Apple TV – a real TV, not the little black box thing, will be a true game changer when it gets released sometime next year. I think the vision is starting to become obvious. Here’s my prediction.
It will include a camera, and therefore it will work with facetime calls and with skype for video calls from the living room.
It will run iOS which means that at some point (perhaps not in the first version) there will be an app store.
It will support bluetooth devices, and if Apple doesn’t do it someone else will release a game controller that works with it.
It will sport whatever their next gen CPU and GPU chip is. enough juice to push HD 3D games to a 1080p screen.
Siri will be built in as perhaps the main interface to the TV – (perhaps no remote at all)
Apple keeps delivering the future and I think a real Apple TV will revolutionize the entire industry.
Imagine being able to say “Siri, play last nights episode of Big Bang Theory”, or “Facetime Mom and Dad” or “Play UFO Invader” and having it do the appropriate thing. But I think beyond simple TV/Game center type thing will be the ability to actually interact with information through the TV. “Siri, tell me about the Cold War” and get a dynamic slide show & spoken description (sourced from wikipedia) like what you get with qwiki.com
The real technical problem will be getting rid of the remote entirely and that’s what I hope Steve Job “cracked”. With the iPhone 4S you press one button to engage Siri or optionally bring the phone up to your ear. How do you accomplish a hands free interface with a TV? perhaps direct commands could be given when in front of the TV like “pause” and it would detect that either through video or positioning in a microphone array. If you’re yelling from the next room you might have to prefix with “Siri” to get the attention first.
Will Samsung or LG be able to pre-empt this? Not a chance they don’t have the software expertise or the infrastructure to support it. I don’t think Google is investing enough in Google TV to have something ready by the time Apple releases their TV.