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Summary:

So I broke down and got one of the new Apple TVs, despite my initial objections. There was a few reasons why I did, some of which I’ve detailed at TheAppleBlog recently. But the future possibilities of the Apple TV for web working also intrigue me.

appletv

So I broke down and got one of the new Apple TVs, despite my initial objections. There was a few reasons why I did, some of which I’ve detailed at our sister site TheAppleBlog recently. But the future possibilities of the Apple TV for web working also intrigue me.

Of course, there’s a huge “if” involved in that. That being that the Apple TV’s web working prospects are only as good as its ability to support and run apps in the future. If apps do come to the platform, it could become a revolutionary device for the person who works from home. That’s because if it does get apps, and if, like the iPad its internals are based on, it can support external keyboards or other input devices (maybe an iPad running a virtual keyboard app?), it could become the cheapest productivity computer available.

Running iWork, Docs to Go, or even just Google Docs with its upcoming iOS editing capabilities, the Apple TV connected to a display could prove a fine word processor, number cruncher and presentation tool. Perhaps best of all, at just a little bit larger than a pack of cards, it’s also incredibly portable, and can theoretically work wherever you have access to a TV or computer monitor with an HDMI input.

But would Apple really risk cannabilizing its own iPad and notebook sales for a $99 device that could do pretty much everything many basic users would need from a computing device? While it’s true that Apple probably wouldn’t want to trade sales of $500 or more for ones at $99, I don’t think an app-capable Apple TV would really do that; there’s enough of an advantage in owning a Mac and/or iPad compared to an Apple TV, even with apps, to make sure that people will still go for the more expensive devices.

Apple TV could be more than just Apple’s means of gaining entry into the living room. If the company plays its cards right, it could be the way to broaden the iOS customer base far, far beyond its current numbers. A $99, extremely portable, easy-to-setup and use device that plays nicely with Macs, iPhones, iPod touches and iPads would definitely have a place in the toolbox of any web worker.

What do you think of the potential for the Apple TV as a web working device?

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  1. Brian Forrester Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    I just hooked up my new Apple TV last week. Part of me questioned how addicted I am becoming to Apple products but within minutes of hooking it up I was happy I’d purchased it. For $99, I’m already happy to now have more web on my tv, but the introduction of apps for Apple TV would be HUGE for me. I’ve considered buying the $300 Boxee to get more of the web on my TV (in an effort to eventually cut DirectTV completely) but if Apple introduced apps I’d stay with them. I dont think it will canabalize sales of it’s other products though, if anything it will broaden the potential of the iPad as a devise that communicates with your TV and eventually replaces all of the remotes, including gaming remotes in some cases. More consumers are asking for more internet on their tv (which is why tvs come with apps now) and I hope Apple opens it up for us.

    1. Boxee is $199. Check amazon, the only place selling pre-orders. Then it goes up the $229.

  2. Given that it is designed to plug into any HDTV, it seems the limiting factor would be the cost of the TV and the ability to add a bluetooth keyboard and interaction surface like the magic trackpad or larger and I would guess a table or desk to put it on.

    I’d say that’s a lot of work to recreate a Mac Mini or iMac without an optical drive and an accurate way to select text which is the bread and butter of a web coder.

    Might be nice for what was supposed to be WebTV’s target market of immobile casual users though.

  3. My take on it is that, with just 8Gig of memory, there is not much you can do to load it up with applications. If you look at the trend of how apple has been producing their iOS devices, they have been going up in memory storage.
    Now think about this concept where when you want to play a game that is compatible with AppleTV, you use airplay to stream it on the television but the controls for it are on the iOS device (not the aluminum remote). So technically it still will be streaming but when you want to play the game, it will get loaded onto the appleTV temporarily so that it can played with the controls that are displayed on the iphone or ipad.
    If you finally dice it down, an appleTV $99 and an ipod touch $229 will add up to just $30 dollars on top of the GoogleTV cost while having an excellent gaming platform of the future. Still keeping to the streaming philosophy of the appleTV.

  4. I do have an apple TV and I am a “fanboy” of apple products. Here is what I see for the future – apps will be installed on apple tv, why wouldn’t they want to tap into all the applications already developed? I can also see it being a great gaming platform. Can you imagine playing a game on the Ipad in Game Center say a car driving game, then through Airplay transpher the game over to the big screen and continue to use the Ipad like a wheel for the game. The opportunities are endless! I’m very excited to see how apple opens up the apple tv to more opportunities!!

  5. the way I see it…the higher storage capacities of the iPod Touch and iPhone and iPad have more to do with storing content not apps…very few people are crazy like me having 600 apps on the iDevice…and yes they take up a bunch of room…

    but if there is not music/movies/podcasts/music vids on the TV then there would be plenty of room for apps…the apps are small in size at this point and don’t take up much room…the only thing that would prob make them bigger is higher resolution graphics but the programs are small in nature…the simplicity of the iOS makes that possible…so all that media that you have to sync to the iDevices because you take it with you…but if the the media is streaming from those iDevices or MAC/PC then you have the room…8GB is a lot if you think about the average app size

    I think this is where iTunes wireless syncing will come into play…so you can sync the apps to the TV…and then hopefully to your iDevices that are still tied down to the cable

    there is a plethora of possibilities for this product and the $99 price tag makes a win win

    long live the TV

  6. Apple have some serious catching up to do. I hate the fact the new model does not allow local storage. Ideally, you should be able to stream from TimeMachine because I will be damned if it makes sense having my Mac turned on just to listen to music or watch a video through my TV, I migth as well have bought a Mac mini instead.

    Until iTunes in the cloud becomes a reality then it’s a no for Apple TV. Google have produced what looks to be a formidable product, as much as I don’t like the Fact everything on my Google TV will be archived by Google for “analysis” it is a tempting solution.

  7. I just started using my Apple TV last weekend. Its a very intriguing device and some of the thoughts expressed here really get the imagination going. It is excellent at streaming video from my Macbook Pro and from Netflix. It took a long time to launch a rented TV show, so I gave up, downloading the show to my macbook instead. Personally, I don’t see much happening in terms of apps residing on the Apple TV device itself. However, the interplay between other iDevices and the Apple TV is interesting.

  8. Apple will not miss the opportunity to have Apps on the Apple TV. It is based on the same iOS that has zillions of apps and developers. And the potential for games, news and video apps on a big screen is fantastic.

    You just need to have your Apple TV UI controlled remotely from your ipod/iphone/ipad and you have the same wow multitouch experience on your TV, without the need to change it.

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