The last disconnected device

An article in the New York Times today suggests that the Apple TV is in for a major overhaul. Michael Gartenberg, a partner with the consulting firm Altimeter Group, underscored the difficulty that manufacturers have experienced while trying to infiltrate the living room, calling television “the last disconnected device.”

Apple, Netflix, Blockbuster etc. have experienced limited success for several reasons. A large hurdle for the Apple TV is that it’s just a front for the Apple Store. People are willing to pay for content; cable bills will attest to that. But with the Apple TV, that cost is much more visible. You must pay for everything you watch as you watch it. In contrast, the cable bill goes out the door once a month and that’s that.

An iOS-based Apple TV running apps from networks, film studios, etc. seems like a great solution. The studios still get paid and control the content, Apple continues to sell apps which could be updated individually (as it is now, any change to the Apple TV requires an OS update) and streaming content would free up gigs of space for users. Finally, the unit itself could be very small with no hard drive, display or internal battery.

Microsoft kills the Kin

Engadget:

“Sources close to Microsoft tell us that Andy Lees has rolled Kin into the Windows Phone 7 team and has canceled the existing product’s launch later this year in Europe on news that sales weren’t as strong as expected.”

That only took a few weeks, and was a dumb idea to begin with. More of a social media vuvuzela than a phone. Here’s an idea. Re-introduce it as “Mojave” and explain to people why they’re wrong for disliking it.

Hulu Plus

For $9.99 per month, users can stream a full season’s worth of HD TV episodes, plus the rest of Hulu’s library (ad-supported 1), to their iPhones (3GS and 4 only), iPads or Macs with the new app (free).

This is almost exactly the model I wished Apple would adopt a year ago at TUAW:

“If Apple charged me X amount of money per month and gave me unlimited access to their library of television and movies from any approved device, including Macs, iPhones, iPods and, of course, Apple TVs, I’d be a happy customer … Yes, I want to have my music files physically on my hard disk. But if the shows and movies I want to watch all lived on a server farm in Cupertino, that’d be fine with me.”

Good luck to Hulu; I’m eager to test this.

  1. I’d rather be free of ads for ten dollars, but that’s not my decision.

iPhone 4 repair manual

The folks at iFixit have compiled the insight they acquired while breaking down/re-assembling the iPhone 4 into a comprehensive (and unofficial) repair manual.

I’ve relied upon iFixit for years, and the detail in this manual is a great example of why.