Of all the Apple products I own, perhaps my favorite is the Apple TV. The Apple TV along with iTunes, VisualHub, and Handbrake make for a fantastic media experience. Despite nearly every Apple TV owner absolutely loving their device, the product remains a “hobby” to Apple. Though I don’t believe sales figures for the Apple TV are publicly available, a “hobby” isn’t exactly a glowing indicator of sales.
I purchased my Apple TV after the Macworld 2008 price drop and news about the 2.0 software. Originally the unit was too expensive and lacked features. The $229 price (40GB version) was much more attractive as was the 2.0 software which brought movie rentals and the ability to act as a stand alone device (no PC or Mac required). I dropped my $199 bucks down on a refurbished Apple TV and have used it nearly every day since. I really enjoy watching TV shows, video podcasts, movies, and pictures on my Apple TV. My wife absolutely loves it too!
While I gush about how much I like the Apple TV, I seem to be in the minority of Apple fans, as many do not own one. You rarely see ads for the device anywhere and I think a lot of people aren’t really sure what the Apple TV actually does. And really, how much can a “hobby” add to Apple’s already large chest of cash?
I have a solution to raise the demand for Apple TV. In fact, Apple has already implemented this solution with two of the other main product lines, the iPod and iPhone. Apple needs a Made For Apple TV program and a SDK and App Store for the Apple TV.
SDK: Imagine if NBC released a Hulu application for Apple TV. What about Google Earth for Apple TV? NetNewsWire, NYTimes, WeatherBug, Wikipanion, and Last.fm for Apple TV? The ability to set Apple TV to play music/video while you are on vacation would be a nice security feature. The list could go on for possible applications for Apple TV.
Made For Apple TV Program: Imagine the Apple TV as the central nervous system for a wireless home music/video automation system. The ability to interface with the unit via third party controls, wall units, wireless keyboards, etc.
Not only would Apple move more Apple TV units, they would also receive additional revenue with App Store sales and third party accessories (like they do with many iPod accessories). These moves would open up the device to third party developers and create an iPod like ecosystem. This would be a win-win for Apple and their partners/software developers.
Do you own a Apple TV and love it? If not, would you want one if third party accessories and software were available for it? Sound off below with your comments about my idea or your thoughts on the Apple TV.