There’s always been a lot of discussion about what Apple’s play for the living room would look like. Some people think they’ll build an actual TV while others think it will be some form of set-top box.
Personally, I think it is neither. I believe their TV solution is already here, and it is called, funnily enough, the Apple TV. You can pick one up for £99 and it will instantly let you rent movies and stream music and video from your iOS devices.
But this is just the start. One of the lesser-publicised announcements at WWDC, as part of the iOS 7 feature list, is support for 3rd party game controllers, by allowing them to be certified for use under the existing “MFi” (Made for iPhone) program.
This means that soon, you can use a console-like controller with an iOS device, and you can bet your bottom dollar that this will be rolled out to the Apple TV. All that is required is an app store for Apple TV and you’re set.
So, we have a £99 box that streams all your content and can play games. That to me sounds like a pretty compelling proposition.
The only bit I haven’t figured out is the hardware. Apple have spent the last few years slimming down the Apple TV, removing built-in storage in favour of streaming. However, to run apps, it will need storage, and to play decent games it will need beefier hardware, which will bump the price. There’s still a big gap up to the next level, so there’s room to increase the price, but it does change the dynamic somewhat.
Anyway, can’t wait to see what they come up with.
Some more great commentary on this by Austin Sweeney on his blog
Feel free to gush about or criticize Apple’s new “design language” in iOS 7. For some people, that’s important. But for most iPhone users, once they get used to the new look — which is, obviously, a work in progress — their phone is going to work pretty much the same way it did before: Screens of squarish icons for apps that don’t really talk to each other very much.
My thoughts exactly.
A lot of prominent Apple bloggers and designers seem to be reading a huge amount into the ‘layered’ and ‘dynamic’ design of iOS7, citing things like transparent menus and parallax wallpapers as means to engage the user in an interface full of depth (as opposed to the “misconception” that it is actually “flat”).
Either I just don’t understand design at the same level they do, or I don’t need to, because to me, while these elements may be true, they are an excuse for the authors to focus too much on one discipline and ignore the bigger picture.
iOS7 does indeed herald a more modern era for iOS, but to try to imply that the visual overhaul somehow means iOS works better is a real stretch. As Dan says, there is no better app-to-app integration and no ‘opening up’ as hinted by Tim Cook recently.
I’ve always wanted to write this post. I’ve spent years evolving my technology-based home media setup, and for some reason, instead of writing a long blog post about it I ended up posting it on The Verge forums, and you can find it here:
It provides a brief overview of the various components of my setup, and what it can do, from acting as a central iTunes hub, to allowing for remote streaming of movies and TV shows, to hosting a VPN server for secure web browsing anywhere in the world. Since this blog is really the spiritual home of a piece of content like this, you can find the post in its entirety below.
Over the last few days OnLive, a service that I have considered as a pioneer of its field (here's my initial review) has gone through some very tumultuous changes. Specific details are few and far between (here's a link to their pathetic statement that's supposed to clear things up), but the 'facts' seem to be:
OnLive has sold its assets to a “new investor”
All of its 150-200 staff have been fired (or some variation of), but some are to be hired by the new company
The service is expected to continue un-interrupted
We don't know anything more. Will the OnLive service really continue to operate or are they just saying that because at the moment they have to? Who is the new owner? Why was OnLive sold in the first place? What is going to happen to the staff? What is going to happen to the customers? What is going to happen to the content? Will I still be able to play my purchased games?
This is an old draft I never got around to publishing but here goes…
I spotted Zeebox a couple of weeks ago and having thought about its implications I was surprised that it was the only prominent app on the iOS store doing what it is doing.
I think most people would agree that social TV is the inevitable next step; it just hasn’t been implemented properly yet (e.g. the disastrous performance of Google TV). Zeebox provides real-time twitter and cast/crew etc information about TV shows. You pick the show that you are watching, and it will show you what people are tweeting about it, and will promote tweets from cast and crew.
So, they’ve now sold 10% to BSkyB, announced on both the Sky and Zeebox blogs. This is a pretty big deal as this is a public demonstration of the sort of technology that we will see in Sky’s satellite TV service (they’ve admitted as much in the announcement). You don’t usually get such an advanced preview of a company’s plans.
I was having a gander through Wikipedia’s list of Apple acquistions, and noticed that they now own not one, not two, but three mapping companies. Each time one of these purchases took place, there was the inevitable speculation about the potential replacement of Google Maps on iOS. This has yet to materialise, but Apple are showing no signs of losing interest in mapping, so what can we conclude? Here’s a quick summary of the mapping acquisitions so far:
You’ve probably heard of Zynga, or at least one of their products. They are the proud creators of Farmville, once the 3rd most popular game on facebook, with over 200 million monthly active users of their freemium games. In December 2011 they went public, raising about $1bn.
It seems like a story of success, but a few things indicate that Zynga are in the process of diversifying both their products and their revenue streams.