Apple TV Set
So then what is an Apple TV set? What does that mean, this speculated HDTV (the fact that we still make this distinction makes me uncomfortable—like calling them plasmas or flatscreens, it seems as dated as calling your stereo a Hi-Fi or a stereo)? I think the general understanding is it’s a big, pretty piece of glass—a 16:9 one like what you have in your living room now except much less ugly—and somewhere in its beautiful guts is an Apple TV. That is, the brains is pretty much what already exists—a jumbo-size portal to iTunes like what we can buy for $99 right now, what we might even buy for each of the rooms with TVs in our homes—but for $2,000 more expensive because glass ain’t cheap.
But Apple has already built its TV. It’s called the Apple TV and that’s why it’s called the Apple TV. Because we’re supposed to be rethinking what a TV is. The TV is not the screen with seven different inputs for your players and boxes and game machines. The TV is the content and the buttons we touch to get to that content. That is, the TV has historically been the cable box, and Apple has merely hinted at changing this. But only merely hinted (see: Steve’s hobby).
To do more than hint at this change—this is the one reason I can see for Apple actually making a TV set with an Apple TV built-in: as a grand statement, a big Fuck You to Kabletown, as a show piece with which to say exactly what Apple thinks a TV is, but more importantly what Apple thinks a TV is not.
Think that beautiful piece of glass will have an RF tuner input? No. Kill your tuner. Your tuner is of no use to you. Think your Apple TV set will have even an HDMI input? You even want an HDMI input? God, you’re so lame, you don’t even deserve this thing. Oh, you want to play your little games? Maybe you’ve heard of something called the App Store, the single biggest distributor of games on the planet. Built into the set. Oh, you want to play your collector’s edition Blu-ray discs? Play them on your Vizio, Derek. You disgust me.
No, what you’ve had in your living room all your life—that’s just a TV set. A dumb hunk of plastic and glass, a front-end for your rat’s nest of cables, waiting to be changed to channel 3 and left there to rot. This new thing from Apple? That’s a TV.
Now, do I think Apple will actually do this? I really don’t know. I merely tolerate my living room TV set (I’m a Sony man the way I was a Nokia man before June 29, 2007) but I love my Apple TV—I love that I can unplug it in 1.5 seconds from my hunk of shit and bring it to my grandma’s house and plug it into her hunk of shit and we can watch movies. But portability is not and has never been the selling point. Access to content to supplant the cable TV experience—that’s the end goal. And to really reach that end goal, Apple has to forcibly yank out all that cable.