Apple TV Came Today
The Apple TV came today, putting off the original post I had. (It'll give me a bit more time to unpack what I am thinking about.) I have already started breaking out how I want to review the device, but consider this some brief first impressions.
If you already own an iOS device, the basic network set up is pretty easy. You touch your iPhone or iPad to the device and it will set up the network connection, which is really easy. But after that, you’re back to using the four way remote.
Entering your iCloud and iTunes passwords alone is frustrating. Add in all the various services you may be using, and it’ll be slow going. I’d still be entering passwords if it wasn’t for the fact that UVerse uses your home network as an authentication method once you’ve used your password once. The iOS remote app hasn’t been updated, and this version of the Apple TV does not support Bluetooth keyboards.
The only App Store launch I was there for was the iPad. (Well the Mac App Store too, but that doesn't count.) The Apple TV has a bit in common with the tablet launch. There’s going to be quite a few apps you’ll already own. I was able to install Alto’s Adventure, Transistor, and a few other games I already owned. There’s quite a few TV apps, but nothing that stands out compared to the old Apple TV’s line up. So you're likely getting a lot of the same apps that were already there, with some new games and other apps. Those apps are where I expect to see the new Apple TV really shine.
The remote is probably going to stand out to most Apple TV users. The top of the remote is a touch surface with a button, akin to a trackpad. You also have the Menu button to go back, a play/pause button, and the Siri button. It makes for an interesting game controller, though I didn’t really put it through its paces. As a remote control, it’s pretty inventive. For iOS users, it may take a bit of getting used to holding a button down to talk to Siri.
I think that there’s a lot to more to learn about the Apple TV both as a new platform, and just the device itself. I was excited about the original black puck model, but it’s basically been used for Apple keynotes for the last few years. I’m hopeful—but cautious—that the improved platform will grant more staying power.