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Signs point to possible Apple TV upgrade at Sept. 9 event

post #1 of 116
Thread Starter 
Changing an earlier prediction that surprise announcements would not occur, a Wall Street analyst released a second note Tuesday suggesting an Apple TV upgrade could debut at next week's event.

Though he said in an earlier statement that he believed an appearance by Steve Jobs would be the biggest news out of the iPod-centric event, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has now said he has reason to believe there will be an Apple TV-related announcement next Wednesday. He noted that Apple's online store has a wait time of one to two weeks for the 40GB model at $229. Munster said he has never seen a delay for the Apple TV since it debuted in March of 2007. The analyst suggests that Apple is either phasing out the 40GB model, as the 160GB offering is still available, or is selling its remaining inventory before a new product launches.

"We believe the company is most likely phasing out the 40GB model and possibly reducing the price of the 160GB model," he said, "but a new model is possible given the hardware has been the same for 2+ years."

Munster does not believe that a major upgrade to the Apple TV will happen next week because he expects such an announcement to coincide with a subscription service that would need to be negotiated with content providers. Weeks ago, Munster reiterated his belief that Apple is working towards a new Apple TV with iTunes show subscriptions and possibly DVR capabilities.

"It is unlikely that negotiations for new content are finished," he said.

But given the age of the Apple TV hardware, Munster said he wouldn't rule out a new lineup as a "wildcard" announcement at the media-centric event.

Munster went on to re-state his belief that Apple will launch a full-fledged television set in two to five years. Such a device, he said, would have DVR and home media functionality built in, and would sync content with Macs, iPhones and iPods wirelessly. He said an Apple television could also play games, with an iPhone or iPod touch acting as the wireless controller.

"Such a device would command a premium among a competitive field of budget TVs," he said. "We believe Apple could differentiate itself with software that makes home entertainment simple and solves a pain point for consumers."
post #2 of 116
I hope that current Apple TV owners won't be left behind with whatever the new upgrade will be. Hopefully the update will include the software and crappy interface.
post #3 of 116
Great- I'll take anything new for my warming plate.
post #4 of 116
Considering the single-chip SoC in the iPhone 3GS is more capable than the four-chip (CPU, Graphics, Northbridge, I/O chip) solution in the AppleTV, it's a no brainer that the hardware would get updated at some point to use the cheaper SoC.

But that requires Apple to not just be dropping the AppleTV as it is right now.
post #5 of 116
It seems reasonable that a hardware update might be due.
post #6 of 116
Overall, I've been pretty pleased with 'my warming plate.'

But yes, definitely would like it to be inside a TV made by Apple...less cables, one remote, one elegant interface.
post #7 of 116
Is anyone as sick of Gene Munster as I am?
post #8 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Great- I'll take anything new for my warming plate.

Warming plate? Try frying an egg. Mine sometimes gets so hot and then goes haywire. I have to put one of those cold compresses on it you get from the drugstore to cool it down.
post #9 of 116
For the 100th time, add DVR and I'm sold....
post #10 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

Is anyone as sick of Gene Munster as I am?

Which one is Gene?

post #11 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeny View Post

For the 100th time, add DVR and I'm sold....

You want to record the video in your iTunes library?
post #12 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post

Warming plate? Try frying an egg. Mine sometimes gets so hot and then goes haywire. I have to put one of those cold compresses on it you get from the drugstore to cool it down.

I was trying to be kind.
However, it's a great hand warmer come winter time.
post #13 of 116
I'm not sure if Apple truly thinks the future of digital video is streamed/cached from the internet (as opposed to locally owned and stored) or if they're just pitching the AppleTV with that focus while they try to work out video content deals.

Either way, the result is a product that really does seem to be aimless and arbitrarily limited.
post #14 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Overall, I've been pretty pleased with 'my warming plate.'

I love mine. I'd love to have more power however so that HD content can be played back without needing to be converted to h.264 first. Then it'd be nearly perfect.
post #15 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post

I hope that current Apple TV owners won't be left behind with whatever the new upgrade will be. Hopefully the update will include the software and crappy interface.

The current AppleTV is that it supports a maximum bitrate of 5 Mbps for its H.264 video. That just isn't very good HD. The choice may be to leave it behind or be stuck with lesser quality video.
post #16 of 116
Why would you need a DVR for an IPTV service?
post #17 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trajectory View Post

I hope that current Apple TV owners won't be left behind with whatever the new upgrade will be.

Well, it it's just the removal of the 40GB and discount on the 160GB as Munster predicts, that won't leave many people behind!

I personally hope for an ARM based AppleTV, bringing it into the iPhone ecosystem. While an upgrade could provide support for higher res and apps IF APPLE WANTED, the older AppleTV is capable of handling a better interface, even subscription content... but Apple doesn't have much of a history of upgrading the older products.

Quote:
Hopefully the update will include the software and crappy interface.

Huh?
post #18 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by pt123 View Post

The current AppleTV is that it supports a maximum bitrate of 5 Mbps for its H.264 video. That just isn't very good HD. The choice may be to leave it behind or be stuck with lesser quality video.

Really? The HD movies I've bought and play thru my ATV look pretty damn good to me.
post #19 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

I love mine. I'd love to have more power however so that HD content can be played back without needing to be converted to h.264 first. Then it'd be nearly perfect.

I haven't tested it yet but HandBrake looked like Snow Leopard left it behind when I installed it. Could this be a hint that iTunes 9 may get DVD ripping? Now that would be awesome.
And I haven't tested the quality of Quicktime 10 to h.264 conversions yet. Is it universally compatible for iPods and AppleTV now?
I still wish I could stream DVDs from my Macs to it since it doesn't have a disc drive itself.
post #20 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

I was trying to be kind.
However, it's a great hand warmer come winter time.

Hand warmer?! Try block heater!!
post #21 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregAlexander View Post

Huh?

I meant that I hope Apple updates the software and the crappy interface of the current ATV. The interface as it stands now is clunky and not very Apple-like. Having to press the Menu button 5 times to back out of a music playlist and get to the top-level menu is just stupid.
post #22 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Could this be a hint that iTunes 9 may get DVD ripping? Now that would be awesome.

Now that would be awesome. I've been wanting to convert my DVD collection to digital files, but, it's too much of a pain to do it right now.
post #23 of 116
Any Apple TV update will be software related and any DVR capabilities will be an add on .i.e external drive.

TV is still the ultimate home hub and one Apple will definitely want to crack. In the same way the iPhone has done away with the need for me to carry a music player, phone, camera, Sat NAV, a PSP and DS, a TV from Apple could also do away with the need for a PS3, DVD Player, SKY Box etc...

Throw in a Web Browser, YouTube, Google Maps and other software partnerships/integration then they'll be onto a winner.

Naturally the difficult bit will be getting all parties to come to the table but if anybody can do it Apple can.

So it's going to be a one-fits all piece of technology where you can plonk your butt down after a hard day at the office, packet of crisps, cold beer and have all the access to all the content you'll ever need. Apple would chase that big time. If they don't believe they can achieve that then it'll never happen.

Apple have the momentum at the moment and they'll want to leverage that marketing power now while they can. Now which company wouldn't want to get their offerings onto a piece of kit like that and who in their right mind wouldn't want to own it.
A reputation is not built upon the restful domain of one's comfort zone; it is made out of stalwart exposition of your core beliefs, for all challenges to disprove them as irrelevant hubris.- Berp...
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A reputation is not built upon the restful domain of one's comfort zone; it is made out of stalwart exposition of your core beliefs, for all challenges to disprove them as irrelevant hubris.- Berp...
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post #24 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

I love mine. I'd love to have more power however so that HD content can be played back without needing to be converted to h.264 first. Then it'd be nearly perfect.


Yep! Having thought about it a little more, I would have to say, 'I love mine, too.' I like the integration of TV, music, photos and movies, (Rentals and owned).

Especially photos though. We look at our photos a lot more now with AppleTV than we ever did when they were just 'in the computer' or in photo albums (or more likely, in boxes!)

Having them on with a some good background songs playing while having friends over for drinks or dinner is wonderful. Our friends are always impressed the first time they see it and if I include photos of them they seem to like it even more, for some reason. \
post #25 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Funky Chicken View Post

Hand warmer?! Try block heater!!

You could make cheese melts on it- right? I wonder how much that one device negates all the other environmental points in everything else Apple produces?
That sucker is thermal!
post #26 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Funky Chicken View Post

Hand warmer?! Try block heater!!

Really! It does get awfully hot! I have even unplugged it on occasion because of the heat factor. It's already hot enough here in Arizona in the Summer!
post #27 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post

Now which company wouldn't want to get their offerings onto a piece of kit like that and who in their right mind wouldn't want to own it.

Apple will have to go up against the powerful cable and TV companies to do this successfully. But, so far they have a pretty good track record with the iPod/iTunes and the iPhone, so, it could happen.
post #28 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeny View Post

For the 100th time, add DVR and I'm sold....

I don't see it happening.

1. Apple could easily have gone the DVR route already -- by adding it to Apple TV or buying TIVO for very, very cheap -- and hasn't.

2. Adding DVR functionality to Apple TV would cannibalize iTunes Store without adding getting anything in return, which is the same reason the Apple TV does not have a DVD or Blu-ray player.

3. Adding DVR functionality to Apple TV would strengthen consumer commitment to cable/satellite, and Apple will not be able to get wide adoption of a subscription plan in the $50-$60/month range unless they turn Apple TV into a Comcast-killer, i.e., a direct competitor to cable and satellite.

4. Apple usually makes the thing -- not the thing that helps the thing. Adding DVR functionality to Apple TV would really be an enhancement to your cable -- another company's product -- and I can't come up with another example where Apple does that. Again, it strengthens the tie to the other product rather than to the one Apple makes.
post #29 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Having them on with a some good background songs playing while having friends over for drinks or dinner is wonderful. Our friends are always impressed the first time they see it and if I include photos of them they seem to like it even more, for some reason. \

My friends like the way it keeps our chicken satay toasty too!
post #30 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

You could make cheese melts on it- right? I wonder how much that one device negates all the other environmental points in everything else Apple produces?
That sucker is thermal!

Almost nuclear! I wonder why it gets so hot? It uses flash memory, not a tiny disk drive, so, I don't understand where all the heat is coming from. I guess the processor chips?
post #31 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Underhill View Post

Apple have the momentum at the moment and they'll want to leverage that marketing power now while they can. Now which company wouldn't want to get their offerings onto a piece of kit like that and who in their right mind wouldn't want to own it.

Good point, they do have the momentum and leverage! I can see most content providers and cable companies being wary of Apple. But I don't think any of them want to be the next Verizon that missed the iPhone/App store juggernaut! Or NBC that got shirty and then came back on their corporate hands and knees.

The last stats I read were 50,000 movies a day being rented from iTunes via AppleTV and that was a while back.
post #32 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

I still wish I could stream DVDs from my Macs to it since it doesn't have a disc drive itself.

Or even better, Apple could throw in a 1TB disc drive for DVR and a Blu-ray drive. That way you could replace two pieces of equipment (if it were cable card compatible). Frankly, this update, if it happens, is so long overdue, it damn well better be unbelievable in terms of features with an incredible price. Trying to sell a 40GB AppleTV in 2009 is just sad, the new Touches will probably be sporting more flash memory than that!
post #33 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

My friends like the way it keeps our chicken satay toasty too!

I'll try it next time!

PS. Teckstud I have to say, it's such a pleasant change when you use your sense of humor (quite funny at times) as opposed to when you, er.... 'vomit' on people! It makes AppleInsider a lot more enjoyable!
post #34 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland View Post

... turn Apple TV into a Comcast-killer, i.e., a direct competitor to cable and satellite.

I would love Apple to be a 'cox cable-killer.' I guess I wouldn't mind BR in there but I think Apple is getting away from physical media and would be surprised. Pleasantly surprised though as I plan to buy a BR to replace an aging DVD player.
post #35 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I'll try it next time!

PS. Teckstud I have to say, it such a pleasant change when you use your sense of humor (quite funny at times) as opposed to when you, er.... 'vomit' on people! It makes AppleInsider a lot more enjoyable!

Well thank you. Life is good- and the 3Gs iPhone has a lot to do with it.
I always enjoy discussing things with flexible folk like yourself with a sense of humor. I try to look at things from all angles and be unbiased and am especially appreciative when someone on here shows me something new or from a different perpective. Cheers!
post #36 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Well thank you. Life is good- and the 3Gs iPhone has a lot to do with it.
I always enjoy discussing things with flexible folk like yourself with a sense of humor. I try to look at things from all angles and be unbiased and am especially appreciative when someone on here shows me something new or from a different perpective. Cheers!

Back at you!
post #37 of 116
Apple's margins on the current AppleTV are not very good. It's in their best interests to cut costs, possibly by migrating to new architecture. This would require an overhaul of the operating system, and I'm guessing that Apple might be working on a mid-tier OS that sits between the iPhone OS and Mac OS X, to be deployed on the phantom tablet and perhaps a reworked AppleTV.

Now that Snow Leopard has shipped, more engineering resources can be diverted to finish this mid-tier OS and the development environment that accompanies it.

More importantly, Apple uses the iTunes Store to drive sales of its hardware. Apple probably needs to rework contracts with video/movie content providers (e.g., they need to sign HBO) because the current offerings aren't driving sales of AppleTV.
post #38 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

The last stats I read were 50,000 movies a day being rented from iTunes via AppleTV and that was a while back.

With the selection that Apple has I find that amazing. Even my crappy corner store that doubled as a video rental store (pre DVD) had more films on offer.
To all you who collect(ed) DVD's out there - do you really repeat view? I mean, be honest. I have repeat viewed many movies but only while I was a film student. And those were inevitably the classics. Now, to even get around to watching half the movies I'd like to watch is like a crazy fantasy. To repeat view... you gotta be kidding. Which is to say, owning movies? What's the point? Which is to say - Apple - get with the program!
post #39 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

Apple's margins on the current AppleTV are not very good. It's in their best interests to cut costs, possibly by migrating to new architecture. This would require an overhaul of the operating system, and I'm guessing that Apple might be working on a mid-tier OS that sits between the iPhone OS and Mac OS X, to be deployed on the phantom tablet and perhaps a reworked AppleTV.

Now that Snow Leopard has shipped, more engineering resources can be diverted to finish this mid-tier OS and the development environment that accompanies it.

More importantly, Apple uses the iTunes Store to drive sales of its hardware. Apple probably needs to rework contracts with video/movie content providers (e.g., they need to sign HBO) because the current offerings aren't driving sales of AppleTV.

Good point(s). No doubt the biggest obstacle is the providers. Imagine your new architecture not only improving movies/TV and possibly internet access but games and apps like the iPhone's App store.

I know this would probably necessitate a keyboard/mouse/game controllers but is certainly doable.

In other words just like the iPhone has decreased the need to carry a separate iPod/camera/GPS/maps/laptop, etc., etc., AppleTV could provide games, apps, shopping, etc. Again, like the iPhone the possibilities are endless and to your point would make the hardware more desirable!
post #40 of 116
I was on Apple's Store site last Wednesday, checking out the Mac Mini options, when I noticed that the default RAM for the lower end model was 4GB and lesser amounts reduced the cost of the Mac Mini. Unfortunately I didn't buy right then, because the next day the default for the same Mini was back to 1GB.
Hopefully the 4GB announcement will be made too!
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