At his MacWorld keynote, Steve Jobs announced the full details of Apple TV (formerly iTV) and the long anticipated and rumoured Apple phone: the iPhone.
Apple TV is a slim set-top box type device with wired and wireless capabilities which can connect to a TV via HDMI or Component. It has a 40GB hard disk and can sync up with your iTunes library on Mac or PC to download movies, music and photos from your iTunes. It can also stream content from up to five iTunes PCs/Macs. It will retail in the UK for £199 and is shipping in February. I think the impact of Apple TV in the UK will be muted for as long as we don’t have any TV or film content on the UK version of the iTunes store.
The iPhone however is a different story whatsoever. Whilst it is easy to dismiss Jobs’ claims that it is generations ahead of anything else out there, it does look like an amazing piece of kit. The animations available on the Apple web site promise a pretty amazing UI and interaction mechanism with fingertip control of a device which is both the first truly widescreen iPod to do video content justice, and a pretty amazing looking phone and internet device. Of course, the proof will come when it gets into the hands of reviewers and those lucky enough to pick one up in the US. In the UK we have to wait until Q4, and there are no details as yet about which networks or networks Apple will partner with. What’s more worrying as well is the lack of 3G capability meaning we will either be stuck with GPRS, or limited to networks with EDGE capability (currently only Orange in the UK and from a quick Google I don’t think they actually offer it as a service apart from select Blackberry products.) In any case, EDGE is slower than 3G and the iPhone device obviously cannot handle video calling due to the lack of a camera on the front of the device.
What’s for certain though is that Apple are going to make a very big splash in the mobile phone market with this device. Hopefully it will be a big kick up the backside to other phone manufacturers to get them to concentrate more on their interface, interaction and ease of use.