“For years, Apple executives have referred to the company’s dalliance with streaming TV and video as a ‘hobby,'” Dwight Silverman writes for The Houston Chronicle. “That reference has always come with a ‘wink wink nudge nudge,’ because everyone knows that Apple’s aspirations in the television arena go way beyond a mere avocation.
“Still, after the company released the third generation of its Apple TV in 2012, its progress on the TV front seemed to stagnate,” Silverman writes. “As Apple fiddled, cord-cutting burned white-hot. Other streaming devices soon passed Apple’s product in capabilities. For example, Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire Stick featured killer voice search. Roku outshone Apple in the depth and breadth of video sources.”
“While we’re still waiting for the company’s TV service, you can now buy the new hardware. The fourth-generation Apple TV is now available, and I bought one. My impression: It’s like a gorgeous cake that didn’t cook long enough,” Silverman writes. “You know what I’m talking about – it’s beautiful on the outside and tastes pretty sweet, but the more you dig into it, the more you realize it could have used more time in the oven. This new Apple TV is an unfinished product, full of potential that, for now, is largely unrealized.”
“The new Apple TV does not support 4K video. The best it can do is 1080p, the most widespread standard for high-definition video, even though the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus can shoot 4K video,” Silverman writes. “There’s not a lot of 4K content in the streaming universe – Netflix offers some, as does Amazon – but you’d expect a 2015 streaming box to offer it if only for future-proofing. The latest version of Amazon’s Fire TV and the Roku 4 support 4K, why not Apple?”
MacDailyNews Take: So Apple can soak users for another Apple TV upgrade next year? In the absence of any further information from Apple, that is, unfortunately, the only real conclusion the average consumer will make of Apple TV’s glaring lack of 4K capability.
“The App Store stands as a symbol for the promise and frustration of the new Apple TV. There’s a lot of potential here, but it’s unrealized enough to be really, really annoying at times. Many of the Apple TV’s flaws can be solved with software updates, and you can already see Apple improving the product,” Silverman writes. “But there are some baked-in design decisions – such as the out-of-date Ethernet port and the lack of 4K video support – that won’t be fixed until the 5th-gen version is released. Other drawbacks, such as inability to use a Bluetooth keyboard and the horrible horizontal onscreen keyboard, are philosophical approaches that may or may not be addressed.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: It’s perplexing that a a company the size of Apple couldn’t manage to release Apple TV with a working Remote app for iOS devices, with a Siri capable of Apple Music search, with bluetooth keyboard support, with 4K video capability, or with gigabit ethernet, among other things.
To put it plainly, the state of Apple TV at its release reeks of laziness, mismanagement, and/or taking your customers for granted.
Even with all of that said, Apple TV is a diamond in the rough, but it’s still well worth the price.
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Terry White reviews Apple TV: Feels like an ‘unfinished’ product – November 2, 2015
ZDNet reviews Apple TV: A diamond in the rough – very rough – November 2, 2015
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015