Most folks were dissappointed by the new AppleTV. It doesn’t make toast, tie you shoes or do your laundry. Nor does it have an app store, 1080p or let you store your purchased content in the cloud. But it does have one thing going for it: It’s simple.
On the other hand, I recently saw a review of Logitech’s beta Revue (Google TV). While the interface was impressive, I think most people would be perplexed by the “12 easy steps” for installation. The new AppleTV has one HDMI connection to easily connect it for a TV.
The bar is set pretty high for Apple. If this was most other companies, we would be praising, this as a great inexpensive media extender. The day before AppleTV was announced the Airport Express was their entry level streaming solution. For $99, it let you stream your iTunes wirelessly. Now for $99, you can stream video and photos as well. Pretty good deal if you have bought into Apple’s ecosystem.
Also, features such as an app store may appear in future versions. Remember, the iphone did not have an app store in it’s first version. It’s better to go to market with a few solid features than not to be in the market at all. Given all of the competition in this space, Apple knew it needed to be out there for the holidays.
The only weak point of the solution are the current content agreements Apple set up. While Apple’s 99 cent rental model is simple, Amazon offers them as a purchase for the same price. In addition, Amazon offers an even better price with their “TV Pass” where you buy an entire season. I admit I don’t need to own episodes of Hell’s Kitchen but I would like to own Mad Men. You can watch Amazon on demand with either a TiVo or Roku box. The Roku box is very similar to AppleTV and has a lot more choices for content. If you’re not bought into the Apple ecosystem, the Roku (or TiVo if you want to record live TV) is the way to go today.
Regardless, given how many folks have already bought into the Apple’s solution, it looks like they have a winner.
Feel free to your 99 cents to the comments.