Yesterday evening we heard about Engadget’s second iTV scoop this summer detailing the features we can and shouldn’t expect when the device is expected to be announced later this year. Besides a new (or old) name, Apple seems to think apps are the future, even for television. If the device is as similar to the iPhone hardware as Engadget hears, we’re likely to see iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad controlled games but more interestingly to me is the possibility of apps as television channels.
A while back I wrote of the possibility that Apple could offer an a la carte menu of television channels, circumventing the cable providers and giving networks more direct contact with their viewers. Although apps were likely assumed to be on board when the new iTV was rumored to run iOS, it struck me that Apple might be hoping television networks will bring their channels to individual apps that load that network’s live TV stream you’d find from your cable provider.
Of course such an app structure would allow each network to individually price their channel as they see fit, helping to eliminate the bickering between the networks and the cable providers. Networks can use Apple’s in app purchases to renew their month subscription, the same way many GPS navigation apps bill their users. If networks jump on board to offer their content to Apple’s iTV through an iOS app, lets hope they add support for the iPad and iPhone so users can stream their content to any device. It might cost a premium but it seems like something many people would gladly pay for.
I think it’s expected at this point for Apple to make the television a compelling application platform for which the possibilities are endless. What do you hope developers do with the new iTV? If you’ve got some great ideas, drop ‘em in the comments! We can dream, right?