Building notes, projects, and occasional rants

Apple TV as another billion dollar business

In a recent blog post, Dion Almaer talks about AirPlay and how he can see it as a big part of almost every application you use today. I like AirPlay. In fact, I'm might end up buying a Apple TV just to have an AirPlay- enabled big TV.

I've read about games on the iPad/iPhone using AirPlay to use the HDTV as a display device, and it is a wonderful idea: you sit down with one of your favorite games in front of the big screen, flip a switch on your phone and now you can use the entire screen as a controller. Kind of like a Wii U, I guess.

But there is another scenario I like even better. Let me tell you the story of the "iPad for the kids" here at home.

A couple of months back, when the iPad2 was first announced, we decided not to buy any portable game consoles anymore. The games on those might be better, but the economics are wrong: you pay less for the console, but after the 4th or 5th game, you are already into iPad2 price points.

On the other hand, if you get an iPad2, you can have games between €0.79 and €5 a pop, even without counting the enormous amount of free games. So we bought an iPad2 for the kids and created an account with an allowance on the App Store. Entertainment problem solved. And as a bonus feature, we can load great education apps like Mathboard or Algebra Touch too.

So we have the iPad, mainly for games, and AirPlay (as soon as the Apple TV arrives) to make use of the HDTV. But I'm skeptical about real-time games via AirPlay. I very much doubt that the delay will go unnoticed.

Fortunately there is a better option, one that also might promote the Apple TV from a hobby to another billion dollar business for Apple.

You see, the new Apple TV is powered by an ARM processor and iOS, exactly the same combo the other iOS devices use.

If you could download the games over the air from your iPad/iPhone, they would run on the Apple TV, using the HDTV as display, and use your iOS portable device as a remote control, then your Apple TV becomes a games console too, with no display delay at all.

It would not be powerful as a XBox, PS3, or a Wii, but it would not matter: it would have a killer price point, and you could start a game on the iPad, arrive at home, keep playing on the HDTV, and switch back to the iPad later.

Now that would be awesome.