Speculation abounds around one of the most beloved, secretive, and worshiped companies the world has known: Apple. Every move they make is analyzed and used as fodder for predicting their next move, and the “hobby” product of the AppleTV is no stranger to this speculation. Indeed, I am about to enter the fray of speculation over Apple’s “next big move.” There are moves that Apple has made that might indicate a future where our entire home is finally in line with Jobs’ vision of being entirely engineered by Apple.
The AppleTV as it exists is by many considered to be a failure. Right now the device’s name is deceiving. Instead of a TV it’s a small device that sits next to your existing television and allows you to stream iTunes, photos, pictures, games, and movies from your phone or iPad. The technology hasn’t really caught on despite the price tag and design, but there is something to be said about this device that isn’t yet being said. Earlier in 2012 there was a particularly strong rumor that Apple may actually be looking into making a full size proprietary Apple Television. But why would they? There’s an answer for that.
In 2010, Apple unveiled the iPhone 4 with its retina display, a display that still surpasses the resolution of any other phone currently on the market. Soon after, iPad 3 was upgraded to this same technology, and just recently so too was the first Apple MacBook Pro. As these retina displays get larger and larger, it seems to make sense that Apple could continue this to increasing scale and make a full-sized television. However, there’s one big problem: content.
With the advent of the iPad 3, Apple effectively exceeded the resolution capabilities of the existing market. It may seem hard to believe, but an iPad 3 actually has more pixels (meaning that it is delivering more visual information) than a 50” plasma TV. No really, it does. That means the exact same HDDVD or BlueRay disk you’re playing on your Plasma TV is actually lower quality than what the iPad 3 is capable of. Now Apple has made the screen even bigger with its new MacBook. So, what is Apple doing? Simply put, fixing a problem they created on purpose.
It seems that Apple may have its sights set on a much bigger picture with their little “hobby” project. Apple understands that the difference between what your television does and what your computer does is a shrinking one. As Apple produces its retina displays from the original 3.5 inch display to the new 15” laptop and soon enough their larger 27” iMacs, they will be accomplishing two objectives: 1) Making the components of those products less expensive via larger production scale, and 2) Building a content base. As developers for Apple continue to produce applications for the new expanded resolutions, so too will some of those apps be easily converted for use on the would-be Apple Television. But good money says that there are a particular subset of apps Apple has in mind: games.
As of the most recent estimates by the Entertainment Software Association, the gaming industry has grown from $9 billion a year in 2007 to well over $25 billion in 2010. While small, simple games have long been the staple of iPhone web developers, all that may soon change. Everything I’ve presented thus far creates a game-changing environment for the gaming Industry. The processing power of Apple’s mobile devices are already catching up to that of major gaming consoles like XBOX, and the popularity of gaming on those devices is already forging relationships with major game developers. In effect, Apple could create a console system where you already owned the controller (your phone/ipad) in a resolution that only their proprietary Television was capable of. Indeed, this could be the path to having an all-Apple household. Oh, and all of that is on top of having a built-in die-hard consumer base and a reputation for being the coolest company on the planet. When you look at how Apple operates, the future may be soon upon us. Apple has long been interested in cornering markets by creating or redefining them. If indeed this is Apple’s End Game, I for one am ready to play.