Apple has been making lots of overtures about its new streaming music service. Following the acquisition of Beats last year and on the back of interest by the US Department of Justice regarding deals Apple is trying to make with music labels, it’s clear an announcement is coming soon.
Whether that happens at WWDC is a different question. Given it’s not really a developer-focused service, we’re wondering whether an announcement will come then. In any case, Apple tends to announce new products whenever they are ready and not to fit in with an event schedule. It’s one of the reasons, we think, that it stopped being part of the annual Macworld Expo.
The Apple TV is another matter entirely.
When it was released in 2010, it was to streaming media devices what the iPod was for music. It didn’t do anything especially special or new. But it made it easy to access digital content and stream it to your TV.
However, over the years, many others have managed the same functionality through devices such as gaming consoles and Blu-ray players that are network and DLNA enabled. Many TVs even have USB ports, so you can play content straight from a USB drive.
A revised Apple TV will open up an entirely new development environment. It would do for TV what iOS did for apps.
Already, we’re hearing whispers about a revised remote control that will boast a touchpad as well as a couple of buttons. If that touchpad could be manipulated programmatically it would make an interesting game controller.
With Apple well into the silicon business, a new A9 processor would give the Apple TV a much needed power boost that would enable all sorts of applications. As the Apple TV already supports Bluetooth, it could become the lounge room computer many pundits have mused about for the last 20 years.
It would be 100 percent solid state without any moving parts. It would use little energy, connect wirelessly to the internet and deliver content, games and other apps.
Throw in all the new media streaming services on the market such as Netflix, HBO and others and suddenly Apple becomes central to your entire entertainment life. Music, movies, games, apps – all of these would be accessible without you needing to leave your couch.
The one thing no one has really mentioned is the need for a keyboard. Perhaps the ‘one more thing’ for this year’s WWDC keynote will be a lounge room-friendly input device that will support gaming as well as typing. That may come in the form of an app for the iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, but we would love to see a Jony Ive inspired tool for controlling games and apps from a comfortable armchair.