On June 10 Apple revealed details of their latest mobile operating platform: iOS 7. Updates include an aesthetic redesign and new features to improve functionality. The new OS won’t be available to consumers until the fall, but photos and videos of the new system are available at Apple.com/ios/ios7. The new OS will keep Apple competitive in the ruthless tablet and mobile phone industry, where they’ve long been a force to be reckoned with. While iOS 7 is sure to dominate headlines, it’s not all Apple is working on.
Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at the “All Things D” conference May 28, teasing iOS 7, Apple’s “grand vision” for TV and other plans for the company. Cook announced that the company sold more than 13 million Apple TVs in 2012, up from just 2.7 million units the previous year, and he was surprised by the public’s embrace of the company’s television offering, reported by engaget.com. Cook also voiced his opinion that Americans were ready for a new way of viewing TV, saying that today’s television experience is outdated by as much as 10 to 20 years. Since Apple is well known for keeping its marketing strategies secret until the last possible moment, Cook’s teaser about Apple possibly revolutionizing the way America watches TV is intriguing, to say the least.
Of course, Cook’s coy responses to requests for details about Apple’s “grand plan” for television have spawned rumors that Apple VP and design guru, Jony Ives could be involved in the television project and that there might just be another Apple product launch later in 2013. There are also rumors about major upgrades in the upcoming iOS 7, another issue that Cook sidestepped expertly.
Is an iTV coming?
Cook’s announcement of a “grand vision” for TV has led to much speculation about a new Apple television product. The current product, Apple TV, is a digital media box that plugs into an existing television set and allows users to play and store television programs, Internet content, music, digital images and movies from a variety of sources, including Apple’s iTunes store, Netflix and Hulu. However, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine an Apple television set with its own iOS-like software.
How would an iTV change the shape of television? “USA Today” speculates that an Apple iTV could be the ultimate media center, allowing users to watch a television program, play a video game and chat with grandma, all from one machine, all at the same time. Such a machine would certainly give Microsoft’s Xbox One a run for its money. However, given Apple’s history of innovation, perhaps the mythical iTV could be much, much more. After all, who imagined the iPad or the iPhone, and the huge market for these products, before Apple unleashed them on the world market?
The changing face of television
Streaming content providers like Netflix and Hulu have already changed the way we watch television, notes Directtvdeal. What’s more, with the average cable/satellite bill increasing more than 30 percent over the last five years, according to ABC News, more and more people are “cutting the cord” and opting to do without a traditional cable/satellite subscription. The current Apple TV already connects with Netflix and Hulu. It’s not too difficult to imagine Apple taking things one step further with a rumored all-in-one TV set.
According to ABC News, the average monthly bill for an American household to enjoy cable/satellite television is nearly $200. For those of us who remember when television was free, such high-priced programming is becoming a bitter bill to swallow. With many viewers looking for a change, perhaps the time is right for a company like Apple to remodel the way we watch TV.