Last week Apple held a press conference to announce their new line of iPods, upcoming features/releases for the iPad and changes to their investment hobby, AppleTV. I am not going to go into a long diatribe into my personal opinion of the devices themselves, but rather what most people might have missed as to the future of Apple devices in the future and what has been in the works for quite sometime.
Back in 2009 I went to the WWDC and during the keynote address, there a particular slide that talked about the increasing similarities between OSX and iOS APIs and frameworks. Since that time the gap has shrunk dramatically and by the look at the latest offerings and recent patents Apple is working feveriously to unify it's platforms. Yesterday the 4.1 OS was released for the phones and touches. In November, the 4.2 OS will be released, hopefully unifying the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and the AppleTV. Yes, the AppleTV, I predicate will be touted as running the latest iOS and better yet will be an open platform for developers to write and run native apps on, thus rounding out it's stable of iOS devices.
One of the first questions I get when I make that statement about the AppleTV is how would you handle the touch gestures? Easy...Magic Trackpad will be paired with the AppleTV. Problem solved. I was hoping Apple was going to announce this functionality last week, but I can see the touch gestures on the wall and it is coming....SOON.
If my predictions are true, what does this all mean for developers and consumers?
More avenues for app development that one could have ever dreamt to this point. The most important aspect of this is that we will have a unified platform to work with. You will have the choice of concentrating on one or more devices to develop for. "Write once run on any Apple device".
You will have a similar experience using your apps when going from device to device and medium to medium. No other company offers that right now. I have yet to hear any synergy between Google and Microsoft devices. The concepts and principles of a great UX that are embedded in Apple's DNA will not have to be confined to a desktop or mobile handheld device, which is what most people what. Using an iPhone, iPad, AppleTV or iPod device should provide you with the almost the same, if not, the same user experience.
What I Predicted Before the Sept. Event on July 8th, 2010
You can never trust Steve Jobs. A few years ago he was asked about tablet based computer and he denied that Apple was interested. When there were rumors concerning the first iPhone...once again he denied it. Late May or early June at the D8 conference someone asked about AppleTV and Steve's response was that it was a hobby for Apple and that a lot of effort wasn't going to be put into it because cable boxes now where subsidized and that consumers didn't want yet ANOTHER box to hook up to their TV.
I think he is lying.
Though the article points out that Steve is a HUGE stack holder in Disney and Pixar, he has a more personal desire to see it do well and it has to do with his legacy with Apple. With a successful launch of a true home media center via AppleTV, Steve/Apple will have completed the conquest of all things media (iTunes, iPhone, iPod, iPad, iBooks). Though Google might come out with GoogleTV first, much like TiVo, they will be lacking the purplecow factor. In addition, both will run their interace with Flash and not WebKit which is doomed for failure.
Apple will take their time, roughly two years, and come out with a product that is TOTALLY revolutionary and will run iOS. What that means from a consumer standpoint is there will a synergy between all their media (pictures, music and video) and all of it will be stored in the cloud. Don't forget they bought out lulu.com and don't be surprised if Apple tries to make a move to purchase Netflix. People thought it would just be for storing your music purchases in the cloud, but Apple always thinks bigger.
From a business/developer point-of-view....those applications like Plex need to be thinking about survival between now and then because once it is released developers like myself won't have that reliance of other frameworks, services, hardware, etc. anymore....you can write your own native apps to integrate into AppleTV directly, which is now your media center. No middleman.