What Apple does next – The Apple TV (1/3)

By all accounts 2011 was a massive year for Apple. While their product offerings didn’t include some the earlier years blockbuster announcement, 2011 was marked by some very well received improvements to current product lines (with the iPad 2 and iPhone 4s, introduction of the iCloud), a stella profit result, and one a sadder note, the death of Steve Jobs.

Stemming from this success is a company stepping into 2012 with maturing product lines ready for a refresh, a new CEO looking to put his print on the business, and a balance sheet with more cash than the US treasury.

What does this all mean? While the Steve Job years helped  propelled the company from the brink of bankruptcy into super-stardom,  it’s what Apple does next  that is going to move the company towards putting that ding in the universe.

Here’s a couple of my product predictions for what Apple might deliver in 2012:

Apple TV

Prediction: Apple TV to be released July 2012. Priced at $999USD for the 42″ model. True differentiation in Siri command interface (no remote required), glasses-less 3D, and a new iCloud/iAd content and advertising model.

When Apple announced they were entering the consumer gadget market with the iPod, the direction was almost uniformly panned as a mistake. “Focus on our core business of building computers” was the analyst cry. Hindsight shows this probably wasn’t one of Steve’s biggest mistakes.

Apple has moved from strength-to-strength with the halo effect of their consumer electronics sales. Now, they are looking at opportunities outside of phones and mp3 players into any other device ripe for disputation.

Blink and you might have missed it, but this shift has already begun. Remember Siri? Stick her in the iPhone 4s was only just the start. By July of this year we’ll see that technology enabling other devices.

What devices?

First up, you’ll see it used as the centre piece in the new Apple flat-screen TV.  Jobs is on the record stating Apple had finally “cracked” how to build an integrated television that is “completely easy to use”.  This “ease of use” isn’t about creating a better menu driven user-interface than Sony; it’s about revolutionising how users interact with their set.

“Siri, could you please record Homeland tonight”

Want to record a show on the new Apple TV? Just ask – boom – and it’s there waiting for you later. You don’t need to know what channel it’s on, or what time - it’s just going to work. Hell, you won’t even need to be in front of your TV, just bark the command at your phone, and the Apple eco-system will be able to perform your commanded across any device.

iAds finally gets its shot

Apple has tried to gain traction with its iAd advertising platform ever since iOS 4 went public. Interactive, mobile based advertising was supposed to be the holy grail for next generation marketing, but thus far it has fallen pretty flat. Will television be the channel iAd finally gains traction?

Apple could essentially cut out the middle man, serving up both content and advertising without the need for a broadcaster. Expect the networks to fight tooth and nail to stop this happening.

 

What else?

It wouldn’t be an Apple product if it didn’t adhere to premium quality standards, so expect some of the highest, backlit LED, LCD resolutions out in the market.

Glasses-less 3D will also be a must. Using head tracking cameras the set will be able display a life-life 3D image for up to six viewers.

Like all Apple products, expect high integration into iCloud. In parallel, Apple will also introduce a Netflix beating content subscription model.

Finally, it will also offer a high-resolution camera for Facetime. Which no one will use.

 

Want more? Check out:

Part 2: iPhone 5  |  Part 3: iPad 3

 

What do you think of these predictions? Leave me a comment below

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Long Straws is the personal blog of Stephen Colman.

The views represented here are mine and should not be considered representative of my employers.

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