I’ve seen this before – over and over and over. When consumer electronics manufacturers drop their price for no reason at all (meaning, the product is selling well even though it’s been on the market a while) that means a new version is on the way.
So, DO NOT run out and buy the AppleTV of the Nintendo Wii – both just had price drops of $100 and $50 respectively.
The writing’s on the wall – a new version is coming!
AppleTV: I love this product. It’s basically a media server (in the same way an iPhone or an iPod Touch is) for music, TV shows and movies from the Apple iTunes Store. Complete with a 160GB hard-drive, AppleTV sits there like a set-top box (connected to your HDTV via HDMI – outputting 1080p) and waits for you to tell it what to do. Although limited to stuff from the iTunes Store, it’s like having a Blockbuster there all the time. However, it’s missing a few things:
- A Blu-ray disc player – this would allow the AppleTV to replace one or more devices taking up space under your tv or in your rack
- The ability to record content (i.e. DVR capability) – or even just allow the addition of off-the-shelf external hard-dives to expand storage capacity. Companies like DirectTV and Scientific Atlanta allow plugging in eSATA hard-drives to their boxes, andautomaticlly add the aditional space. Expanding the storage capacity would let the AppleTV function as a true central media hub for your house – instead of trying to spread out media over random computers in your house. Another possibility would be to partner with a company like dirrectTV and act as a media extender.
- Apple iPhone App-like capability (the good people at Awkwardtv.org have added a ton of functionality to the AppleTV, but using the apps requires “Jailbreaking” the AppleTV). The iTunes app store has proved the public’s thirst for easy to use, cheap apps. Your tv is a perfect place for a different breed of media apps. Lots of TVs and media devices are starting to include internet enabled apps and widgets, like Sharp’s TVs. The AppleTV is basically a small computer, and has a huge wealth of possibilities for media and informational apps. Many iPhone/iPod touch apps would already be great on a TV without many changes. Openness is scary for a company like Apple, but it’s a successful model that will push the lifecycle of the product.
- Bluetooth keyboard support – again, the AppleTV is a small computer already, so adding Bluetooth, or even dongle support would be a fast software fix. I HATE typing using their terrible remote keyboard function. It takes 6 hours to search for a YouTube video or type in a network password. We know you hate buttons Steve Jobs, but that’s not true for everybody. While we’re on the subject, increased support for better remotes would be great. Universal Remote has recently made a deal with Apple and produced one of the best useful remotes for the AppleTV that doesn’t require drilling down menus just to go where you want fast. More third-party integration like that would be great.
- And, wishful thinking, but I would love to see it have connectivity to Hulu, Netflix, etc. But, this is doubtful as Apple wants you to use their iTunes Store. Microsoft has already taken the plunge and allowed Netflix streaming to exist side-by-side with their movie rental and purchase store on the XBox 360. At least offering a significant number of films on the iTunes store for $1 would let it compete with the ever-tempting and cheap RedBox disc rentals.
Who knows what the next generation AppleTV will bring, but one thing’s for sure, the next generation is on the way (quickly) so don’t buy the current version in the store!
Nintendo Wii: Who doesn’t love the Wii? OK, 13-20-year olds, but other than that, the Wii’s a huge hit. It’s the first video game player to attract the older-folks like to on-line and animation-based gaming! I love playing Guitar Hero and all the Wii Sports games (mostly because I could figure them out with barely any learning curve). But, the graphics suck! SD! Can you believe it? Well, have no fear, HD is near and will have caught up with the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 – which have had HD resolution gaming for the last 3 years. The next generation Wii, coming soon, will be HD capable and, like with the AppleTV, it’s coming soon, so don’t run out and buy the current version!!!