“Apple builds hardware that can be appreciated for its own sake with the added benefit of a delightful user experience that, often, leads to creativity,” John Martellaro writes for TheStreet. “Apple’s Jonathan Ive’s goal is to make a product that pleases us and thereby triggers the imagination. The device is the experience, and the experience invites freedom of expression and choice.”

“Looking at the new Amazon Fire TV (and even the Apple TV), I see a black box. Plain in the extreme. The message here is that the hardware means nothing,” Martellaro writes. “What one can use it for to satisfy tastes and interests is paramount. The box, if it could be reduced to a grain of rice, would be just fine.”

“Unfortunately, when the business goal is [to] get better at convincing the customer into spending more, there is a certain implicit callousness towards the consumer. There is a distinct difference between a beautiful instrument of creation that can be used for entertainment and virtually invisible hardware that caters solely to the frequent, shallow whims of the customer,” Martellaro writes. “With all that in mind, what future options are available to Apple? With Google’s Chromecast, the Roku systems and the Amazon Fire TV, should Apple be focused on a next-gen black box, indistinguishable from the rest? Is a race to deliver the most salivating content so that Apple can make nickels and dimes on movies and TV shows Apple’s ultimate goal?”

Martellaro writes, “Apple — if it is to remain faithful to its corporate vision of empowerment instead of the enslavement its critics (and competitors) imply — is thinking (I hope) about something more inspiring, more grand than just another tiny box to deliver addictive visual dazzles.”

Read more in the full article here.

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