I am calling Apple’s TV “iVT.”
For one, “iTV” is a trademark, so that’s out — especially with all the aggravation Apple has had with “iPad” in China.
Secondly, “iVT” makes more sense: Interactive Video and Television. (If people want to be lazy and still call it “iTV,” Apple can’t stop them — but at least Apple won’t be doing the trademark infringement.)
And the following is not a comprehensive list.
1) TV will be reduced to an app
Just as the iPhone reduced the telephone to an app. I think the iVT will be iOS based. Apple will also be able to slice out a new App Store for special big-screen iVT apps. Yes, developers, Apple is going to give you another gold rush. You better start thinking about it now.
2) Wireless enabled via 3G, WiFi, and Bluetooth
It’s very, very connected.
3) 3G-enabled, phone capability for FaceTime chat
I believe this will be the first 3G-enabled TV. And not just for FaceTime chat, but for security reasons too. You can call your TV and turn on its camera for silent monitoring. Rev up those privacy issues (and don’t even think about jailbreaking it!).
4) Apple Discovery Guide, replacing local cable guides
That’s a key way Apple distinguishes its TV from others: Discovery. I can’t find any channel quickly. Time Warner Cable is supposed to be revamping its guide, but I have little hope for real success there, given the remote control it requires. The Guide will be silently downloaded in the background, via user-selected 3G or WiFi. Apple will also make money from those who want to promote their programs and movies. And this Discovery Guide will also have Parental Controls. The kids cannot watch what you won’t let them see.
5) Apple Control Center for setup and activities
The iVT will sense the kind of cable or satellite box that’s plugged into it and automagically configure itself. But beyond that will be settings for microphone sensitivity, FaceTime speaker volume, for Siri short commands (voice macros), and more. Password-protection via facial recognition? How would you like your TV to turn on if the Emergency Broadcast System is activated? Those on the West Coast would have been alerted to 9-11 while they slept.
6) iVT App Store
What kind of apps would make sense on a large flat screen that’s voice controlled? Further, what apps would you want to see for a Bluetooth game controller? And what would you want when Microsoft announces Kinect for iVT?
7) Sleep mode displaying a photo or animation or message
The iVT never really turns off (shades of 1984!). It will go into a low-power sleep mode. A screensaver can be displayed. It could be your album of photos pulled from iCloud. It can be a message that’s been sent to it via 3G (“Dear Wife: I love you. Late at the office,” “Dear Husband: Take out the trash.” “Susie: Do your homework first!”). Other apps are possible, likely via plug-ins to the Control Center.
I’m still not impressed. It’s still Just TV to me. And there’s something else Apple needs to consider in terms of where this large thing sits. How stable will the base be? Can a child knock it over and be injured? Could a cat jump on it and knock it over?
Note again that I’m not trying to be comprehensive here. Picture in picture? Who knows? Apple is bound to have some surprises. But I think some of the things I’ve mentioned here very likely.
Personally, I’m interested to see if Tim Cook — or anyone else at Apple — will approve an “Apple Reinvents Television” Keynote slide, as Steve had for the iPhone introduction.