Like a dog with a rubber toy, Apple just won’t let go of the Apple TV, but this time it’s looking promising. With refeshing honesty (see Steve, you can admit when things don’t work!), Apple admits that the Apple TV was “not a big hit” so has practically reinvented the device, keeping only the name (which will incidentally still be Apple TV until Jobs buys ITV and forces it from them). They’ve also drastically reinvented the size and the price, bringing both down by about 2/3rds.
The all black ATV is now about the size of a coleslaw tub and the price is down to a very competitive $99, firmly stacking it against established media boxes like the WDTV Live. Like the WD box, the ATV will stream from your network and crucially it’s done away with the irritating iTunes syncing. It’s also powered by the same A4 chip that powers the iPad and iPhone 4 and features HDMI out, optical out and the nice brushed aluminium remote. The crux of the ATV is the online part, renting and watching movies and TV series, and Apple has cut the series rental to a reasonable 99 cents for a HD programme and $3.99 for HD film rentals. They are also near instant start, so now downloads and little waiting, perfect for the other half who just wants to watch a film and not a progress bar. The interface has had a facelift too to incorporate all the new features, but it still retains the net side with YouTube and Flickr, as well as Netflix and the usual music and photo playback. There’s also an app for ATV control for the iPhone/iPod touch, much like the established iTunes remote app. Interestingly there is also the forthcoming AirPlay, where like Sony’s Remote Play, the video can be sent to any iOS 4 device. So play it on the ATV but watch it on the iPad – interesting. So while Coldplay’s Chris Martin turning up at the end to knock out a few bars (and a joke – “key of iMinor” – what a card) is a little confusing, it does appear Apple are certainly thinkinh with a clear head here with many of the ATV’s wrongs being righted. The Apple TV will go on sale in the US in 4 weeks, no date has yet been set for the UK.
More Images and information on Apple’s site here
Posted by: Ian