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.