Apple wants us to believe that the future of television is Apple TV and applications, whereby apps are also channels. With over 8,000 apps already available on Apple TV you might think the hype is correct. As Apple says, “The future of television is here.”
No, it’s not. Unless you want a future without local television stations, a future that still requires you to bounce back and forth from Apple TV and your cable TV box, or a future where if you don’t have a cable TV account you can’t watch most of the Apple TV television channel apps.
Apple just announced a new TV app that may show up later this year; an app that works much like an onscreen, interactive TV Guide which makes it easier to scan for TV shows and movies where Siri even searches through the apps-as-TV-channels on Apple TV. What you see is only the television content you can get from television channel apps you’ve already installed on Apple TV.
The clear benefit here is the option to search and discover TV shows and movies from Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad. Alright, this is an improvement over anything on Apple TV but definitely is not the future of TV. Or, if it is, I’m as disappointed in the future of TV as I am the future of American politics.
First of all, you have to subscribe to as many Apple TV television apps as you can to get the full benefit, and even then the full benefit isn’t, well, full. Netflix? Nope. Hulu? I don’t see it. Worse, to get full access to most of the cable TV networks which have their own apps you’re required to have a cable TV provider account, and then that account has to be registered with Apple TV to permit the quick and easy access.
Hoops, meet jumps.
Of course, there are live news and sporting events on Apple TV. If you have the right Apple TV app. Want to see local news? Sorry. Maybe next year. So, you’re still stuck switching back and forth between Apple TV and your television or cable TV set top box.
Without question, unifying TV app channel apps is a good idea, and building into the process the automatic login and verification process required of your local cable TV provider is a huge plus, but what is gained is a bit of convenience, especially with the option to view and use the TV app on iPhone and iPad.
What? No Apple TV TV app on the Mac?
ATT plans to launch DirectTV Now, which is a streaming TV service; 100 channels for $35 a month. I would call that a not-so-skinny bundle and something Apple should have done for Apple TV instead of making customers download and wade through dozens of apps to get to the same thing (and be required to have a cable TV account already).
I hope Apple TV’s TV app is not what former CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs was thinking when he said:
I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.
Apple TV and the soon-to-arrive TV app definitely is not the future of television.