Apple Envy

I have been lusting for a couple of Apples devices. Specifically the Apple TV and the iPhone. I haven’t pulled the trigger on either one yet because they are expensive.

I was really hopeful when the Apple TV came out. Steve Jobs refers to it as “The Hobby”. I believe this is an allusion to the idea that they know that such a device is needed but not exactly what needs to go into it. It can’t refer to the hobbyists that have been modding and hacking the device to add those things in. The first software update, 1.1, took away all of the tools that made modding easy.

It’s just missing too many things. The biggest beef I have is the lack of support for video formats. this is not a limitation of the device or even the codecs on it. Modders have even found a way to trick iTunes into sending all kinds of video files to the ApplyTV, which it plays quite happily. Not supporting every reasonable video format in iTunes and on the AppleTV out of the box makes this a non starter for me. You cant take over my media experience if you don’t play all my media.

Here is an example. I get loads of videos from in all manner of formats, WMV, AVI, Xvid, ogm etc. None of that will play on the device and none of them will import into iTunes. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could subscribe to an RSS feed of the videos and get them delivered to me like a podcast? The XBox360 does a much better job of this and its comparable priced and, oh yea, it plays games! Hey Apple, get with the program, not all legal, legitimate, virtuous media originates on a Mac in Quicktime. The ApplyTV needs to be omnivorous.

No Net Radio. iTunes has stream support, why cant the AppleTV? I would like to be able to kick a little SomeFM in my living room without having to go mess with my PC. Seems like a glaring omission to me.
No Web Browser. Come on , they put Safari on the iPhone and that screen is tiny. The Nintendo Wii has a good web browser. i think though that this might require a better remote to really be easy to use, something like the Wii’s gyroscopic technology really is ideal for this.
So i had my hopes up, even after its release that the AppleTV would mature into the HTPC we have all wanted but never quite archived. It could still be that device it just needs a few things. Unfortunately those things are at odds with Apples corporate media strategy. Still if you don’t care about those things its the best HTPC going.
The iPhone on the other hand seems to be just about perfect. Its like they designed it for me personally or something. That thing is just Bad Ass. No Edge data is a bummer but Wifi is a huge bonus. I can live without the edge, the few times that I really needed net access on the go were for checking e-mail or getting directions. I never needed to watch YouTube.

My current phone has a lot of the iPhone’s features. Its a music player and lets you surf the net. It just seems neolithic with its small screen, clumsy interface and T9 text entry, next to an iPhone. I know I’m going to get one, it is a forgone conclusion. I haven’t this been excited about a cellphone since I got my first one. Still the $600 price point (come on, wants the 4GB model?!) makes this an item that may be on the “do want” list for a long time.



One Response to “Apple Envy”

  1. Gravatar of Dan Dan
    28. March 2008 at 13:05

    I just bought a Zune Mini!!! I’ll never turn back to iPod!

    Really though…I’ve never liked Apple’s interfaces. I also think their stuff is over-priced.