Last week I presented my wishlist for the new Apple TV, and it seems that -- for better or worse -- the consumer feedback Steve kept referring to in his keynote was closer to my heart than that of the pundits and bloggers. So let's see:
- Near-instant access to movies and TV shows. Check.
- No more sync-ing between PC and Apple TV. Check.
- No clutter with iOS and apps. Check.
- Netflix movies. Check.
- Cheap, small, silent, cool. Check!
- Social features. Not enough! Favorites lists are good, but why not a 'Share' button! How hard can it be?? Where is Ping for video content?
- More content deals. Nooo, you're going backwards... what the heck am I supposed to do with ABC and Fox??
- 1080p HD... No, sob.
The idea and direction are right, but Apple's ability to disrupt this industry is waning as fewer content owners acquiesce to its terms. Launching Apple TV in 5 countries without any non-US content is a sign of severely missed objectives. If the studios don't come around fast, Apple TV may remain a hobby. And why would the studios do a deal under pressure now? They're better off waiting to see how Google TV and various other initiatives pan out.
At least one blogger claims Apple is biding its time before coming out with a full-fledged flat-screen TV + PVR branded Apple TV... Now that is something to dream about...
The same skepticism goes for Ping, the new music social network inside iTunes. Apparently Facebook integration was scrapped at the last minute, making Ping an isolated, empty network, built into a web store, for a market that is weary of creating (and managing) yet another persona, yet another social graph. Social music is a great idea, but it has to play nice with the existing social graph to become mass market. Someone's ego will have to give.