Last week my co-author, Matt Miller, wrote an article that basically said that there's no need to buy an Apple TV when Roku players already do everything the Apple TV does and more. As a person who has used all of the Roku players and also owns the older Apple TV, I will tell you that after seeing Jobs present last week, I found myself buying the Apple TV instantly.
Of course, many of you are going to say that I'm a lover of all things Apple, so it was inevitable that I'd buy it up. However, that's not the case. Granted, I'm definitely a lover of Apple products, but I generally don't buy tech for myself unless it's meeting a specific need. In the case of the new Apple TV, it will meet that need and more.
I used to write about my vision of the future, technology-wise. It always started out with me coming home from work and my house recognizing my devices and then doing some amazing, futuristic things. Well, after Jobs' presentation where he showed off what the new Apple TV could do, I felt like my vision was finally becoming reality.
Sure, the new Apple TV does what Roku does, including playback of HD movies and TV shows, YouTube and Netflix streaming, has integrated WiFi, is small and doesn't require a brick to power it--but that's still not what sold me. What actually made me pull the trigger was a feature that won't be available until November: AirPlay.
If you're not familiar with AirPlay, imagine taking pictures and videos on your iPhone, walking into your house, and then clicking a button on your iPhone's screen. Instantly, the photos / videos start playing on the Apple TV. The same goes for watching a movie or show on your iPad. Just wander into the room that has the Apple TV, click a button on screen, and the movie goes full-screen before your eyes. No more hassling with syncing, dealing with cables, or anything else. It's like those infomercials: "set it and forget it". In this case it's "shoot it and stream it".
The other thing that made me pull the trigger on the new Apple TV was its price. For $99 I can even stream videos and movies from my computer, just like I used to struggle to do with the older Apple TV. I should also mention that it could be a cable killer. In my case, I'd pay per-episode for HBO HD of some shows, instead of the monthly HBO fee.
Apple seems to have gotten this incarnation of the Apple TV right. It has futuristic capabilities, a great price point, and a small form factor. So far so good. Now let's see how it really works before I officially give it a thumbs up.