My present to myself this holiday season was an Apple TV. I resisted as long as I did because we don’t buy a lot of movies at the iTunes store, although we do watch Netflix on the TV.
Up to now, I’d hook up my laptop, a small but cumbersome step. On the other hand, it enabled us to watch the original Star Trek episodes on CBS.com (I’m indoctrinating my kids) as well as ESPN3 European soccer. Unfortunately, we still won’t be able to watch either of those (or Hulu or Boxee) on Apple TV.
Yes Apple TV isn’t perfect. But what it does, it does very well. And I think it has a killer app, especially for families: photos on your TV.
Maybe to some that doesn’t sound so exciting. But we have thousands upon thousands of digital pictures that we rarely look through. Computers are not great tools for doing things together. When we, as a society, switched from printed pictures to digital pictures, we increased individual sharing (sending pictures, posting them on Flickr) so many people could see them, but we lost group sharing of people sitting down together to look at pictures together. Losing that togetherness lost a lot of texture around the past and present experience.
Apple TV changes that. Since I installed it, we’ve been looking at our old pictures almost non-stop, as a family. And, we’re having a blast watching and remembering, together. The event that got me off my butt to finally buy this device was when my sister Janice and I dug out our old family slides and had an old fashioned slide show at my Mom’s house. It was awesome. That’s what Apple TV brings back.
My wish is that Apple steps up to the plate and “Appifies” the device. I can imagine a number of iPad apps I would love to have on AppleTV. Web browsing being one of them.
But if you have a family, or take lots of pictures and movies, like we do, at $99 this is a complete no brainer. If for no other reason than it sure beats hooking up the laptop several times a week!