How Apple could outsmart Smart TV

How Apple could outsmart Smart TV

Samsung has recently introduced its latest TV offering, called Smart TV, in the UAE. It is basically the same 3D-enabled TVs as it already had with some added functionality built in. After using a Smart TV for about a week, I can say that they are not really that smart and I think Apple could do so much better and here is how.

By (Magnus Nystedt)

Published: Sat 21 May 2011, 11:50 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:05 PM

Samsung calls its Smart TV the “next generation in entertainment” and it may actually be that. Others have played with the idea of essentially marrying the TV with a computer, but Samsung seems to be the first brand to market it on this scale. What Smart TV in effect creates is a TV with which you can browse the Web, do e-mail, social media etc.

Apple already has most of the solutions needed to make this happen and make it better than what Samsung currently offers. There is, of course, Apple TV, which is the easiest way to enjoy video, TV, photos, podcasts and more on your HD TV. Sure, the full iTunes store is not open to customers in the region to buy much of that content, but the functionality is there.

Then we have the Mac mini, which is due to see a revamp soon. One of the smallest, fully featured computers around, it makes for a perfect companion to an HD TV. Throw in Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard and the Magic Trackpad and your home entertainment centre is done. Well, almost, you have to sort out the sound as well but let us leave that for another time.

Now, imagine throwing the two together into a device about the size of Apple TV but with the functionality of Mac mini, would not that be interesting? Add an improved Front Row interface with an API that software makers could hook in to. Then the sky is the limit in terms of integrating TV with online services.

Although this has some serious potential, there are two problem that Apple has to address if this is going to work: cloud and social media. Mobile Me is showing its age but with whatever Apple has planned for that data centre in North Carolina, it could become the centre of a cloud-based iTunes universe. Apple has also dipped one toe in the sea of social media with Ping but it is very limited and by all accounts has not become as popular as many would have anticipated.

If I can see the potential in this and envision what Apple could do, I can only imagine what they’d actually put together in the labs in Cupertino. It is clear to me that this development is only going to increase, to combine TV with online services, and Smart TV is an early example of that. It has serious limitations though and for users to really adopt this something drastic has to happen. I think Apple is just the company to come up with what that is and when they do, the rest of the industry will again be left in the dust., @mnystedt

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