a gamer, so I couldn't care less... but still... there's a hell of a lot of money to be made there. And, by letting developers create ATV3 games that use the iPhone as an input device, Apple will further entrench consumers into the Apple ecosystem.
The real coup isn't going to be games, however. It'll be besting that little round metallic hole in the wall. You know... Cable.
I like football. In find it unbefrigginlievable that I can't watch Monday Night Football unless I subscribe to a cable package that includes over seven hundred channels. 700!!! I'm currently giving Comcast over $120 a month, and what do I get? I get internet and hundreds of channels I've never watched. Even worse, I get a channel lineup that makes no sense. I can't flip channels anymore. I have to dial three digits. Three seemingly random digits.
Why the hell is MSNBC channel 790? And what about Comedy Central? It's channel 760, but it's running an hour early?! WHY!?? The Daily Show airs at 11PM, Pacific time. But in HD, Comcast airs it at 10. What the hell?
Cable has become so bloated and obnoxious that it's almost insane. I dare you to call your cable company to check and see if there's a cheaper package for you to subscribe to. I dare you! You'll have to surf through a long menu system and countless ads before you get to a human being.
Apple could bring all of this previous millennium insanity to an end with ATV3. I'd rather pay ESPN $5 a month for an ATV3 app that gives me ESPN live. Or, here's a better idea. Eff ESPN! How about giving the NFL $5 a month in exchange for an ATV3 app that gives me games?
How about $1 a month for an app that gives me the Daily Show? $1 for Colbert? How about another $1 for CNN and $1 for MSNBC.
I'd rather spend $20 a month for apps that give me exactly the channels I want rather than giving it to Comcast so I can get the ad channel. The ad channel? WTF?! Check your local listings. If you pay for Comcast, you're probably paying for a channel that gives you nothing but ads.
The future is broadband plus TV a-la carte, courtesy of a set-top box connected to the internet. Apple already has that box. They just need to open it up to developers and give it more storage (for apps). I realize current licensing deals will prevent my TV a-la carte dreams from happening today... but eventually it'll happen. It's inevitable. Apps on the Apple TV box would be an excellent place to begin.
Come on, Apple! Begin the beginning, hopefully sooner than later.