While it hasn't said as much Apple's move to give Apple TV its very own space on its online store tells us it's become very serious about the former "hobby", and it seems pretty clear the main components of the next-generation device will focus on the two things people most want from television: content, and control.
[ABOVE: You are becoming the media.]
If you’ve been watching you'll have noticed Apple's been quietly introducing new channels through the Apple TV. This will continue. To grab a slice of the multiple display present, broadcasters recognize they must innovate broadcasting, offering content via dedicated apps is just one of these innovations. More here.
The next opportunity will inevitably be distribution of channels on a subscription and pay-per-use basis. Once broadcasting figures out how to progress old models of territorial licensing, it seems inevitable you'll be able to pick up hot channels or shows (Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad) wherever you happen to be, for a fee. More here.
These distributions will complement Apple's existing iTunes offering, I imagine you will add new channels simply by purchasing them via Apple's trusted and secure media distribution service.
When channels and shows are made available this way it's a no brainer to anticipate broadcasting rights groups will lay the smack down even harder against the unlicensed torrent sites that currently distribute TV/movie content. We saw this before with iTunes Music Store. People who make the shows you love want to be paid. If you want free content you'll have to figure out a business model they can accept.
Content won't be confined to music and movies. It is also inevitable Apple will enable your Apple TV to play games. These should end up being relatively good games, built to exploit your television's HD display and designed to test the until now underutilized processor inside the Apple TV.
Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft will have another fight on their hands as Apple aims to take the world's most popular Web TV box and transform it into the world's most capable console. You'll be able to play a game on your TV, then continue that game on your iPhone exactly where you left off.
One word: Siri.
"Siri, what's on TV at 7pm?"
"Siri, what movies are on later?"
"Set a reminder to watch the news."
There's also been talk of gesture-based controls using the built-in iSight camera (though given this year's tidal wave of NSA-related revelations I'm not convinced I want my telly to have a camera).
Voice and gesture will be nice, but it will also be interesting to find out what work Apple has done to enable the Apple TV to receive and display the channels provided by your cable and satellite operators. Wouldn't it be nice to explore what's available in a highly visual, legible and simple way? It seems Apple's been working towards just that.
The Apple television?
Is there a business in television? There might be, at the high-end. I believe it possible Apple will introduce a 4K Apple TV in addition to a much-improved Apple TV box.
You'll have a choice: use your existing set with an Apple TV, or enjoy Ultra-HD movies on your beautifully-designed Apple television set, which integrates those features. Even if this doesn't happen, I anticipate iTunes will eventually offer an UltraHD version of 4K television content.
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