My High Def Life: On Apple TV, the iPhone, OS X, and Stuff

by Erica Sadun

Yesterday, during D 2007, Steve Jobs talked briefly about Apple TV. He described it as a "hobby" more than a real business, an exploration of a new space--a set top box for the Internet. Apple TV (like Joost) is trying to find a business model that supports Internet-sourced content.

We're still waiting for high definition iTunes movies and TV shows, content that Jobs hinted might soon appear to take advantage of the newly announced $399 160 GB Apple TV units. (Current Apple TV units have 40 GB hard drives.) And we'll soon be seeing h.264 YouTube content directly on Apple TV.

The part of Jobs' interview that really caught my ears wasn't directly about Apple TV but rather about OS X on the iPhone. Apple TV, as you might be aware, runs a very stripped down, compact version of OS X that occupies just a few hundred MB. It sounds like the iPhone is going to take that approach even further, stripping down smaller and adding the multi-touch UI. In some ways, you might say that Apple TV has acted as the pilot program for iPhone technology.

As for third party iPhone applications, Jobs talked about the iPhone UI limitations: no mice, no pull-down menus and so forth, the "very different UI on the phone". To me, this was a hedge. Apple TV has a "very different" UI as well and it runs OS X applications very nicely, thank you. On the other hand, if you're in a two year $80/month data contract, I think people will be far less likely to disembowel their iPhones quite so readily as they currently do their Apple TVs to gain access to the underlying OS.


Jay Elmore
2007-05-31 08:39:24
You want me to go out and buy an AppleTV right now?

Forget YouTube sharing; sign a deal with Netflix so that I can "check out" a movie, have it downloaded to iTunes and stream to an AppleTV. When I "check it in", it gets removed from iTunes and replaced with a new selection.

Make my Netflix wait for movies go from 2 days to an hour and a half, and I am sold.

2007-05-31 13:55:07
I think all these developments are a great move. The ATV updates may not be monumental, but they do show that Apple is working on it, and it will continue to improve. I also agree w/ the author that the ATV was in a way a proving ground for iPhone tech and show it is a good showing that the ATV has been rock solid at doing what it was built to do. Sure people have enhanced it a lot, as they will w/ the iPhone, but the official version does just what it says it does, and does it great. Just waiting for the content now.
2007-06-04 11:42:49
> Apple TV has a "very different" UI as well and it runs OS X applications very nicely, thank you.

Depends on your definition of very nicely, surely? I can't imagine checking my e-mail using the Apple remote.

2007-07-01 06:21:43
Been playing around with the YouTube stuff and stumbled on the Bjork 'All Is Full Of Love' clip. Which is the first one I've seen that looks . . . well broadcast quality. Looks absolutely fine on a 32" set. Here's hoping for more like that, but I'm guessing a lot of the original rips are poor quality to start with?