The times are changing. Again. Head over to the Apple website and in the upper left corner you’ll see the Apple logo, then a horizontal menu of various Apple products, Support, Search, and a shopping bag (Apple’s website and online Store are somewhat integrated these days. The Menu starts with major sections– Mac, iPad, iPhone, Watch, TV, then Music. There might be a reason for the particular order to the sections but the list definitely isn’t based on revenue.
What caught my eye this week was the TV section. Click the home page link to TV and you’re treated to this.
Apple says, ‘The future of television is here.‘
Oh, I hope not, because if it is, then we’re headed in the wrong direction. Instead of moving television into the future, Apple is moving television, Apple style, into Apple’s app ecosystem.
Get the common denominator there? It’s all about Apple, and not much about the viewing experience most of us want from television.
‘OK, Mr. Farrington, what do we want from television?‘ I’m glad you asked because the answer is simple and obvious and impossible all at the same time. Think about it for a moment. What would improve your television viewing experience?
A bigger television in 4k? Surround sound? Smell-a-vision? Perhaps, but 4k means we’re able to see every facial flaw on every movie star and even older classic movies leave us visually wanting. Actually, what we want is not a technology solution which is why Apple TV leaves many people wanting, why many of us bounce back and forth between regular television– either cable or over-the-air– and Apple TV (or, Roku, or whatever name Google is using this month).
No, what television viewers want is simple and a far cry from what Apple says is the future of television.
We want TV on demand, any program or movie, at any time we want to watch, and on any device we want.
It’s just that simple. It’s also obvious that Apple’s 21st century penchant for App World on TV is not the future. At least, I hope it’s not the future. Coming later this year or early next year– Apple sometimes misses deadlines– is a new Apple TV app simply called TV. It will run on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad, and it’s like an interactive TV Guide magazine that scours your Apple account, rummages through the apps to find TV network apps you’ve subscribed to, and mashes it up into an attractive albeit convoluted bundle on screen.
That means if you already have a cable TV provider and you can subscribe to various Apple TV app channels then the TV app makes it easy to sign in and watch, as well as tell you whats on and when. It even integrates Siri.
Make no mistake about this. Apple TV is Apple’s way of doing television only because Apple has become app centric and because Apple does not yet have the political and economic wherewithal to give TV viewers what they truly, madly, deeply want– television on demand. All of it. Any time. Everywhere.
For now, we TV viewers are saddled with a growing list of Apple TV apps, a variety so large we literally wade through the apps and listings to find what we might view or pay to view, but still cannot see local TV news and sports, and by the time you add up all the disparate price tags, and if it were not for Netflix, we might just as well stick with cable TV because Apple TV is not the future of television.