Apple TV 3.0 software update improves every Apple TV, but what does the future hold (if anything)?

Apple Online Store“The Apple TV is a strange beast. Steve Jobs famously referred to his company’s media-playback box as ‘a hobby.’ In early 2008 Apple released a major software update, Apple TV 2.0, that revamped its interface and added movie rentals to the mix. Yet in a world increasingly full of Internet-connected TV boxes, Apple’s “hobby” has remained strangely static,” IDG News Service reports.

“Thursday’s release of Apple TV 3.0 software doesn’t do a lot to change that, but for the unknown number of people who have bought an Apple TV box over the past two and a half years, it seems to be a pleasant improvement that addresses some lingering interface issues while adding whole new levels of mystery about exactly what (if anything) Apple is going to do with the product,” IDG News Service reports.

“The highlight of the Apple TV 3.0 software update is its revamped main menu. Gone is the two-column grid introduced as a part of Apple TV ‘take two.’ Instead, there’s a new interface that takes full advantage of widescreen TVs… Font fans will be happy to know that the Apple TV interface is now drawn with famous, comforting, star-of-a-major-motion-picture Helvetica,” IDG News Service reports. “It looks nice.”

IDG News Service reports, “Main menu aside, the major new feature addition in Apple TV 3.0 is support for the new expanded-feature formats Apple introduced to the iTunes store back in September, iTunes LP and iTunes Extras. Since these formats bring a DVD-menu-style interface to music collections and movies, respectively, it was a natural that they’d end up on the Apple TV. And now they have.”

“Apple has finally added streaming Internet content sources to the Apple TV! Hooray! Dance the happy dance! No, wait a second. You’re dancing because you think Apple added support for Netflix or Hulu or Vimeo or MLB.tv or something, right? Well, stop dancing. Because Apple’s addition to Apple TV is a whole lot more modest than that: Internet Radio,” IDG News Service reports.

“As far as I can tell, the Apple TV 3.0 software update improves the Apple TV I bought in 2007, and I’m grateful for that. The new features are welcome, and I think that iTunes Extras has the potential to drain all remaining enthusiasm Apple TV owners might have had for buying DVDs,” IDG News Service reports. “And yet… It’s impossible to talk about the Apple TV without asking the big question: Where is this relationship going?”

Full article here.

31 Comments

  1. So with this update, you can now do almost as much with an Apple TV as you can with a Mac Mini, except play/burn DVDs, surf the Internet, run applications, etc.

    What is the point of Apple TV again?

  2. I’ll just add to what Kramerica said:

    – Almost ONE THIRD the cost of a Mini
    – Designed to be used and viewed on a TV
    – Designed to be used with only a remote control
    – HDMI -and- component

    Duh. They’re different, for different things, with some overlap. Your question is like asking why anyone would need a $25,000 Honda Accord a $55,000 Lotus Elise will do more.

    @currentinterest,
    Good point. I hope you’re right! As nice as AppleTV already is (I like mine a lot), it’s ripe for even more functionality. It’s an Apple product – it should be really great, not just nice!

  3. A Mac Mini does built in wireless streaming, and is easy to set up, and plugs into just about any TV with the right adapter.

    So the Apple TV is just a cheaper, feature poor Mac? You can’t even attach TV tuners…

  4. Apple is playing the Apple TV game with The Studios having tied both of their hands behind their back.

    The Studios are scared shitless of Apple’s possible dominance of the living room. They would rather split it between Sony and Microsoft.

    Bastards.

  5. So the Apple TV is just a cheaper, feature poor Mac? You can’t even attach TV tuners…
    No! The AppleTV is no more a cheaper feature-poor Mac than an iPod touch is a smaller “feature-poor” Mac.

    Instead, it’s a purpose-designed device. It’s for people who want a cheap, simple Apple-based solution to watch content from the iTunes store or stored on the the Mac they already have.

    Capisce?

  6. I think tv is fine as it is. I’m just waiting for a hardware upgrade cos I’ve held off so long already. In the meantime I’m gradually ripping my DVD collection using HandBrake’s Universal preset for both iPhone/iPod and tv playback.

    I hope Apple add 1080p support. I can’t see them adding video streaming or DVR functions that will cannibalize their pay-per-download business model.

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