In Light of Today’s Apple iPad 3 Event

The Apple TV is also getting updated and I’m infinitely more curious about Apple’s involvement in this space than I am about the iPad’s evolution. To me, the iPad is perfect. It’ll continue to get hardware improvements, but for the most part it’s the IOS software improvements that really matter.

Count me among the group of people who believes Apple won’t be announcing a physical TV anytime soon. That is, a giant iPad for your living room. One day, sure, that makes sense, but the $99 Apple TV box you plug into your television makes more sense for consumers. It, too, is pretty much perfect as well. It’s got Internet connectivity and HDMI output. It has iCloud integration for music and photos. It has Netflix and YouTube and Vimeo. And live sports subscriptions.

About the only thing it’s missing is TV channels — content delivered through the Internet instead of cable.

From here on out, Apple TV is about the software delivering content, not what the hardware is capable of, specifically.

Now enter Apple TV. While many people think of this idea of being a physical TV, they miss the real point of what I believe Apple is doing. At the core, I believe they are moving towards becoming a powerful distribution network for video. And while I do think they will have a cool TV someday in their product mix, the reality is that every iOS device and every Mac will become an “Apple TV.” That means that for these networks, and any other of their video channel partners, Apple will deliver to them well over 140 million potential customers immediately once their TV distribution network gets turned on. And given Apple’s history you can expect that the Apple TV experience, whatever form it takes, will be elegant, easy to use and perhaps even revolutionary in the way people use their services across devices.

That’s a great point by Tim Bajarin. Every device is a potential Apple TV with iCloud factored in. My guess is Apple will push TV channels to evolve into apps. As Ryan Swarts just said to me, “it feels like we’re still in a pre-iPod world with TV.” In other words, the industry is ripe for reinvention.

Imagine if AMC or HBO had access to 140 million delivery devices? Imagine if they charged an affordable monthly subscription and sprinkled in limited advertising with the content? It would be a boon for some of those networks. Sure, it’d create a Darwinian struggle to produce the best content, but then again, TV channels would have the added bonus of not feeling compelled to produce crap. It’d be a win for everyone.

If Apple TV included a web browser, the ability to download torrents, and offer TV channels as apps (along with other iPad-style apps) it would be absolutely perfect.

PS: Don’t forget to check out The Verge’s live blog of today’s Apple event.

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