My iPad Makes Me Hate My Apple TV

I (used to) love my Apple TV. It streams music and video from my iTunes. It allows me to listen to podcast and Internet radio. It lets me view YouTube and Flickr. It was pretty amazing, and it just worked.

Then I spent a month with my iPad. It does all of those things. And Netflix. And SmugMug. And non-iTunes video. And Pandora. And a gajillion other things. Now my Apple TV seems so… quaint.

C’mon Apple. Lose the Front Row interface on the Apple TV and put the iPhone OS on that thing. Let all the current owners upgrade to the iPhone OS for ten bucks. Sell a new Apple TV that has no storage, just a wifi card and an HDMI port. Allow any iPad app to work on the Apple TV. Make my iPhone or iPad work as an actual remote for it, not just a glorified 4 way navigation button.

Think of an Apple TV that would play iTunes, Netflix, Pandora, any video format through third party apps. Imagine Twitter or Facebook on your TV. Weather apps. News readers. All on the big screen in the morning while you’re having your coffee.

Imagine 200,000 apps available for the Apple TV. Then sell it for $99.

Apple TV is a self-proclaimed hobby by Steve Jobs. It’s been out since 2007 and has only had one revision in hardware and a couple of middling software upgrades. It’s time to bring it into the iPhone ecosystem or just kill it and convince people to use a Mac Mini.

Apple already sells the Apple TV as an iPod. It’s an iPod for your TV. It should graduate to at least iPod touch status, and get it out of the lazy, boring past. The iPad can do so much, and there’s no reason the Apple TV shouldn’t have the same features.

At the same time, Apple TV could easily eclipse the GoogleTV initiative that was announced last week. Apple already sells thousands of Apps that can stream media to the iPhone and iPad. Google can’t touch that for a long, long time. Apple has an opportunity to stay in the lead on the phone, tablet, and set-top box fronts, but Google’s Android is catching up fast. Adding a set-top box to the iPhone ecosystem would secure the lead for quite a while.