By now it seems to be a given that Apple will be introducing a new iPod Touch (4th Gen) that will match many of the features found in their flagship smartphone, the iPhone 4. A front facing camera offering FaceTime video calling all on a new higher resolution screen is all but guaranteed. And perhaps we might even see a rear facing camera, if slightly cut down from the 5MP one found in the iPhone 4.
But Apple’s plans for Apple TV (or iTV) are less clear. Even Steve Jobs is said to have his doubts about the success of the new Apple TV. And it seems that Apple’s foray into TV is set to remain a hobby for a little while longer.
It is rumored that Apple are in last minute talks to bring the likes of FOX, ABC and other US networks on board to allow Apple TV users to download their favourite TV programs for 99 cents each. But this alone is not going to make any new Apple TV a success – even in the US, which is likely the only place that Apple has any traditional TV companies firmly onboard to provide content at the moment.
The possibility that the new Apple TV will not have a Hard Drive has been discussed often. And that it is likely to be ARM based and running iOS also seems to make sense. But without a significant network to support streaming downloads, and the backing of a vast array of media companies it is unlikely to penetrate very far into consumers sitting rooms… yet.
So it seems likely that *if* a new Apple TV is rolled out next month it will likely be as a tasty extra aimed initially at hard core Apple TV enthusiasts. Apple’s plan is then clear, to us anyway. They will slowly grow the Apple TV’s media portfolio both domestically and abroad, much as they did with the iPod and iTunes in the 12 – 18 months after its launch.
Ultimately Apple do aim to be in the living room as a set-top box supplier, backed by an expansive array of diverse media. But they are likely to have to take some time to get other companies on board, and build their own support infrastructure to make this all happen…
2011 should be an interesting year for TV.
Do you think we’ll see a new Apple TV next month? If so, how advanced do you think Apple’s plans are? Have your say in the comments…[BusinessWeek]