BusinessWeek: If anyone can make bridge the great divide, Apple can with ‘iTV’

“Apple Computer often proves itself to be the best at building smartly designed consumer products. But it’s not always the first,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for BusinessWeek.

“That was my first response to the surprise announcement by Steve Jobs on Sept. 12 concerning a new product, the iTV, designed to wirelessly convey digital content from a computer to a television. The headliner of the San Francisco event was supposed to be the addition of a movie download service to Apple’s iTunes. But iTV, which won’t even hit the market until early 2007, stole the show,” Hesseldahl writes.

Hesseldahl writes, “Apple is certainly not the first to try to build a product that crosses the great consumer electronics divide between the TV and all that digital video and audio content taking up ever-larger sections of PC hard drives. Others have sought to cross it, most have failed. I don’t expect the same from Apple.”

Getting “digital media into the living room has never been slick or simple. Microsoft tried, first with the Media Center PC, a standard consumer PC outfitted with a bunch of external connections suitable for linking to a home entertainment system,” Hesseldahl writes. “Later, it added the Media Extender, which was intended to use the home computer network to push that PC-stored content to the TV and stereo. Do you know anyone outside Redmond, Wash., who finds it user-friendly?”

“To be sure, when it comes to iTV, Apple has a lot of proving to do. It’s not entirely clear what technical improvements Apple has in store. The connection to the computer will apparently be wireless, but Apple hasn’t said what variant of Wi-Fi wireless networking technology it will use. My guess is that Apple will throw its lot in with one of the parties in the battle over the evolving standard known as 802.11n, the next version of Wi-Fi,” Hesseldahl writes.

“Then there’s the question of content. Some are concerned that Disney is the only major studio already publicly signed on to the new movie download service that so far offers only 75 movies for download. But Apple is used to starting small with new media efforts. When it first debuted TV shows last year, it carried only five, and it offers more than 200 now. And the iTunes Music Store was born with a music library of some 200,000 songs, which seems awfully small considering it boasts 3.5 million songs now.” Hesseldahl writes. “Apple’s history has shown us that it can make seemingly complicated technical products easy to use and popular among consumers. If anyone can make bridge this great divide, Apple can.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “jendensam” for the heads up.]

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The Beeb asks: Would you buy the Apple iTV? – September 14, 2006
Three markets that are different today after Apple’s ‘It’s Showtime’ event – September 13, 2006
Cramer: Apple’s ‘iTV’ all about ease-of-use; Apple shares are going higher – September 13, 2006
Apple + Living Room = Logical Marriage + Boon for Stockholders – September 13, 2006
The Register: Apple event more like ‘No Show’ than ‘Showtime’ – September 13, 2006
The Telegraph: Steve Jobs’ genius making people desire gadgets for which they have absolutely no use – September 13, 2006
The Guardian: Steve Jobs needs ‘a charisma download, Apple risks being left behind’ – September 13, 2006
Mark Cuban: Things that are special about Apple’s announcements – September 13, 2006
Apple’s ‘iTV’ strategy – September 13, 2006
How will Apple’s ‘iTV’ work? – September 13, 2006
The Observer’s iPod FUD: Apple iPod is ‘wilting away before our eyes’ – September 10, 2006
Apple eyes living room market with device codenamed ‘iTV’ – September 12, 2006
Analyst: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV model ‘the gold standard for the digital home of the future’ – September 12, 2006
Analyst: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV ‘will be hard for other players to match’ – September 12, 2006
Apple gives sneak peek of ‘iTV’ set-top box to debut Q1 2007 (with images) – September 12, 2006
Apple’s QuickTime stream of Steve Jobs special event now live – September 12, 2006
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12 Comments

  1. Apple needs to buy ReplayTV and integrate that into iTunes/iTV. Talk about a killer app.

    Hey Cupertino, this one’s free. I start charging for the next brilliant idea.

    MDN MW: “ReplayTV”, wow, how spooky!!!!

  2. The key to Apple is that their processes are well thought out and scalable. The key is their simplicity of design “for the rest of us.”

    I have some fairly high end audio/visual equipment with remote controls featuring 50+ buttons controlling hundreds of functions. Yet maybe four buttons get the regular workout. The rest require the manual to figure out. I am not a retard, but neither do I have an indelible memory. Nor do I have the patience with engineers who think their vocation should be my leisure activity.

    I am quite content to live without many of the bells and whistles if my everyday experience is made simpler. Apple’s iTV demo makes appear that simplicity is at its core.

  3. Apple needs to buy the tech+folks behind Pandora (pandora.com) and try to extend the tech to visual content. Now that would be a revolution. I can’t believe no one is paying attention to Pandora. It would be the perfect fit for iTMS. Hello, Apple?

  4. I just killed my Cable at the start of the school year because my kids two teenage girls were watching shows like Project Runway and American Idol and other shows that only waste time. I tried watch CNN, MSNBC and even FOX ( for rounded perspective) but couldn’t stand any of them because of the lack of depth in the news and to many commercials OMG! (as my high school senior daughter would say) It must have been 20 minutes of content to 40 minutes of commericals! So we simply lobbed off cable. No TV. End of story. Surprisingly, no one has really missed it.. Want home entertainment? Rent a movie.

    Now will this ITV let me stream a show (after I purchase it of course) from my computer to my TV ? So say I wanted to watch a n episode of NOVA or Frontline, or Mystery, or Masterpiece Theatre, Or the Office or something. Could I just pay Say $2.99 and watch it? That would be cheaper than cable per month for me, and I get to watch when and what I want. And not have a Cable subscription ( Computer is DSL) That would be cool , liberating and economical….

    But is this the concept? or am I just wishing off base or what? Many of you guys know way about this stuff than I ever will. My computer is a G5 1.8 20″ Imac. See not need to change for a few years….

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