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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > Return of the AppleTV?

Return of the AppleTV?
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subego
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Aug 25, 2010, 09:42 PM
 
I'm posting this here because the scuttle is the new AppleTV will be an iDevice, and the big breakthrough will be that it uses apps, which would mean (among other things) content providers could sell you shows directly as apps.

Gruber swears he knows nothing, but he outlined this sort of setup and next thing I know everyone's reporting more or less this, with very little attribution other than "rumors".

Sounds sufficiently "Apple-y" to me, and I think Gruber knows more than he's letting on.

Opinions? I'd probably drop a bill on it, but I'm out of HDMI inputs.


Oh yeah, though it will come with the standard remote, the preferred method will be to use other iDevices as remotes.
     
turtle777
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Aug 25, 2010, 09:55 PM
 
Forget the remote.

new ATV + Magic Pad = teh wins

-t
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 25, 2010, 10:05 PM
 
That's what I was initially thinking, but Gruber made the point that it would make it too expensive, and would make it cursor based. iOS isn't cursor based. Likewise, you can already awkwardly replace a touch interface with a remote, which means using an iDevice is open as optional. People have been trying and failing to make a cursor work with a touch interface for years now.

I'll add myself that as much as I like my MT, it needs to be on a stable surface for the clicks to work. The AppleTV needs to be controllable when reclined from a couch.
     
turtle777
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Aug 25, 2010, 10:08 PM
 
Cursor based. OMG. Welcome to 1984.

No way.

-t
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 25, 2010, 10:11 PM
 
How would the MT work then, and how do you get around the stable surface issue?

And then, how do you get around the MT already costing 6/10ths of the proper price point?
     
turtle777
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Aug 25, 2010, 10:23 PM
 
Apple will figure it out

Seriously, not sure.

If the ATV is really only $100, then yes, it might be a hard sell for a $60 MP.
But what if Apple bundled it, say $150. Doesn't sound as bad anymore.

Re: stable surface - the MP works ok on a lap, but it's not ideal.
But then again, I hate moving around cursors with remotes. It always sucks.

-t
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 25, 2010, 10:53 PM
 
Those last two are what really points to it. No cursor. No clicky. Workable with a stock remote.
     
ajprice
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Aug 26, 2010, 06:10 AM
 

It'll be much easier if you just comply.
     
-Q-
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Aug 26, 2010, 06:38 AM
 
That seems to be an awfully music-themed invitation. I wonder if it's finally a streaming service announcement?
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 26, 2010, 12:20 PM
 
Also my first thought. Doesn't look like the kind of event to release an AppleTV at.

I know it's "Gruber this, Gruber that"' but the guy's got a better inside track than anyone, and he's being insistent the new AppleTV will be there.

Streaming would be nice though... I think. I'll admit, I haven't quite gotten my head around it. I'm a dinosaur.
( Last edited by subego; Aug 26, 2010 at 01:25 PM. )
     
slugslugslug
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Aug 27, 2010, 12:30 PM
 
Since those rumors a few months ago, I’ve been assuming that if a new tv is iOS-based, that doesn’t mean it’ll run any old existing iOS apps. It just seems too fiddly to try and completely generalize a touch- and motion-sensitive UI to a big screen 10 feet away. I figured they’d stick yet another UI onto the underlying OS and add some APIs for interacting with it, so the now-large base of Obj-C/Cocoa Touch developers could make apps for it quickly.

The main thing I’m wondering is whether the sub-store for the new device will be open to any iOS developers, or whether it’ll be a showcase for Apple’s partners, focusing mainly on video delivery channels and casual games.
     
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Aug 27, 2010, 02:26 PM
 
I'd be surprised that after seeing the unprecedented success of the App Store that they would exclude iOS-based Apple/iTV applications. It just means more developer $$ for Apple and might spur some interest from consumers in their "hobby" product. Looking back, it wasn't until the App Store was really established that the iPhone took off. They may be hoping to catch lighting in a bottle twice.
     
Salty
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Aug 30, 2010, 02:50 AM
 
My guess for apps would be that they'd all be designed to work with a basic remote not so unlike the current Apple one... or perhaps even the current Apple one. It's sleek, it's reasonably sexy, and Steve likes it. It would be iOS based in the sense that iOS is OS X based. Developing for iOS is a lot like developing for OS X, likewise developing for iTV or whatever it's called will likely be similar. My guess is that the iTV will be pitched as a partner product to an iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. For this reason I'm really surprised that they're not calling it something like iBox or something like that, it would make a lot more sense and roll off the tongue better... but I'm sure they did a lot of market research.
As for app interface, it needs to be something doable from the couch. My guess would be a basic remote would come with it, but it would be expected that most people would just use their iPod touches or iPhones. It's also a great excuse for those of you in families to invest in an iPad for around the house.
As for having apps interact with the Apple TV off the iOS devices, my guess would be that there'd be one icon on your iOS device, that would act as a gateway to the TV, and from there your phone/touch/pad would become your remote, for the standard Apple TV interface, or become a game controller for your new video game you bought off the App store. This would also allow developers to have hybrid games that would run as separate apps on the phone, but open up to play on a bigger screen.
Nintendo has a lot of success with their Super Gameboy add on for the SNES that let you play game boy games, fact is I had one before I had a game boy. Fact is sometimes it's just nicer to play your games on the big screen. I confess I got kind of bored of a few games just because playing it only on an iPhone got kinda boring.

Not to mention what a great way to piss off Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo! Create a set top box that just HAPPENS to play games. Just like they created a Phone that just happens to play games, and a eBook reader that just happens to play games. Fact is Apple can enter the home gaming market unintentionally like they did the mobile app market. How powerful does the thing have to be? Not overly, fact is the graphics on an iPhone 4 or iPad are already pretty freaking good, so putting out a 1.5Ghz box that can render good graphics at a decent HD resolution shouldn't be that big of a deal. Fact is people are going to be a lot more forgiving of it for only rendering well at 720p than they would be the Wii, since again Apple's not REALLY trying to get into the home game market.
Best part even if they only do fill it with 16 gigs of internal memory, Apple can always just let you store games on the network somewhere.
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Aug 30, 2010, 04:37 PM
 
I'm really not getting this. iOS is nothing without "gestures," but how do you make gestures on your TV? You don't touch it, so now you have to make "gestures" without looking at them (look at the screen and touch the remote, whatever it may be). Turtle brought up the magic pad, but I can't see that working without a cursor (the only way to make a selection without tapping directly on the thing you want to select). And I can't see them purposefully changing to iOS and then backtracking on that by adding a cursor to iOS, besides the fact that turtle is right about cursors not being well suited to the couch-o-sphere. So all this leaves me with a big "wut?" I guess I might just have to wait a few months before it starts making sense.

I mean, I get why it would be good for Apple to propel a success like the iphone into a new arena like TV. I just don't get why it would be good for the user. Specifically the "iOS" angle. In short, it seems like TV and iOS strengths and requirements are orthogonal to each other.
     
subego  (op)
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Aug 31, 2010, 03:04 PM
 
I'm confused.

If you're using the stock Apple remote, you can easily find the available commands by touch, without taking your eyes off the TV.

You'd have to take your eyes off the TV to use an iDevice as a remote, but then what you're looking at has it's own screen.

They've also developed a "halfway house" mode, which can be seen if you use the Remote app with an AppleTV. The whole screen of your iPhone becomes a four-way d-pad (drag in one of the four directions) and a select button (tap). Not only are no visual cues from the iDevice needed, it doesn't provide any. It's just a black screen. I'll admit though, I'm not a huge fan of it. I prefer to just grab the stock remote.
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Aug 31, 2010, 03:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I'm confused.

If you're using the stock Apple remote, you can easily find the available commands by touch, without taking your eyes off the TV.
This method seems more sensible to me, but where it breaks down is.... in what way is it iOS or an "iDevice?" Just that you can buy apps from the iTunes store? If they sold Photoshop and Office through the iTunes store would that make the Mac an iDevice? I'm just confused (not indignant)

They've also developed a "halfway house" mode, which can be seen if you use the Remote app with an AppleTV. The whole screen of your iPhone becomes a four-way d-pad (drag in one of the four directions) and a select button (tap). Not only are no visual cues from the iDevice needed, it doesn't provide any. It's just a black screen. I'll admit though, I'm not a huge fan of it. I prefer to just grab the stock remote.
I didn't know about this, but it leaves me with the same question as above: it sounds great for things like DVD menus, where all you need is 4 arrows and an "enter," but I don't see how it overlaps with iOS or the iDevices. IOW, I don't see how it can make the jump to "apps" unless the apps will have their interfaces severely limited.

Or maybe they just expect you to pod-person it, peering into your hand-held screen even though you're sitting in front of the big screen. I would hate that, but I guess not everyone would.
     
Mrjinglesusa
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Aug 31, 2010, 06:53 PM
 
New iTV will be controlled by an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Open iTV Remote app on your iDevice and the iDevice will mirror your iTV screen for complete control of everything. No need to look up at TV because the screen contents are mirrored on your iDevice. Scrolling scrolls the content on your TV. Tapping an icon opens something on your iTV, which is mirrored on your iDevice. To input text, tap in text box and keyboard opens on your iDevice for input.

You heard it here first.
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subego  (op)
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Sep 1, 2010, 01:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
This method seems more sensible to me, but where it breaks down is.... in what way is it iOS or an "iDevice?" Just that you can buy apps from the iTunes store? If they sold Photoshop and Office through the iTunes store would that make the Mac an iDevice? I'm just confused (not indignant)
What makes something an iDevice is it running the iOS, unless I'm misunderstanding your question.


Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
I didn't know about this, but it leaves me with the same question as above: it sounds great for things like DVD menus, where all you need is 4 arrows and an "enter," but I don't see how it overlaps with iOS or the iDevices. IOW, I don't see how it can make the jump to "apps" unless the apps will have their interfaces severely limited.

Or maybe they just expect you to pod-person it, peering into your hand-held screen even though you're sitting in front of the big screen. I would hate that, but I guess not everyone would.
I think it depends on what the app is supposed to be doing. At least off the bat, browsing for content in some form or fashion is going to be your primary activity. Would you have a problem going through your Netflix instant queue on your iPad/iPhone? I'll admit, I use Remote App so often I've made it one of my "always available" apps at the bottom of the screen, so I'm already comfortable with getting AV content on the home theatre going via iPhone.

Of course, there's non standard stuff. How's about a card game where you keep the cards in your hand on your "remote"?


Edit: Mrjinglesusa's post made me think of one other thing, search. If you have to search for anything (or do any sort of textual input), once you've done it with a "real" keyboard, you'll beg to look away from the TV, since all it's showing you is a far inferior form of text input.
( Last edited by subego; Sep 1, 2010 at 02:30 AM. )
     
Stogieman
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Sep 1, 2010, 02:43 PM
 
The new AppleTV technical specs page has the following listed under ports and interfaces:

* HDMI2
* Optical audio
* 10/100BASE-T Ethernet
* Built-in IR receiver
* Micro-USB (for service and support)

Does that mean I can't use the USB port to connect an external drive for extra storage?

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turtle777
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Sep 1, 2010, 02:48 PM
 
This is awesome.

I guess I'm gonna return my Roku box (for Netflix) that I purchased 1 month ago.

-t
     
The Final Dakar
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Sep 1, 2010, 02:49 PM
 
I still can't believe they added Netflix. It runs so counter to the iTMS.
     
The Final Dakar
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Sep 1, 2010, 02:52 PM
 
Hilariously, the "cool" "remotes" for the AppleTV now cost 2, 3 and 4x it's price.

(Of course they do a lot more than just control the ATV)
     
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Sep 1, 2010, 02:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Stogieman View Post
* Micro-USB (for service and support)

Does that mean I can't use the USB port to connect an external drive for extra storage?
Isn't it the same as the old apple tv (except now it's micro)? I thought that the old one didn't work for users too
     
Stogieman
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Sep 1, 2010, 02:59 PM
 
I don't know. I've never owned one. Dakar?

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The Final Dakar
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Sep 1, 2010, 03:00 PM
 
No idea. Its seemed to serve the hacking community. No more thumbstick patching, I suppose.
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Sep 1, 2010, 03:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
What makes something an iDevice is it running the iOS, unless I'm misunderstanding your question.
But that's just branding. They could just start calling Mac OS "iOS 5" without changing anything else, and it would satisfy that definition.

My question is, given that the fundamental user interaction is different (touch-what-you-want vs. arrow-to-it DOSDVD-style vs. cursor selection á la Mac OS) then any program written for one "branch" of the OS (4" vs 10" vs TV-size) has to be re-written for the other "branches," meaning that the different "branches" are really different OS's, from the user's perspective. Just like how current iOS apps can't run on Mac OS, and don't look very similar to their Mac OS counterparts.

...you'll beg to look away from the TV...
This is the big disconnect for me. I can't see the transition to looking away from the TV screen to be a positive. In a nutshell, if what you want is to look at the hand-held, then what are you doing in front of the TV in the first place?

But maybe I'm wrong; I am a cell-phone luddite and maybe this thread is just another aspect of that.
     
slugslugslug
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Sep 1, 2010, 04:52 PM
 
Well, Gruber claims it is actually running iOS. On one hand, it seems to make sense, given that the specs page on apple.com include an A4 processor. On the other hand, what makes iOS iOS? I mean, sure, it might have the exact same kernel and other low-level Darwin layers as existing iOS devices, but presumably a great deal of that is in common with Mac OS X and even the previous AppleTV OS. So what non-user-facing layers of the system count as iOS proper? An interesting puzzle, I think.

Anyway, assuming there’s something about it that makes it iOS more than just Darwin-plus, then I was right about one bit: they weren’t about to just let it run any old existing apps. Given what Steve said about people not wanting a computer for their TV watching, I don’t see an AppleTV App Store anytime soon. But if they do, I think my prediction will still hold: existing apps won’t run, though you could probably add yet a third set of NIBs to make an obese binary.

Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
I still can't believe they added Netflix. It runs so counter to the iTMS.
It is, but it’s also too important at this point because pretty much anything else you can hook up to your TV also has Netflix streaming, and tons of people are members. For the people that don’t already have some kind of Netflix device attached to their TV, pretty much every other weird little box has a big advantage over Apple’s.
     
The Final Dakar
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Sep 1, 2010, 04:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by slugslugslug View Post
It is, but it’s also too important at this point because pretty much anything else you can hook up to your TV also has Netflix streaming, and tons of people are members. For the people that don’t already have some kind of Netflix device attached to their TV, pretty much every other weird little box has a big advantage over Apple’s.
Dude, still, is there any other precedent like this?
     
turtle777
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Sep 1, 2010, 05:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by slugslugslug View Post
It is, but it’s also too important at this point because pretty much anything else you can hook up to your TV also has Netflix streaming, and tons of people are members. For the people that don’t already have some kind of Netflix device attached to their TV, pretty much every other weird little box has a big advantage over Apple’s.
Three words:

Apple killed Roku.

That's what just happened.

-t
     
subego  (op)
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Sep 1, 2010, 05:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
But that's just branding. They could just start calling Mac OS "iOS 5" without changing anything else, and it would satisfy that definition.

My question is, given that the fundamental user interaction is different (touch-what-you-want vs. arrow-to-it DOSDVD-style vs. cursor selection á la Mac OS) then any program written for one "branch" of the OS (4" vs 10" vs TV-size) has to be re-written for the other "branches," meaning that the different "branches" are really different OS's, from the user's perspective. Just like how current iOS apps can't run on Mac OS, and don't look very similar to their Mac OS counterparts.
Isn't that sort of the case with the iPad and iPhone now?


Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
This is the big disconnect for me. I can't see the transition to looking away from the TV screen to be a positive. In a nutshell, if what you want is to look at the hand-held, then what are you doing in front of the TV in the first place?

But maybe I'm wrong; I am a cell-phone luddite and maybe this thread is just another aspect of that.
At least with the search example, you may be over thinking it.

Have you ever entered text on a TV? You get a big grid of letters, and you up/down/left/right to each individual letter and hit enter. It sucks.

With the Remote App, you just use the keyboard on your phone, which you use similarly to a real keyboard. Boom, it's done.
     
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Sep 1, 2010, 05:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Isn't that sort of the case with the iPad and iPhone now?
But they're both touch-what-you-want. That is at least one unifying factor from the user's perspective. I know it might sound small, but it really is a fundamental difference that would prevent apps being interoperable even if the screens were all the same size.

slug³ said it better than I could though


At least with the search example, you may be over thinking it.

Have you ever entered text on a TV? You get a big grid of letters, and you up/down/left/right to each individual letter and hit enter. It sucks.

With the Remote App, you just use the keyboard on your phone. Boom, it's done.
What about good old touch-typing? It still seems better, even ignoring the fact that you don't have to look down to do it.
     
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Sep 1, 2010, 07:36 PM
 
Sorry if this is a dumb question -never owned this device and I've yet to find the answer to my query.

Will it play my QT files?
.................................................. .................................................. ..................................www.DNCH.com

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Sep 1, 2010, 08:46 PM
 
My recollection is the old model plays any format that iTunes can handle.
     
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Sep 1, 2010, 09:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
But they're both touch-what-you-want. That is at least one unifying factor from the user's perspective. I know it might sound small, but it really is a fundamental difference that would prevent apps being interoperable even if the screens were all the same size.
Oh, absolutely. I wasn't trying to minimize the difference, only saying that Apple doesn't have a problem shielding apps from a particular device.

Also, now that we've actually seen the thing, I'd say you're right about the iOS angle. This runs the iOS, but isn't something I would say is accurately designated as an iDevice.


Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
What about good old touch-typing? It still seems better, even ignoring the fact that you don't have to look down to do it.
Huh? Is this rhetorical? You'd have to lean forward. Why would you do that for a short string of text when you have your "remote" right next to you?
     
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Sep 1, 2010, 09:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
You'd have to lean forward.
You do? I don't. I did all my typing from a hammock back in college. It wasn't even possible to lean forward. (it destroyed all my keyboard cables, but that was before the invention of wireless keyboards)
     
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Sep 2, 2010, 05:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by dzp111 View Post
Sorry if this is a dumb question -never owned this device and I've yet to find the answer to my query. Will it play my QT files?
Originally Posted by subego View Post
My recollection is the old model plays any format that iTunes can handle.
No, the aTV only plays MPEG4 based video, just like the iOS devices.
Originally Posted by Mrjinglesusa View Post
New iTV will be controlled by an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Open iTV Remote app on your iDevice and the iDevice will mirror your iTV screen for complete control of everything. No need to look up at TV because the screen contents are mirrored on your iDevice. Scrolling scrolls the content on your TV. Tapping an icon opens something on your iTV, which is mirrored on your iDevice. To input text, tap in text box and keyboard opens on your iDevice for input.

You heard it here first.
Actually, you're closer than it appears. No, you don't really "control" the aTV with your iDevice. But sitting on your couch and streaming any video, photo, or music on your iDevice will certainly feel that way.

But really, I think the new aTV is much better than before. It does less without local storage, but it also costs a lot less, and renting shows and movies is a much better deal now.
     
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Sep 2, 2010, 12:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by lpkmckenna View Post
No, the aTV only plays MPEG4 based video, just like the iOS devices.
Actually, you're closer than it appears. No, you don't really "control" the aTV with your iDevice. But sitting on your couch and streaming any video, photo, or music on your iDevice will certainly feel that way.

But really, I think the new aTV is much better than before. It does less without local storage, but it also costs a lot less, and renting shows and movies is a much better deal now.
Yeah, I was off on this but I guarantee it's only a matter of time before Apple updates their Remote app to allow it to mirror what's on your TV. It just makes way too much sense for them not too.
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subego  (op)
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Sep 2, 2010, 02:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
You do? I don't. I did all my typing from a hammock back in college. It wasn't even possible to lean forward. (it destroyed all my keyboard cables, but that was before the invention of wireless keyboards)
I wasn't describing the situation when you already just happen to have a keyboard sitting in your lap, I'm describing the activity you need to engage in to get it there from where the keyboard sits when it's unused.

Or more realistically, what you'd have to do every time, because no one would keep a keyboard in their lap for the kind of short, intermittent typing that searches entail.
     
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Sep 2, 2010, 06:37 PM
 
Oh I see. Well it probably is so (that people stow their wireless keyboard further from the "command chair" than they do their remote), but I don't see any reason why it has to be so.
     
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Sep 2, 2010, 07:05 PM
 
Size is going to be the primary barrier. Also, anything which is like a normal keyboard is going to be far more sensitive to accidental input than a normal remote.

TiVo has a remote with a slide out keyboard, but I'd imagine there's a steep learning curve when it comes to touch typing with it since you're meant to use only thumbs.
     
slugslugslug
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Sep 3, 2010, 11:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
But they're both touch-what-you-want. That is at least one unifying factor from the user's perspective. I know it might sound small, but it really is a fundamental difference that would prevent apps being interoperable even if the screens were all the same size.

slug³ said it better than I could though
This has got to be the first time anyone’s said this about me on an Internet forum, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it were the last.

But I think you actually hit on an angle that I neglected, about touch-what-you-want making the existing iOS screen sizes really similar to each other and dramatically different from TV or desktop interfaces.

Interestingly, I think the closest you’ll get to a touchscreen-like experience from couch-like distances is using something like a Wiimote as a pointer. More mediation than actual touch, but really less so than a mouse/trackpad, since the location/position of such a device would more directly map to a single point onscreen. But of course that wouldn’t solve the problem of multitouch.

The thing with the iPad as a new iteration of iOS device was that it could run existing Cocoa Touch apps unmodified, even if it was better to use versions with updated views and controllers. A TV-connected device that tried to run existing apps would just break on a way larger proportion of them, ruining the point.
     
Uncle Skeleton
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Sep 3, 2010, 01:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Size is going to be the primary barrier. Also, anything which is like a normal keyboard is going to be far more sensitive to accidental input than a normal remote.

TiVo has a remote with a slide out keyboard, but I'd imagine there's a steep learning curve when it comes to touch typing with it since you're meant to use only thumbs.
Maybe you're right. I don't think I can be convinced of the wisdom of a touch-controller for TV until I see it. Even if you're right about text input, I would still want to minimize looking away from the screen as much as possible, which means using the cursor paradigm instead of trying to shoehorn the iOS in there just because it's the New Hotness®.

slugger: I use a gyro-mouse which is a lot like the Wii-mote + cursor you mention, on my HTPC (mac mini). It is a little kludgy, but I think it's a happy compromise. The biggest problems are moments of signal loss (often when many people are around to interfere with the signal, which is the most embarrassing time for it to break), and declining battery life.
     
subego  (op)
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Sep 4, 2010, 05:32 PM
 
I absolutely agree there are hurdles here, and I probably got a little carried away in all the excitement.

I'm 100% right about the text input though.
     
subego  (op)
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Sep 24, 2010, 09:46 PM
 
Gruber had another interesting analysis that Apple really might want AirPlay to become a prime focus for the AppleTV.

The example he gave was the MLB app. Since it uses the Apple playback controls, it has AirPlay automatically integrated. You have an AppleTV, then you have baseball on TV, without any of the legal tangles which would tie up an app specifically designed for transmitting to a TV (exclusivity contracts, lock-outs, etc.).

Edit: looks like the Netflix app uses the Apple playback too. This may have something to do with Apple's decision to include it in the device itself.
( Last edited by subego; Sep 24, 2010 at 09:57 PM. )
     
turtle777
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Sep 24, 2010, 10:43 PM
 
If only Apple would ship the darn thing

-t
     
   
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