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Why It Just Might Work

Gordon Kelly


Will iTV Finally End Apple TV's Losing Streak?

Sweet Jesus Apple is at it again. Three years after launching the iPhone, despite Cisco owning the copyright, the Cupertino-based company is allegedly set to ignore ITV's, err... 'ITV' copyright and re-launch a completely revamped Apple TV with this very moniker. If true expect lawyers on both sides to have a particularly happy Christmas, though more to the point: can Apple finally succeed where it has so far dismally failed?

Why it just might work

Superficially the signs are good. Backing up the rumours which first surfaced in May, Engadget tells us Steve Jobs and his merry minions are secretly beavering away on a set top box based on iOS with a similar UI to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and building it around the iPhone 4's nippy A4 CPU. Other notables are WiFi, 16GB of flash storage and an appealing sub-$100 (£64) price tag.

Wait up. Sub-$100? Yes if Apple can build what essentially sounds like the raw ingredients of an iPhone 4 minus a screen for this price then no wonder its profit margins are now estimated to be inching towards 60 per cent. Just 16GB? This is the other key part because ever since Apple bought Lala in December it has been expected to use its acquisition's streaming media nous to create a similar audio and video service for iTunes. Like the existing Apple TV, iTV will also likely connect to your home network to access media on other computers or NAS.

The pitch doesn't stop there either since Engadget states "the device will be getting apps and presumably an App Store entry, though it's unclear if there will be cross-pollination between iPad and iPhone / iPod touch offerings and new Apple TV applications." It would be logical to expect some basic compliance with iPhone / iPod touch apps much like the ham fisted manner the iPad manages, but given the monstrous developer-base the App Store has the iTV would in all likelihood still be fine even if it had to start from scratch. Besides the possibilities are endless.

Think BBC iPlayer, Sky's existing Mobile TV app (above for iPad and iPhone), the IMDB and BBC News apps, customised Wikipedia, travel, Facebook, Skype and Twitter apps, the Safari browser and YouTube client. It could well be the most interactive TV experience ever created from day one.

How on earth would you control such a thing? Easy: via an Apple iTV app for the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch while the recently released Magic Pad would be an even more elegant solution. Done well iTV could spell the end for the remote control much in the same way the iPhone killed the stylus.

All of which means iTV will be an inevitable success, right? Wrong.

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