It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...

It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...

Summary: Building a digital unicorn, a saddle for it, and even a stable.

TOPICS: Apple, Hardware, Mobility

I amazes me how some people can take a technology (in this example, the Apple's Siri voice control tech) and then go on not only to build some unicorn technology out of it, but then go as far as building a saddle and even a stable for that mythical unicorn.

Enter Ben Elowitz with his piece over on AllThingsD called 'With Siri TV, Apple Will Dismantle the TV Networks.' Yes, yet another piece that originates from Isaccson's biography of Steve Jobs (along with endless lashings of speculation by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster on the matter).

Let's take a look at this unicorn Elowitz has constructed:

Steve Jobs died without fully transforming television, but the day after he passed away, Apple unveiled Siri, its natural language interface. Though it’s currently only embedded in the new iPhone 4S, Siri could eventually change the face of the TV industry.

It goes on ...

Most observers and analysts believe that Siri’s voice commands could eliminate the need for those clunky TV remote controls. With the blurring and exponential proliferation of television and Web content, telling your TV what you’d like to watch, instead of scrolling through a nearly infinite number of program possibilities, makes a lot more sense.

Stop right there Elowitz. I already have a couple of questions.

  1. Is this system entirely voice controlled? If yes (let's ignore how monumentally complex a task it would be to control an entire TV by voice), then I'm going to need something that I talk into (surely this TV isn't going to be listening to me all the time), and that people wanting to communicate with the TV will need to press a button or something to initiate Siri TV ... but on what? iPhone? iPad? An Apple remote?
  2. What about all the other remote controls I have? Siri TV 'might' (and I really can't put enough quotes around the word 'might' there) work for this mythical TV or whatever, but it doesn't help with all the other devices. In fact, using voice for one device, and having to turn to remote control(s) for the others could become a pain in the rear. If remotes are the enemy in the living room, then a Siri TV doesn't really help.

Elowitz goes on:

Voice-controlled TV means direct navigation to individual episodes, programs and clips. And it will almost certainly lead to a discernible deconstruction of the network and channel structure — not to mention the decomposition of even the aggregated marketplaces like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube.

Here Elowitz has built a nice saddle for the Siri TV unicorn. But why exactly would voice control mean direct access to anything? Why can't a traditional search (or navigating through a menu) accomplish the same thing? Voice search, like any other search/input mechanism, is only as good as the user otherwise it's GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). One of the problems I and many others have with entertainment is actually knowing what they want to watch, which is a nexus of knowing what's available and what I want to watch. Unless Siri TV is going to read my mind then I can't see what advantage a voice control mechanism offers.

There's more:

Beyond disaggregation, personalization is ultimately the most powerful consumer value of digital media. My mother’s TV experience was to walk over to her TV set and turn a dial to select among three channels to satisfy her individuality. But in the next generation, no two people will receive the same recommendations from the millions of content choices available.

Here we come to the stable for the unicorn. This doesn't even have anything to do with Siri or voice control, this is about choice and personalization, something that content providers already do. This is inevitable based on there just being more content available.

The problem with all these Apple TV rumors is that no one can come up with a single compelling reason why Apple should go into the business of making TVs. Sure, it's easy to pull together technologies like Siri and ARM-based CPUs, then do some hand-waving and come to the conclusion that Apple must be working on TVs but all this ignores the fact that Apple already sells a product that will connect to any TV that happens to have an HDMI connector called the AppleTV. What's more, that product, even at $99, isn't exactly setting the world alight.

I'm not saying that Apple isn't working on something that will revolutionize TV (the company works on all kinds of stuff), but the one thing that I am sure of is that if Apple brings anything out resembling the franken-TV postulated by the rumormongers, it would fail, and fail hard.

Maybe Apple needs to release something that looks like this and get it over with ...

There you go rumormongers, an Apple TV! A surefire success, right?


Topics: Apple, Hardware, Mobility

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  • RE: It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...

    Doubt it will make sense to market a proprietary TV, have to agree with Microsoft Xbox strategy but it will be a matter of execution. The voice and motion interaction , behavioral marketing, and targeted ads. Microsoft has a poor history over the years in the set top box business, maybe those experiences will be beneficial. Can't see the proprietary TV's aka Google and Apple being more than niche players. The Holy Grail could be the targeted ads and connecting it with social media. Will need some simplified USB cablecard type device to access cable content . No need for STB and TV remote. Strategy the cable operators can endorse & partner. Ownership of subscriber ad dollar and retail opportunities still to be negotiated. Again the Holy Grail for Amazon, Google, and Apple - something that Cable subsidized Canoe Ventures has been late to the party
    • RE: It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...

      @herblair I truly hope that Apple does NOT create a TV. Displays are a very personal choice. I don't want Apple choosing my display. We'd end up with a super glossy screen where all we do is stare at our own reflections all day. I would MUCH rather have an iOS-based 1080p cable box with 4 HD tuners, a huge hard drive for recording, Air Play, and many-source HD Internet streaming built-in. If they can make that for under a grand, I'm in.

      Most importantly, Apple needs to learn that 720p max hasn't been adequate to call something HD since last century. I would not use the current Apple TV if they were giving them away for free. This new Apple system had better be 1080p or they might as well cancel it now. Otherwise, it will flounder just like the Apple TV. There is no way I'm hooking up a 720p source to my 1080p flat panel. Period.
  • RE: It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...

    Why does Apple think I wanna talk to my TV? How the Hell could it even hear me without being completely turned on? What if I'm across the room?

    I also can't help but imagine the mess of proprietary cables needed to convert and hook up the TV from industry standards.

    Where's the damn HDMI port? What do you mean there is none?
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Apple didn't say anything for this article

      Perhaps you should read it before exposing yourself and your limited opinion.
      @Cylon Centurion
    • You have hear of this little product right...

      @Cylon Centurion... called Kinect. It connects to the 360 and allows you to control the xbox with voice commands and gestures... How is this different from the Siri concept, except that Siri is natural speaking.

      Oh by the way, the current Apple TV uses HDMI and not a proprietary cable, quit with the FUD.
    • RE: It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...

      @Cylon Centurion

      Would you kindly point out where in the article it says there are might be proprietary cables and not HDMI? Did you even ready the article?
      • RE: It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...


        There is none. But Apple LOVES proprietary. Macs have/had proprietary hookups for how many years? I wouldn't put it past them.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...

      @Cylon Centurion

      Please educate us on what proprietary connections Apples uses?

      My Mac Mini is connect to my monitor by an HDMI Cable, to my external drives via USB, to my Scanner, Printer, Microsoft Mouse, Apple Keyboard and Camera via USB. The memory and hard drive use industry standard connections.

      We're waiting...
  • This Ought to be Fun

    "Fighting for the remote" anyone? I want to see what that TV will do when a whole family is fighting what to watch.
    • Fighting for the remote happens now, but the real problem woud be...

      the multitude of voices reaching Siri, from the people watching the TV, and from the TV itself.<br><br>Imagine Siri in "listening" mode, which would be all the time, and it picks up an unintentional question or command from the TV. What then? What will Siri do? Will it change stations on you? Will it execute an internet search after it interprets something it hears coming out of the TV?
      • RE: It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...


        Which is why I feel this rumour have no legs. Siri will be a cool added feature but not the main driver of Apple tv.
  • Essentially the guy is saying ...

    ... that Apple should take MS' Xbox apps / search experience with Kinect, and put it into a TV. It would be better if Apple put it into its Apple TV mini console, which could be attached to any TV. It would be more attractive and flexible for consumers. Also, like on the Xbox, supplementing voice with other forms of control on the Apple TV console, would make for a better overall user experience. Therefore I wouldn't get rid of the remote control on Apple TV.
    P. Douglas
    • RE: It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...

      @P. Douglas Maybe the whole idea behind this elusive Apple TV is so you don't have to attach anymore conosoles to it. It has one coax cable coming into it and one and one power cord. That's it. Very clutter free.

      But in the end we'll have to wait and see.
      • RE: It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...

        @smulji and a line-out for connecting to the DTS surround sound 7.1 theater speakers. Wireless for somethings is ok, but with potentially 50 things competing for bandwidth, sound is something best heard thru interference free wires.
  • Sure, I want to yell at my TV.

    Yeah. Uh-huh. You bet. You are absolutely right, Adrian. Just because voice control is the latest and greatest on the iPhone, a lot of people seem to think it would work great for any interface. That's just plain stupid! I give Apple more credit than to think they'd mis-use voice to control a TV.
    • Plus....

      I can't wait to see what it will do when I curse that the television or am talking at it over my barking dog. Good times ahead especially when the TV either does something I didn't want because of background conversation or I have to use specific commands like Kinect to get it to execute. And no one can speak in the background while this is taking place. Oh yeah, fun times.
  • RE: It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...

    C'mon Jason, you know that it's all just trolling for click-thrus. Mention Apple-anything and you're assured of a million gazillion page views from the genuinely delusional Apple fanbois. Mention Apple taking over the <insert technology here> world and multiply that by another bazillion. Of course you know this which is why you wrote this article...
    • RE: It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...

      @justthinking seems the delusional i-Haters (like you) are out in force today
      • RE: It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...

        @Rick_Kl I have a MacBook Pro and an iPhone 4...I don't hate Apple, on the contrary...but you cannot tell me that the hordes of Apple fanbois do not shift like a school of fish whenever there's an anti-Apple article written. Apple is a lifestyle, not a product or technology and you don't mess with people's lifestyles...
  • RE: It's not 'Apple TV' any more, it's 'Siri TV' ... ugh ...

    Don't forget to throw iTunes in to the mix. Ask for a show, iTunes finds and delivers it.... for a nominal fee.