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The new Apple TV and ONE BIG question remains

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 | Author:

Nothing heralds the coming of the fall season like professional football in the United States, except maybe the annual September Apple event, and this year was no different. Some people were left sated by the bevy of new Apple products that were announced, while others were left scratching their heads and wondering, “Was that it?”

While the fall 2010 iPod line-up looks great, especially the new iPod Nano, Apple CEO Steve Jobs saved the “one more thing” moment for the revamped Apple TV. As an owner of a 160GB Apple TV, I was worried that if/when Apple did revamp the device, my current model would be rendered useless at worst, or outdated at best. Surprisingly, neither happened.

The new $99 Apple TV looks to be a great device, albeit one with no internal storage capacity. Streaming is the word of the day, with no ability to either buy content or store it locally on the Apple TV. Rentals, starting at $.99 for television shows, will be streamed to your Apple TV over the internet. (Hope you have a fast internet connection!) You will also be able to stream content from a Macintosh via WiFi or Ethernet, or an iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) via the new AirPlay built into iOS 4.2. (Coming this November)

The only real question I have is this: will AirPlay be a service that other iOS apps can take advantage of, or is it reserved for Apple’s own apps? If indeed, as some have speculated, AirPlay will be available to third-party developers, would it be logical to assume that apps could transform the Apple TV into something much greater than we saw on stage at this Apple event? If I can stream any video content from my iOS device to my Apple TV, I would be able to watch videos content from apps such as HBO, HULU Plus, ABC, and many others.

All of a sudden, the Apple TV looks to be much different from the first generation device. Right now, other than Netflix (which I have on my PS3 and Xbox 360) and the AirPlay, I don’t see any significant changes that would warrant my abandoning my current Apple TV for this newer, quieter, and cooler one. Or am I missing something?