The New Apple TV First Impressions
Apps are the future of television. That's what Apple told us with the unveiling of the new Apple TV at `their September 9th event. Its been said that one of the last projects Steve Jobs worked on at Apple was making TV suck less. In his biography he had mentioned that Apple had finally found the best way to effortlessly interface with your TV without having to use a clunky remote. My guess is that the new Apple TV is the fruits of that labor. The new Apple TV now includes what Apple is calling the Siri Remote and a brand new App store for TV.
The Siri Remote includes a trackpad and dedicated microphone to input Siri based voice commands for all kinds of functionality. The new Apple TV interface solves a fundamental problem with the way we navigate by using Touch and voice to reimaging how you interact with your TV screen. The glass touch surface on the top part of the Siri Remote has been engineered to provide the fluid and precise experience you would expect from Apple. You can use it to precisely fast forward and rewind shows and navigate through the Apple TV menu system with ease. The built in microphone and dedicated Siri button allow you to interact with the new Apple TV using just your voice. You can ask Siri to find "new thrillers" and then further narrow it down by saying something like "just the critically acclaimed ones". Siri is smart enough to know the context from your previous searches to give you exactly what you're looking for. The Siri Remote connects via Bluetooth 4.0 and has an IR transmitter to change the volume / power on your other devices. It also includes an accelerometer and gyroscope for gaming and a rechargable battery. The Siri Remote is recharged with a lightning cable via its included lightning port providing months of battery life on a single charge.
Heres how finding a movie or TV show currently works. Open up Netflix to see if its on there, can't find it? try HBO GO, not there? is it on iTunes? maybe its on HULU. Uggh.. its exhausting. (I know, first world problems, right?). Anyway, the new Apple TV solves all of that. By using just your voice the new Apple TV will find what you're looking for across iTunes, Netflix, HBO, Showtime, and HULU (with more providers to come). This, to me, is game changing. Apple has stated that the ability to search across more providers will be availabe in the future.
Games & Apps
Apple is also finally introducing an app store for the Apple TV and opening up the development of dedicated TV apps to hundreds of thousands of third party Apple developers. Some of the launch games listed are Manticore Rising, Rayman Adventures, Shadowmatic, Transistor, and Guitar Hero. SteelSeries has already announced an officially licensed third party controller called "Nimbus". The Nimbus Steelseries controller has two analog sticks, 4 pressure sensitive trigger buttons, 4 action buttons, and a directional pad. It connects via Bluetooth 4.1 and charges via lightning cable through a lightning connector on the back of the controller. The potential of this absolutely boggles my mind. I can't wait to see what developers will come up with.