How Apple should fix Apple TV: This all seems so obvious, and yet…

“Let me preface this by saying that I like the Apple TV. It’s a solid device. And actually, it’s annoying to be in a room without one for the times you really, really want to use AirPlay. Which is brilliantly conceived and executed. And, as you might expect, Apple TV has by far the best interface of the streaming boxes,” M.G. Siegler writes for 500ish Words. “That’s where the niceties stop. Because as nice as Apple TV is, Apple is totally blowing it with the device. And it’s beyond frustrating to me as a consumer.”

“We’re now so far removed from Steve Jobs’ famous (infamous?) ‘I’ve finally cracked it…’ line relayed in his biography that it’s not even worth joking about anymore. It’s just depressing. Obviously Apple hasn’t cracked television,” Siegler writes. “Call me crazy, but it seems so goddamn obvious what Apple should do here.”

“Many years ago, I wrote about Apple’s potential foray into gaming in the living room with a forthcoming Apple TV. That never happened. I mean, it did — there are games on the Apple TV. But it’s still not a market Apple chooses to focus on, as they note themselves. Anyone can clearly see this by simply looking down at the remote they ship with the Apple TV,” Siegler writes. “As a remote control, it sucks. As a gaming pad, it’s infuriating. Rather than fix both things in the most recent iteration of the Apple TV, the company put a ring around the Menu button. Seriously, that’s what they did. Apple: no one gives a shit how svelte your remote control is. In fact, it’s one of the few instances in life where it would actually be better to create a bigger, bulkier piece of hardware.”

“Three devices,” Siegler writes. “A connected television device. A living room gaming device. An always-on home assistant. Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices.⁵ This is one device. And we are calling it Apple TV.”

Read more in the full article here.

Eddy Cue
Eddy Cue
MacDailyNews Take: Apple TV won’t be everything it already should be until it’s put under competent management.

Steve Jobs’ former gopher isn’t cutting it.

The Apple TV 4K is exactly that: The Apple TV with the 4K/HDR video it should have had two years ago and, beside some new screensavers and the app syncing it always should have had, that’s about it – oh, yeah, with a white ring added around a button on the shiteous Siri Remote*. Starting at $179.

Eddy Cue. Can’t get the deals done. Can’t recognize blatantly bad TV from the pilot, much less at the pitch stage. Puts TV content into “Apple Music.” Needs Tim Cook to hire people who can actually do his job (first Jimmy Iovine, now Erlicht and Van Amburg). Inexplicably continues to get paid tens of millions per year. Boy, the photos Cue possesses must be doozies!

Apple’s so-called TV ‘strategy’ continues to be an embarrassing joke because it’s run by an embarrassing joke.MacDailyNews, June 30, 2017

Yup, you guessed it: We’re not fans of Eddy Cue’s so-called “work.”

*With the Siri Remote, users can’t tell which end is up in a darkened room due to uniform rectangular shape. The remote is still too small, so it gets lost easily. All buttons are the same size and similarly smooth (the raised white ring around the menu button helps, but so barely it’s astounding that Apple even bothered; it’s a bandaid on a turd). The tactile difference between the bottom of the remote vs. the upper Glass Touch surface is too subtle as well; this also leads to not being able to tell which end is up. A larger remote, designed for hands larger than a 2-year-old’s with a simple wedge shape (slightly thicker in depth at the bottom vs. the top), as opposed to a uniform slab, would have instantly communicated the proper orientation to the user.

If Jony Ive “designed” the Siri Remote, he should forfeit his knighthood**.

**But we all know Jony has been obsessed with Apple Park for many years now and likely never even saw the piece of shit remote before they threw it in the box.

Hulu and NBCUniversal ink expansive agreement to bring top channels to Hulu’s upcoming live TV streaming service – May 1, 2017
YouTube to unveil virtual cable bundle for $30 to $40 a month – February 28, 2017
Stalled talks with Ron Howard highlight Apple’s content confusion – February 16, 2017
Apple vowed to revolutionize television; currently prepping an unremarkable 4K Apple TV instead – February 16, 2017
Apple TV: Still not ready for prime time – February 15, 2017
Apple hires Amazon’s Fire TV head to run Apple TV business – February 8, 2017
Apple’s new TV app shows just how painfully behind Apple is – December 14, 2016
Are you ready for 4K TV? Apple TV isn’t. – November 28, 2016
Apple has no idea what they’re doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing – November 3, 2016
Hulu inks deals with Fox and Disney, adding ESPN, Fox News and more to forthcoming live service – November 1, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue: Nope, we don’t want to be Netflix – October 20, 2016
Google signs up CBS for planned web TV service to debut in early 2017; close to deal with 21st Century Fox – October 20, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue: Nope, we don’t want to be Netflix – October 20, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue alienated cable providers and networks with an assertive negotiating style – report – July 28, 2016
Here comes á la carte programming – without Apple – July 13, 2016
Apple TV 4 is a beta product and, if you bought one, you’re an unpaid beta tester – November 5, 2015


      1. You don’t have to be a Trump supporter to be disgusted with deviant behavior.

        “Decency and class”? You kind of shot yourself down with that comment.

    1. I would agree that of all Apple executives Eddie Cue’s incompetence is beyond the pale and beyond comprehension why they keep this coasting, lazy and half-drunk looking albatross around their necks around.

  1. ATV4 sucks and the remote is the shittiest piece of shit designed by a freshman in art school.

    If someone turned that design in at some design college, the kid should be kicked out of school for being an idiot.

    The Roku remote is no beauty, but it works and we know which side is up and which side down. Once I went Roku, my ATV4 collects dust.

  2. Eddie Cue and Phil Schiller should invest in an Apple Watch and make use of its awesome workout capabilities. Definitely looked like Eddie ate more than his share of junk food, courtside at the Warrior games (in his flip-flops) this past season.

    1. I dropped my ROKU because of the bugs, tv restarting, most of the apps doesn’t work on my device, voice recognition rarely works. But in pure interface and easy to use, ROKU is miles ahead of apple.Apple could learn a lot from the rock interface, the programs preview, the “change language once and stay that way” that is not happening in apple TV, or the fact that in rook you can start a TV show with just 2 clicks while in apple TV you need like 5 or 8 if the show was already started. Also, apple TV’s Netflix app ask you for a profile overtime you open the application while in roku it just uses the last profile used and you can change any time.
      Please, apple bring Back Scott Forstall.

  3. That last para is so spot on we all thought Apple TV over 2 years ago (expected 3 years ago) was going to be all those 3 things, the press told us it was a year before we expected it indeed we were told that before anyone had heard of an echo device. Yet here we are years later, where it is an ok tv device, an occasional game device and barely related to the separate Home assistant. Am I missing something here.

    One thing I will say is I did play with one at an Apple Store at the weekend for the first time and was expecting this diabolical remote… well on initial use it seemed pretty good, clear and nice and simple, so I guess its with deeper use that the true frustrations come to light as I hear them so often.

    The interface on the screen itself looked good though hardly unique or adventurous. The white ring on the remote I guess is to make it obvious which way up it is in the dark which was one of the major gripes I seem to remember. However its been 2 years yet despite all the criticism no changes (other than that) have taken place. Have they listened to people in that time and not bothered to take note, or do they not agree with those criticisms, or do they simply not want to spend the money to change it. What I haven’t heard other than shape (to distinguish top from bottom) what actually those who do criticise it specifically want changed or added, so I am a little non plussed at the moment from that little hands on play.

    1. Thing is, Apple Stores will of course present all their products in the best light… literally.

      Since the bright lights are everywhere, you can’t appreciate (or not) the ATV’s remote’s biggest flaws until you’re in a typical viewing environment, which is a much darker or even blacked-out room and you can’t make out the buttons or orientation. It’s like plugging into USB before the Type C connector came out; if you’re not directly at it, it can take you three tries before you get it right.

      Likewise, you cannot test the iPhone’s low-light capabilities in-store.

      1. Interesting. The backlight in the Comcast Xfinity remote control is temporarily activated when it is moved. If Apple’s remote did that, then at least a couple of the general objections would have been addressed to some degree.

        1. For sure. Heck even my 5+ year old Harmony turns on a backlight if it’s moved. It’s inexcusable that Apple made a black controller, designed for a dark environment, that *doesn’t* light up if it’s not being actively used (e.g. sitting as a remote, not being used as a gamepad).

          1. See, I kind of agree with you, but ultimately I don’t. The whether she should part, not the whether she can part. That would be employment law, and it’s tricky.

            From a civil liberties point of view, there simply is no question, or even conflict. It’s a 1st Amendment right and cannot be revoked. You also cannot legislate paying homage to a symbol for the same reason.

            Now, that doesn’t go without accountability for all parties, but is depriving a living due to political disagreement acceptable to you? Does the punishment fit the crime?

            1. You are confusing and conflating civil liberties and employer rights.

              Upon employment the employee agrees to company terms, particularly how you conduct yourself on the work site and in some professions extends to your private life, as well.

              I work in a public company and cannot as an employee protest on the company dime onsite or offsite, EVER. In addition, I cannot take a public political position, cannot contribute to a political campaign and cannot even put a Trump or Clinton bumper sticker on my vehicle. Makes perfect sense to me and I have no problem following employer terms because it REFLECTS on my employer. I do vote though and keep it private.

              The first time I violate company rules I visit HR for a discussion.

              The second time I violate company rules results in an automatic 30-day suspension.

              The third time I violate company rules, a track record has been established and documented leading to automatic DISMISSAL.

              No court on planet earth will rule in my favor.

              We ALL have workplace OBLIGATIONS and employees are PAID to do their JOB!

              If the NFL players want to protest on company time it is the responsibility of the employer to legally impose consequences.

              Bottom line: The protesting fools are just tools of the drive by media for their own interests…

            2. Not conflating anything. I wasn’t clear enough in saying “whether she should” over “whether she can”. It’s tricky. Yes, I’m very aware about “at will” employment. Yes, you can even be fired for voting for or against someone. A clear violation of your rights, but not the employers rights.

              In the NFL case there is no rule on this, and there’s a collective bargaining agreement protecting the players as well.

            3. “A clear violation of your rights, but not the employers rights.”

              Typical rights do not enter into contracts, at will employment, et al.

              Agree no CONCRETE LANGUAGE stipulation exists even though the NFL league rules clearly mention attending and standing for the pledge of allegiance.

              Unfortunately a lawyer when writing league rules left wiggle room in the exact wording. And that’s the problem …

            4. I think we both agree that any work environment is authoritarian. Still there are lines to be drawn between work related activity and non-work related activity. Non-work should be off limits.

              Look at the intrusions we’re allowing into our personal lives.

              -Drug Testing
              -Polygraph Testing
              -Electronic Monitoring
              -People are getting “chipped”

              All fly in the face of the 4th Amendment, but it’s allowed because you can’t be put in jail for saying no. You can however be denied a living. Preposterous!

            5. On the other side of the issue… legislating, or otherwise imposing respect only breeds contempt.

              I’m deeply offended that the flag is exclusively used to point to soldiers and police officers.

              Bullshit! It’s a symbol for all citizens, and as such a representation of the Constitution more than a representation of anything else.

  4. I just want to use Siri to find a movie in my own iTunes library.
    If I want to watch a movie that starts with T, I have to scroll and scroll and scroll and…
    I have sent feedback to Apple. It should’ve been in there when they added Siri support.

  5. Maybe someone here can help me understand this technical aspects of this:

    My cable TV/ISP is Comcast, which allows me to watch all available TV channels (literally hundreds) on my Macs, iPhones and iPad via WiFi.

    I also have a 1080i Sony TV not connected to cable or the Internet, except via Apple TV (Gen 3, software version 7.2.2). Apple TV provides me only a limited set of channel options (WWDC, Radio, etc) including potential subscriptions to channels I already get for free on my cable TV and Apple devices. If Apple TV works using the same WiFi, why can’t I watch the shows that I can view on my other Apple devices? Why are my channels different and so limited? Why must I pay subscription fees for shows on Apple TV, but not on my other Apple devices? What do my Macs, iPhones and iPad have that Apple TV doesn’t have?

  6. I’ve had an Apple TV since the days of the hard drive-based models. Apple’s privacy policies plus the integration with services (iCloud photo library syncing, HomeKit) and the iTunes Store for purchased music, movies, and TV shows are the features of Apple TV that have kept me with the platform. However, the following changes MUST be implemented:

    1. Get the damn price down (I drive a Tesla, so I’m not a cheap individual, but from a competitive standpoint the Apple TV is way overpriced). Store purchases is where Apple should be expecting profits from the Apple TV (not from the device itself). It doesn’t matter how great the ecosystem is if it’s in comparatively few homes.

    2. Redesign the horrible remote (add backlit capability, bring back the watch battery instead of the built-in rechargeable that requires recharging WAY too often (and always at the wrong time — this is horribly frustrating), and eliminate the awkward touch panel at the top.

    3. Allow the Apple TV to work with two Nimbus joysticks simultaneously for the gamers.

    4. Provide à la carte channel pricing on a monthly basis. Get on with it, already! With hundreds of billions in cash and short-term liquidities, there is no reason Apple couldn’t get into the content game by purchasing outright Disney/ABC/ESPN and other content providers to actually give customers what they want. The days of the ridiculously expensive all-you-can-eat buffet model from cable companies is over. In other words: Comcast is doomed. With net 5 million customers leaving cable companies each year in the US, their customers’ dollars are literally up for grabs.

    One horrible flaw that was eventually corrected: when the 4th gen model debuted, the display background was white. Did not one single person at Apple have the common sense to try this on a 65″ HDTV in a living room that is dimly lit or unlit (the way most people view television)? It was like being snow-blinded! I understand that it was updated to allow for a dark background many, many months later — but this was insane. Because of this one issue, three coworkers returned the 4th gen model and went back to their 3rd gen (although one of the three returned his and bought an Amazon Firestick — does anyone think he’ll ever buy an Apple TV again?).

    Who’s minding the Apple TV store? I don’t know, but I do know that many of MDN’s readers could do a far better job.

  7. Jonny I’ve should forfeit his knighthood for everything he’s done other than hardware. He’s a hardware genius, but a software dunce. He has screwed up the Mac, the iPhone and the iPad with his “flat” software designs. which are an insult to ALL Apple users: they really look worse than crappy. He’s put the cage around the Mac dock. OS X used to have a cage, but the Tiger version of OS X broke it out, into a thing of absolute beauty. I’m sure most readers like the 3D icons better than those primitive flat ones.

    His elegant hardware designs make us LOVE everything Apple. But the software is supposed to mimic our real lives, and making the icons flat insults us no end. C’mon, Jonny. You’re more worried about winning designer awards than satisfying Apple customers.

    Let’s keep Jonny Ive in the hardware department and get him out of the software world, where he’s worthless.

    1. “Let’s keep Jonny Ive in the hardware department and get him out of the software world, where he’s worthless.”

      I could not agree more! Extremely well reasoned post.

      Hardware industrial design disciplines and navigation graphic design disciplines are as different as night and day.

      I don’t know what happened inside Apple, but what I do know is Scott and Steve established the lush look of iOS on day ONE.

      After Scott departed, Jony was appointed to lead all Apple design and the flat lifeless look debuted under Jony’s hand.

      It is esoteric, it is lifeless, it is abstract, it confuses little girls and grandmas alike as to what it means?

      It needs to go away …

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