Apple is very interested in the living room
Over the years we’ve seen Apple try to make their way to the living room. Apple TV being the most obvious attempt, didn’t quite take off as smoothly as the company had hoped. Of course calling it a hobby makes it seem like the set-top box isn’t a priority for the company, but it’s hard to say that now with a relaunch of the hardware. It’s apparent that Apple wants to enter the living room too. This time they’ve added features like Netflix, as if saying, “We know they prefer Netflix to iTunes, but even so, they are going to watch it on OUR box.”
Is it just about Apple TV?
Apple would definitely like it if we all bought Apple TV and started renting from their store, but that may be ignoring the big picture: AirPlay. The AirPlay technology allows for users to stream content to compatible devices around the house. The simplest example would be streaming music from your iPod Touch to your Apple TV with your television acting as a set of speakers. However, this also works with videos and photos. Say you are watching a movie on your iPhone on the bus ride home. You arrive at home and turn on your Apple TV to stream the movie to your television set and continue viewing with minimal interruption.
Where AirPlay becomes truly interesting is in its ability to be incorporated into third-party electronics. This could mean listening to music on your iPod Touch with some higher quality external speakers. Thanks to AirPlay, you would have full control over individual sets of speakers.
Anything else you can do with AirPlay?
Well, AirPlay isn’t the first technology to do something like this., but thanks to Apple’s strong branding and the fact that many users already have their computers and iOS devices sitting around the house, it definitely makes it a lot easier to push the format. Now, imagine your sister and her family come in to visit for the holidays. She wants to show you how much your nephew little Joey has grown since the last time you saw him. Stream the photos from her iPhone to your Apple TV and now the whole family is enjoying pictures of little Joey’s high school graduation.
How about renting a movie on your iPhone and taking the device to your friend’s house, who also happens to have Apple TV. Instant movie night.
AirPlay can be licensed by third-parties. Imagine a TV or any other set-top box paying the licensing fee can have content streamed, perhaps even without the need for Apple TV. This would mean that Apple has gained control in a part of the living room without the need to sell you their hardware.
Regardless, it starts with Apple TV
Many can say that Apple TV has been the Cupertino-based company’s way of testing the waters, so to speak. Looking back at the iPad, we’ve mentioned that it has become a great living room computer because it’s easier to use for a quick browse than a laptop. However, Apple has created yet another reason to keep the iPad around in the living room, the Remote App. It’s much more useful than Apple’s bundled in Apple TV remote and lets you easily navigate and search through Apple TVs menus.
Future of the Living Room
Whether it’s through their set-top box or through licensing out their technology to get users renting movies and streaming it to their screen even without the need for Apple TV or streaming that audio out to a fancy speaker system in which they can control individual speaker volumes. And this is only the beginning.