“Let’s pause for a moment amid the worshipful buzz before the launch of Apple’s iPhone in June to consider the heretical notion that Steve Jobs might be promising more than he can deliver,” Brent Schlender writes for Fortune.
“Take Apple TV, the $300 set-top box that Jobs unveiled last October and that finally started shipping in at the end of February, several weeks late. You don’t see many ads for it on TV, even though Apple is blitzing the airwaves with iPod and iMac spots, and after living with one for the past few weeks, I think I see why. It’s just not very good. It’s about as uninspired as another prominent dud, the Zune, the MP3 player Microsoft launched last year. In fact, the Apple TV is so Zune-like, you’d think Jobs was so busy with the iPhone that he outsourced the Apple TV project to the folks up in Redmond,” Schlender writes.
• Apple TV’s most highly touted feature is its weakest one: It requires an HDTV, but the video you download is so low-res that it looks as fuzzy as plain old broadcast TV.
MacDailyNews Take: Schlender is misplacing his criticism. Criticize the TV and film studios and/or Apple for not selling HD content for the Apple TV which is perfectly capable of delivering crisp, high-definition 720p output. Related: How Apple’s iTunes Store could deliver High Definition for Apple TV – May 01, 2007
• Apple TV’s coolest feature is one that wasn’t even intended: the screensaver, which plays an ethereal slide show of your digital photos.
MacDailyNews Take: Why is this in Schlender’s list of reasons why Apple TV is “Zune-like?”
• There’s no way to order a movie directly from the iTunes store via your TV, even though Apple TV has its own connection to the Internet.
• Apple TV lets you show photos only from a single computer.
MacDailyNews Take: Valid criticisms – currently. Patience, Padawan. Related: Apple reinvents consumer electronics; iPhone and Apple TV to get better over time with free updates – April 26, 2007, Apple to continually develop new software features for Apple TV, iPhone; offer free updates– April 26, 2007
Schlender writes, “So it really makes you wonder whether the iPhone, when it finally arrives next month, will be clunky and misguided despite its gorgeousness and slick user interface. Apple could turn off customers if the pricey device can’t really do what it promises because of little gotchas like insufficient bandwidth or short battery life or an unusable virtual keyboard.”
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Charles” for the heads up.]
MacDailyNews Take: It’s quite a leap to look at Apple TV in its current form and think it presages how iPhone will perform. Apple TV is much better than Schlender makes it out to be. Furthermore, someone who has actually tried the iPhone, Andy Ihnatko, for the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote back in January, “I think the iPhone’s virtual keyboard is a huge improvement over the mechanical thumbpads found on the Treo and any other smart phones of its size.”