Daniel Eran Dilger in San Francisco
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Will Apple TV get FaceTime, too?

Daniel Eran Dilger

Everybody is talking about the expected new release of Apple TV 4.0, running iOS apps, streaming shows, and perhaps sporting a new iTV name. But the most interesting new potential of the device isn’t even being mentioned: FaceTime.
Sure, an iPod touch without a screen would make a great replacement for the existing Apple TV, which is a little too expensive to catch on, given its limitations. In particular, Apple never supported any provision for third party apps on the appliance.

Were Apple to launch a new iOS device near the rumored $99 price point, it would make sense that users who love their iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad would be interested in buying a complementary device that brings their content and and a similar app environment to their living room.

FaceTime in the living room

The biggest prospect of the new device has gone completely unstated however: it would be trivial for Apple to add a basic camera (just like iPhone 4′s front facing VGA cam, and as is widely believed to be added to iPod touch 4 as well), giving the new device both FaceTime capabilities and interactive gaming on the cheap, similar to Sony’s EyeToy.

FaceTime is currently tied to iPhone 4 via the mobile network, at least when initially placing a call. Based on some experimenting with a friend who works with commercial video conferencing gear, it appears FaceTime only needs to send something like an SMS message to Apple’s servers to register a phone number as FaceTime compatible.

Once that happens, that user can be subsequently called using FaceTime over only a WiFi connection. Since FaceTime is so similar to iChat, it won’t take much for Apple to release an update for Mac users than enable them to call iPhone users over FaceTime, and spread the FaceTime love to iPod touch users as well.

It’s not much of a stretch to also add FaceTime to the next Apple TV, something that would enable a user to contact their children or grandparents for one of those wonderfully personal FaceTime experiences Apple captures in its advertising.

Seeing your friends and family on TV would be even easier for the self conscious who balk at the idea of being on a video camera. After all, you’d be across the room on your couch, not with an iChat camera right in your face recording warts and all.

iChat TV

Having an iSight camera on the new Apple TV would also open up the device for a new class of immersive games. While Sony and Microsoft have worked to deliver impressive HD graphics, their consoles were outsold by the simple Nintendo Wii because it was cheap and accessible to a wider audience.

Why not target the same type of audience with a new class of TV-centric games? You not only have an equivalent to Sony’s EyeToy, which enables a sort of augmented reality where you are in the shot, but you can also use the accelerometer-based game controllers you already have: your iPod touch or iPhone. They even have a screen themselves for some really interesting gaming applications.

I wrote about these prospects earlier in considering what Apple TV could be if Apple actually threw some effort at it. Making it an iOS device at a lower price helps a lot, because it strips away the somewhat confusing “sync or stream” interface for Apple TV, rids it of its limited hard drive capacity, and makes it work a lot more like Apple’s other far more successful products.

Rather than being based on its own scaled down version of the Mac OS, an iOS based Apple TV 4 would also beg Apple’s mobile developers to throw out thousands of new apps scaled up to look good on HDTV. Incidentally, the new device is expected to have nearly the same resolution as iPad: 720p (1280×720 vs the iPad’s 1024×768).

That would result in three major formats for iOS apps: iPhone/iPod touch (which includes iPhone 4′s double enhanced resolution screen, operating at the same scale but with sharper graphics); iPad (intended for more sophisticated, full screen apps); and Apple TV (aimed at the same scale and resolution as iTunes Extras and iTunes LP). That’s less complication in resolution variety than Android has just within its smartphone realm.

Apple vs Google expands its theaters of war

Developers demonstrated giddy interest in Apple’s iPad before it had even chalked up impressive sales. It’s resulting success, wildly ahead of anyone’s projections, cemented Apple’s App Store as a safe bet for developers to invest in, and paved the way for Apple’s next foray, which certainly appears to be aimed directly at the TV.

Conversely, Google has done a poor job at managing Android, spending 2010 giving its platform stupid features like animated wallpaper while ignoring key capabilities such as proxy support (something business users desperately need).

The Android store has also established itself as a place for hobbyist junk, with the majority of Android’s “apps” actually being individual ringtones or wallpapers. Google hasn’t even set up a commercial market for many of the regions it distributes apps in, forcing even users who want to pay for apps to simply pirate them. And even in the US where users can buy apps, Google makes it far too easy for users to simply steal them instead.

Google has haphazard plans for tablets that involve both Chrome OS and Android, but Android tablets can’t connect to Android Market to download apps, so there’s no way for hardware makers or third party developers to support Google’s tablet ambitions with custom app features. Google is now eyeing the TV, but its enrapturement with advertising (the key problem retarding any progress in Android Market) is set to kill support from the broadcasters and networks Google hopes to take advantage of to absorb their revenues.

Apple isn’t primarily an advertiser; it’s a hardware company. That’s why Netflix and ABC and everyone else was willing to bet on iPad; they know Apple isn’t motivated to take their content for free and stick its own ads on it; Apple wants to partner with them, not rob them.

Google, like Microsoft, eyes everyone else’s money and sets out to just take it. That’s not to say Apple isn’t entering the ad market; it most definitely is. But it will be selling advertising as a service that promotes apps on its platform, not simply half-assedly throwing out a platform that assumes everyone will throw in their money and enable it to skim off the top of the pool as if it were a casino.

As Google has been.

59 comments

1 Anonymous { 08.27.10 at 12:20 pm }

Twitter Trackbacks…

2 Alan { 08.27.10 at 12:33 pm }

Facetime and iOS on the new Apple TV makes a lot of sense. I am curious as to what type of remote Apple would have to include to allow navigation of the GUI though since it is a touch based OS. Possibly and iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad? I am sure Apple will have thought all of this out and will have a good solution.

As far as 99 cent rentals, I don’t see that going anywhere. Netflix is just too damn good and cheap. For a little more than $10 a month I get all you can watch streaming not to mention blu-ray rentals as well. The selection is huge and now they even offer much higher quality streams in HD. I wish Apple would just buy Netflix or make a deal with them to be able to use it on the next Apple TV. Now that would be something to cheer about.

3 t0m { 08.27.10 at 12:34 pm }

There’s a reason why there isn’t a webcam in the Mac Mini…
I think Apple would be far more likely to have a wireless webcam support, or USB support, than have one integrated into what is going to likely be a Mac mini like box. Why? Because you need line of sight. Who has their cable boxes, or their Mac Pro, or their Mac Mini at eye height, facing them directly?

Integrating MobileMe seems much more usful – then you buy gran or grandad or mum and dad an ITV, and then they could look at your pictures and share pictures, via the box. You could share video etc. Would people want their face broadcast onto a big TV? maybe not. But as part of an iChat experience – that would be something. But iChat as a big update may be waiting for OS 10.7 – as it’ll touch on IM, Facetime, location sharing, maps and more.

So it might be able to do Facetime, but i’d be surprised that it did it out of the box, unless it came with a nifty webcam. And if it did, boy wouldn’t that be 1 step from Apple Kinect? Hmmm…
Being able to do VoITV might be a more fun thing to add. As with all things Apple, there will be polished but fewer features than hoped for.

If Apple wants social – sharing video choices, music choices between people sounds a good idea. I’m more anticipating 64bit iTunes (either iTunes X as the big update, or that will come more with 10.7).

4 t0m { 08.27.10 at 12:35 pm }

Getting apps on there seems to be the big first step – alongside getting iAds. Gain the userbase, and then add more features?

5 Maniac { 08.27.10 at 12:59 pm }

“Incidentally, the new device is expected to have nearly the same resolution as iPad: 720p (1280×720 vs the iPad’s 1024×768).”

And there’s nothing preventing Apple from eventually upgrading the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV (or iTV) to all have the same 1280 x 720 resolution in the future. Even further down the road, once we all have ultra-high bandwidth fiber to the home, Apple TV / iTV could be bumped up to full 1080p.

6 adhingra { 08.27.10 at 1:01 pm }

How about putting the camera in the remote? Add Bluetooth EDR 2.1, one of those tiny touch screens so many folks are curious about, a small yet powerful battery, and a recharge capability in the iTV.

If the remote can have a small, yet capable enough screen, the user will have an intimate call experience because the person is in your hands.

The TV can also display the call, which is great for groups of people. The difference between this and video conferencing is in how people will appear on the TV, because they are not looking into a dark cluttered room, they’re looking into someone’s Face.

This *feels* like how Apple wants FaceTime to be experienced. Immediately engaging with no distractions to get in the way of what really matters: the person on the other end.

[Well if your remote is iPhone 4 you already have one. - Dan]

7 ChuckO { 08.27.10 at 1:06 pm }

Gaming for AppleTV\iTV sounds like a smart route to take. It seems like Apple\iTunes is at an impasse due to the content providers putting the screws to Apple and trying to keep Apple humble.

The other thing that would be cool is if content creators would create apps to get content on AppleTV\iTV. A LaughOrDie app or a espn app and a Netflix app and so. Maybe that could be a trojan horse that the cable companies wouldn’t notice and wouldn’t threaten the networks cable money.

I would definitely take a chance on a $99 device to stream iTunes to my TV even if that’s all it did now that Blockbuster is no longer there as my last resort for stuff that isn’t available OnDemand.

8 ChuckO { 08.27.10 at 1:27 pm }

The thing I don’t get is I recently read that the networks get $250 million from the cable companies for carrying their channels and that it will rise into the billions in the coming years.

I would think at those prices Jobs would pull out the checkbook and write a $250 million a year check to make “best of TV” a reality and bring content to all iOS devices. Apple has what $40 billion in the bank. That would be the best money they ever spent.

9 overnightparking { 08.27.10 at 3:43 pm }

Have to agree that FaceTime usability on iOSTV depends on camera placement and I just don’t see how this would work. Maybe Apple will come up with the unexpected?

I see the apps as the big deal on this not yet announced product. If I conceive of it correctly a company, say Time Warner, could build an app which streamed their content through some sort of subscription between TW and the user with no Apple inbetween except as the device manufacturer. If some other media company, say CBS wanted to give away a lot of programming (as they currently do) they could give away a free app and run iAds in it. If iAds actually work (ie generate revenue), voila, ad supported tv, the missing revenue stream for the content owners. If these two ways to monitise content over digital work then the logjam that Jobs has spoken of is broken and I think content would then move to digital.

The nice thing for Apple is that they sell hardware which is how they make their money.

The great thing for the consumer would be this new availability of content over and above what one can rent through iTunes ie, the device owner gets way more content then ever available through the current AppleTV. Apple gets to rent videos etc through iTunes but the user has more options through the apps.

Obviously an open app system means all kinds of new things happening on a tellie many of them unimaginable today. I just don’t see the FaceTime killer app angle. Apps in this case from MPOV are the killer app.

10 brew57 { 08.27.10 at 4:05 pm }

Where would the “iTV” camera go? They’d probably have to sell it separately. Would it be some kind of on-TV mount like a Logitex webcam for a PC?

11 berult { 08.27.10 at 8:04 pm }

Facetime is the great enabler.

It puts a human face, or real emotionally driven and transparently conveyed content on Apple’s communication interface. It bears no intermediaries other than spoken and acted out expression of oneself, and actual and immediate interpolation and extrapolation of complex interpersonal messages.  

On a fundamental level, it tends to create a static free communication environment; the noise being generated entirely by the convened wills of the participants. This is an ideal environment for Apple, whereas It delivers the means for mediation, interference and sponsorship free social networking that, by definition, can only grow on the nurturing consumer.

Facetime enables; it does not induce, subtly coerce, or highjack human interconnectivity. 

So yes, it has to be integrated into every tool in the Apple toolbox, including iTV. Now is the time for ‘Intelligent Design’ to be put, at last, to constructive work on more spontaneity and authenticity in the public conversation. And hopefully away from ‘spare a dime’ narratives and monologues.

Let Apple feed the cogency market and lure the competition out of its comfort zone!   

12 seanw { 08.27.10 at 9:13 pm }

as for the isight camera, i seem to remember a patent that apple had applied for that involved combining LEDs and CCDs. in effect making the screen the camera…am i mistaken in this? does anyone remember?

13 Imapolicecar { 08.28.10 at 6:44 am }

Bluetooth webcam?

Also, slightly off subject, but has anyone noticed that the rabid tirade on several websites regarding Apple going down the pan, Apple tax, not as good as PeeCee seems to have dried up since the iPhone and iPad successes? Or is it my imagination?

14 VeoSotano { 08.28.10 at 8:19 am }

Dan, when are you going to be in Madrid? Let’s have a chat and I’ll invite you to a beer :)

15 Nathan { 08.28.10 at 8:22 am }

Wasn’t there also an apple patent revealed a while back that involved controlling an operating system through hand gestures recognized by the built in camera? Does anyone remember that?

16 sanand_s { 08.28.10 at 9:40 am }

Well if the remote is iPhone or iPod Touch, it potentially becomes a Wii too. Actually, a controller much advanced than Wii. And I guess it won’t be difficult to modify existing games to accept remote touch and sensor data.

17 Gari22 { 08.28.10 at 9:53 am }

I really don’t see Apple going with the iPhone/iPod as the remote for Apple TV. A few reasons for this: not everyone has an iPhone or iPod, may be a small number of people who would buy Apple TV without already owning an iPhone or iPod, but if someone does they’re left with a useless device?
It seems like an inelegant solution to use a handheld computer (iPhone/iPod) as a peripheral device to a handheld computer (Apple TV), doesn’t strike me as an Apple solution. I know they already make that Remote app for iTunes, but that isn’t the basis of a standalone product.
The abstraction of the iOS touch interface from the screen you’re viewing it on to a handheld touch screen seems like it can only harm the intuitiveness of the interface.

Apple may modify the interface of iOS to run on Apple TV. But I would expect it to use the backend of the operating system with the UI looking much more like the current Apple TV UI, though probably updated with some new functions.

18 Dietlama { 08.28.10 at 10:31 am }

There was a post on Daring Fireball earlier this week citing a discussion of the remote situation for the rumored iTV. In the article the author suggested that the new remote would look similar to the current Apple Remote, but function like a clickwheel iPod. This seems to make a great deal of sense to me. In addition, I think it would be a no brained to “allow” an iPod/iPhone or iPad to be used as a remote for the new iTV. It certainly won’t be a requirement, but the possibilities for functionality a too great to ignore as an option.

As for Facetime, imagine a device that looks like an iPhone 4 only aluminum all around with a camera embedded in the center of the longer side. This size of device could sit on top of, below or even beside (on a shelf) the TV. Adjust the dimensions to accommodate HDMI and possible other connection options, and you have a viable concept for the device. I would be VERY surprised if the iTV has anywhere close to the dimensions of the current AppleTV, let alone a Mac Mini. My guess, this thing is going to be as small as they can feasibly make it.

19 Mike { 08.28.10 at 12:24 pm }

Why isn’t anyone thinking that the new Apple TV will be the WHOLE widget? The TV, the device, everything wrapped into one nice box. And viewing it this way, a webcam makes perfect sense. The only problem is now everyone’s TV is obsolete ;) What a waste of old perfectly working TVs in the trash. On the other hand, I get to replace a audio reciever, TV, cable box (maybe), DVR, DVD player, and Apple TV box (assuming I had one) with one box uncluttering up my living room with one power cable instead of five or six :) Sweet.

I’m not entirely sure why the last section about Google and Android is there. It’s a good article, but you could’ve expanded on why Google TV is not very relevant (b/c it seems like a box that makes you use your internet connection to watch TV) instead of going off on a seeming tangent trying to re-hash iPhone and Android… or rather, iPad and Android. To be honest, I don’t see much of a point in Android tablets either, but it would be nice to have some viable competition so Apple keeps improving the iPad :)

20 Mike { 08.28.10 at 12:26 pm }

@Gari22

It seems like the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad would be a preferred remote solution, rather than the only one. I’m sure Logitech would come out with their awesome one remote stuff that would support it. And you could always opt for a traditional remote that would probably come with the system. It’s just that the experience of controlling it by iPhone or iPad would be so much cooler… and probably better too :)

21 Alan { 08.28.10 at 1:42 pm }

I can see the attractiveness of the games and apps that come along with iOS, but no one has really addressed the media content. Currently iTunes TV/movie selection is not only small but relatively quite expensive compared to the alternatives. Now that Netflix was approved not only on the iPad but also for the iPhone, why not an iOS enabled iTV? I doubt people like me with a PS3 would add an iTV or Apple TV because it would duplicate many of the features, but for all those people without a gaming console that just want a lightweight gaming/roku type device it would be perfect.

22 roz { 08.28.10 at 1:49 pm }

Facetime on a TV would be great. You have a couple hurdles. One is camera placement. The other is sound, as in ouput, mic and the issue of echo cancellation. If Apple uses the built-in audio of the TV it has a challenge canceling the echo between Apple’s mic and the TV speakers. its not so easy because Apple does not knwo much about the TV speakers as they are different on every unit. Then again – maybe Apple figured out a way to handle this. Could very well be the case.

As nice as it would be to have facetime I think getting a device that is accepted commercially in the livingroom would be a big enough win. I don’t think that depends on Facetime so my bet would be that Apple is not trying this at this point. They are focused on fixing the TV experience as much as they can, not adding a new area of complexity. I could be wrong but that is my take.

I think Apple will have a new remote app for iPhone, iPod and iPad and this will be a controller device for these new sets but they will also include in the box a lower cost remote, similar maybe or equivalent in cost to the current remote they ship. Maybe a small multi-touch pad – along the lines of the magic pad but lower in cost, smaller handheld…

23 beetle { 08.30.10 at 5:05 am }

Keep in mind that the “MP3 player” maket was “mature” when the iPod came out. Likewise, the “smart phone” market was saturated before the iPhone. Tablets had been tried for decades before the iPad. Enen now, it still a minority of home TVs which connected to a PlayStation, Xbox, or Wii.

Personally, I am just looking forward to an iPod Touch that can replace my cam-corder.

24 ChuckO { 08.30.10 at 7:05 am }

The more I think about it the more games and apps by content providers makes sense. “Best of TV” could be everybody downloading their favorite content provider apps to deliver content with iAds. They could work on all iOS devices.

Facetime would be interesting too.

25 TheMacAdvocate { 08.30.10 at 7:17 am }

I agree with the commenters that pointed out why the ATV won’t get a camera. The apartments in San Fran might be too small to imagine a “field of view” issue, but it’s the reason why the cameras built into the keyboard-driven devices work: you’re FOV is pre-framed.

I could, however, imagine a software conduit for the iPhone 4 (or the upcoming iPod Touch) allowing one to extend Facetime to their ATV over WiFi. VGA camera video upscaled to my HDTV wouldn’t be a significant feature in my book, though.

26 gslusher { 08.31.10 at 1:02 pm }

@Alan:

“I am curious as to what type of remote Apple would have to include to allow navigation of the GUI though since it is a touch based OS.”

Magic Trackpad? It uses Bluetooth.

“As far as 99 cent rentals, I don’t see that going anywhere.”

That is purportedly for TV shows, not movies. The big competition wouldn’t be Netflix but “On Demand” services from cable providers.

@Maniac:

“And there’s nothing preventing Apple from eventually upgrading the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV (or iTV) to all have the same 1280 x 720 resolution in the future.”

There’s one reason for the 4:3 (1024 x 768) aspect ratio: it matches most point-and-shoot cameras, so photos can be shown fullscreen, without cropping. Perhaps a better choice would be 1280 x 800 (16:10 aspect ratio), like a MacBook.

27 TheMacAdvocate { 08.31.10 at 1:03 pm }

I did a little speculating myself, if I may be so shameless as to link:

http://themacadvocate.com/2010/08/31/tma-on-the-appletv/

28 Alan { 09.01.10 at 8:53 am }

Well, we shall see what Apple has in store for us in a few hours. I thought about the magic trackpad, but doesn’t it cost around $60? I doubt Apple would include that as the remote if the Apple TV itself will only run around $99 if the rumors are to be believed. I did see rumors today saying Netflix would be added either as a free app or included. That would make it more viable than anything in my eyes. Roku would go out of business in a very short order. Netflix plus thousands of apps and games for $99 = big win for Apple in the living room.

29 John E { 09.01.10 at 2:35 pm }

so it didn’t happen.

still, i can see how the new ATV2 can one day stream the images of apps playing on your iThing to your TV – basically mirroring the iThing display. probably just needs a next generation of more powerful processors for the iThings to do. so the apps will run on the iThing, not the ATV2.

there was no mention of the iThing Remote App. have to assume it will be quickly updated to run ATV2 once they go on sale.

and i can see FaceTime being added to OSX soon, either as part of iChat or a new stand-alone iLife application (interesting – no mention of iLife today at all).

but it is hard to see how a camera can ever be added to ATV2. it’s just a one-way down-streaming box now. no up anything.

maybe Apple will release a new battery powered iSight camera that can connect via blutooth with your LAN or iThing, wherever in the house you put it (like clipped on top of your TV). even multiple cameras at once. and then patched in to FaceTime that way. that would be very cool.

30 roz { 09.01.10 at 2:44 pm }

Uh, maybe it did sorta happen? The question is if Facetime app on iPhone/iPod Touch will support AirPlay. If it does then you could for example use the camera on the iPhone as outbound video and your TV as display for inbound video. That seems like a really good solution to me.

31 kdaeseok { 09.01.10 at 2:51 pm }

No it didn’t happen. even it is Airplayed, I’d feel pretty stupid if I had to fix ipod somewhere near Apple TV and look at it while using Facetime.

32 roz { 09.01.10 at 3:04 pm }

Well anywhere you have a camera you going to need to look. I don’t see what the difference is. Would be very easy to have a third party stand to hold your device with camera – they already exist.

33 berult { 09.01.10 at 4:28 pm }

The combined impact of ios devices wide diffusion, Facetime, Game Central, Ping and Apple TV is a clear assault on internet slow migration to personalised anonimity.

The whole will start traveling over the hump and trump the sum of its parts with ios 4.2 and the implementation of air time.

Seamless integration, ease of use, an enhanced non mediated human experience instead of ever more addictive and additive user experiences could, should take internet where it should have been from the very beginning.

Are Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and their derivatives, capable of drifting away from a seemingly profitable exploitation mindset and embrace the more challenging human centric approach? They won’t because they can’t.

Subcontracting hardware conceptualisation and implementation gives rise to a fragmented and peacemeal quest for easy profit; it preempts ‘the whole is more than the sum of its parts’ evanescent quality embodiment of human nature itself.

Simmetry is the key. As you define human nature, as you define its technological expression.

34 ChuckO { 09.01.10 at 4:29 pm }

It’d be cool to use an iPhone/Touch for Facetime with the other person on the TV thru AppleTV.

I think the Apple TV’s a winner at $99 I’m going to get one.

35 roz { 09.01.10 at 6:52 pm }

Yeah $99 is very compelling. Kinda is a no brainer.

36 Alan { 09.01.10 at 7:52 pm }

A no brainer if you don’t already have a device that performs similar functions. I can’t see any PS3 owners like myself getting one. My PS3 can do everything the apple TV can and a whole lot more. Blu-ray, games, netflix, access to my entire Mac including iTunes, iPhoto, videos, etc.. But I can see the attraction for people who would have otherwise bought a Roku type device.

37 kdaeseok { 09.02.10 at 12:01 am }

roz, Facetime makes sense if there’s a camera placed on the TV.
If it is Airplayed from iPod , you get the facetime call from your ipod, move it to the living room, and select Airplay-wait a bit, place the iPod on the cradle on the TV, go back to your seat to speak.
In a word- don’t bother!

38 ChuckO { 09.02.10 at 8:39 am }

@kdaeseok 36, I disagree. I wouldn’t mind holding the iPhone/Touch while watching the other person(s) on my TV. Maybe with a smaller picture in picture of myself to use for monitoring. Same with setting up the iPhone/Touch as in your scenario. That would make sense for multi-person Facetiming.

There’s no optimal setup but that doesn’t make it a bust.

39 kdaeseok { 09.02.10 at 5:37 pm }

Try that and you’ll see what I meant.

40 ShabbaRanks { 09.04.10 at 7:10 am }

For anyone who’s running OS X and wants the old horizontal window controls in iTunes 10 just close iTunes, open terminal and type:
‘defaults write com.apple.iTunes full-window -1′

41 garysturn { 09.07.10 at 1:24 pm }

I think that what will make Apple TV sell is if developers are given the ability to use AirPlay in their apps on iOS devices. Then that first person shooter game will become better by sending the video to the HDTV and keeping the controls on the iPhone. If you could display your App on the TV and have the iPhone be the controller that would be great. With AirPlay already working for Video it wouldn’t be hard for Apple to open up access to that to Game Developers. Then you would not need to store Apps on Apple TV but you could still play them on the HDTV from your iOS device.

[That's an interesting idea. I wonder if iOS devices have the power to render 3D scenes as well as deliver video at the same time tho. I would assume that hardware accelerated decoding would be less CPU intensive than the graphics & physics calculated by a game. Don't devices get much hotter and drain the battery faster playing games rather than just playing video? Perhaps a future device could, or perhaps a simplified game could do such a thing.

There's certainly also the possibility of Apple creating an SDK for Apple TV (once it takes off and has a proven installed base) that interacts with iOS devices like controllers, so your iPhone could control a game that is actually being rendered on the Apple TV. But again, Apple TV may be optimized for video playback, and lack the capacity to do games of any complexity. - Dan]

42 enzos { 09.08.10 at 6:40 pm }

You’re a useful geek to have around, Shabba, cheers for the tip! (though, having used iT10 for a few days now, I’m already used to having the traffic light buttons vertical.). On the plus side, iT10 now opens my 5000-item 30 GB music library in 4 seconds flat (initial; just 1 or 2 seconds for subsequent openings).

Enz

43 Maniac { 09.11.10 at 11:11 am }

I doubt Apple TV, in the form of a separate box or “dongle,” will get FaceTime. If Apple actually does release some kind of actual television set, then it will definitely get FaceTime. It looks like all other Apple products with screens will be getting FaceTime in the near future, most likely in Mac OS X 10.8 (or will it be called Mac OS 11 with no more ‘X’?)

44 Maniac { 09.11.10 at 11:21 am }

As for apps, I think it’s Apple’s top priority right now. There are still a few months before the holiday sales season, so iOS 4.2 could be a universal iOS release, incorporating the App Store on iPod touch + iPhone + iPad + Apple TV. Just imagine how well Apple TV would sell this Xmas if it could run all those iOS games on your big-screen TV. Handling HDTV resolution would be trivial: 1920×1080 is exactly twice the current 960×640 iOS 4 pixel width. So even unmodified iOS 4 games could be line-doubled the way iOS 3 games were when iOS 4 was first released. The slightly harder problem will be to bridge the enormous gap between hand-held multi-touch and remote-control multi-touch. You will need a visible cursor on the screen, which simply doesn’t exist in iOS yet. I’m sure Apple has worked long and hard on this. (And maybe using Mac OS X-style trackpad gestures would work…)

45 Dorotea { 09.11.10 at 1:22 pm }

What in the world would be the input for apple tv version 2 if apps were run on it. Input on the iPod touch , iPad and iPhone is the device screen. What would it be for a screen-less device.

So until that is figured out, don’t expect ios apps.

46 gslusher { 09.11.10 at 1:38 pm }

@ManiacL

1. Do you know for certain that the Apple TV uses iOS? Apple has not said one way or another. Until someone gets an Apple TV and takes it apart, we won’t even know what chip powers it nor how much RAM it has.

2. The Apple TV currently supports only 720p, not 1080p. In any case, your math is off. 1920 x 1080 is not “exactly twice” 960 x 640–that would be 1920 x 1280. The aspect ratio of HDTV is 16:9; the iPhone display is 3:2, the iPad (1024 x 768) is 4:3.

3. Jobs has said that he thinks that people don’t want a “computer” in their TV. Games might be a possibility, though the competition there would be stiff, given the large installed base of game consoles. Unlike phones, people don’t usually get rid of–er, “upgrade” their game consoles every year or two.

47 gslusher { 09.11.10 at 2:28 pm }

Here’s a graphic showing the relative screen sizes of 1080p, 720p, the iPad & the iPhone 4.

http://homepage.mac.com/gslusher/.Public/screen_size_comparison.gif

48 maxijazz { 09.17.10 at 4:11 pm }

Actually Daniel might be right. When we get AirPlay we should be able stream to ATV from IP4, IT4, iPad2…

49 ShabbaRanks { 09.17.10 at 5:19 pm }

Interesting fact:
iTunes 10 is compatible with Windows XP Service Pack 2 and requires at least a 1 GHz Intel or AMD x86 CPU. This means that a mid-2000 (when the Pentium III hit 1 GHz) Windows PC is capable of running iTunes 10, as is a 1999 Power Mac G4, but a 2003 900 MHz iBook G3 is not.
Credit: Low End Mac website.

50 gslusher { 09.18.10 at 4:03 am }

@maxijazz:

If you haven’t, watch Jobs’ presentation of the Apple TV. At 1:05:30 (roughly), he says that Airplay will allow one to stream content from an iOS device.

51 Dorotea { 09.19.10 at 8:19 am }

Why would an iPad 1 user not be able to stramonium using airplay?

52 Dorotea { 09.19.10 at 8:20 am }

Try again.

Why would 1st gen iPad user not be able to stream using airplay?

53 roz { 09.19.10 at 9:24 am }

they would be able to.

54 Brad Kelley { 09.28.10 at 9:42 pm }

Getting officially concerned that Daniel has had another bike accident. Dan, you still out there?

55 ericgen { 09.29.10 at 7:23 am }

@Brad

Dan said earlier that he was going to be wandering across Europe in the latter part of September. That doesn’t preclude another bike accident, but hopefully it’s not in his itinerary.

I, for one, hope he’s having a great time and enjoying being away from things a bit. Here’s hoping he comes back fully recharged and feeling like writing!

56 wolfbialon { 09.30.10 at 9:11 pm }

Hi Daniel – hope you have a great time in Europe!

Concerning AppleTV – Facetime would of course be fantaistic …. but I think installing applications like on any other iOS device like ipad, ipod, iphone will be the real kicker. Accroding to Will Strafach from the Dev Team “The most interesting thing about the new AppleTV OS is that all binaries are marked iPad-compatible. I do wonder what Apple is planning….” – see: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/09/appletv-runs-ios-already-jailbroken/

57 mxims { 10.01.10 at 12:25 am }

Anyone knows whether the new Apple TV supports 5.1/7.1 surround audio? or un compressed DTS/Dolby surround sound?
I also need to convert all my DVD library into appleTV supported format – any tips on tools I can use to convert these without any loss on the video and audio quality?

58 digital-express.de { 10.03.10 at 2:27 pm }

Dan always reported from Europe. Now he doesn’t. Something went wrong and I wonder where and when.

59 Dude { 10.07.10 at 6:51 pm }

Microsoft & Adobe discussed merger. I can’t wait for Dan’s analysis. The only good I can see coming out of that is Flash dying off even faster, and Apple developing replacements for Adobe’s creative suite.

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