So, Mister Jorbs showed off the new Apple TV and iPhone yesterday. Although I followed everything live on Mac Rumors Live, I did not have time then to collect my thoughts, so I’m doing so now.
First off: Apple TV. My personal opinion: yawn. I can see it as a great product for someone who does not already have a media setup, but in my life, it has no place. Back when the Mac Mini running Front Row was the hip new thing, I got one as a little media center. Like the Apple TV, it plugs into the TV and pulls music, podcasts, movies, and videos from iTunes running on another machine. It also plays DVDs and, most importantly, allows QuickTime plugins (as well as other video players) so that various other formats of video can be watched: AVI, DiVX, Xvid… you know, all the formats that non-Apple-purchased downloaded television shows come in. So the Apple TV is pretty much a crippled Mac Mini that only runs iTunes. Apple is smart in that it locks people into purchasing TV shows and movies from them, but unless you want to spend the time converting downloaded content to H.264 or MOV, then you have no other content.
Second: iPhone. I am very intrigued and may just get one because my Treo has seen better days. The interface has to be the most advanced touchscreen around. I may be wrong, but I think this is the first released product with a multitouch screen. I think, at present, they’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible with the thumb-and-forefinger “I’m crushing your head” to zoom things in and out. I would totally want one of these things, except I’m hesitant over a few things…
1. It’s not just a “version 1.0″ product, but one that utilizes several never-before-seen pieces of technology. On the other hand, I do trust Apple. I got one of the original 17” PowerBooks, and although it has been replaced (fairly painlessly and free) once, it’s still been a great machine. Also, this iPhone has been in development for 2-3 years, which I hope is enough to shake out the bugs. Steve has been using it as his phone for some amount of time, and I can’t imagine that his anal-retentiveness would let any obvious design defects slip through.
2. Cingular. I was okay with Cingular in OC, but their network in Portland was pretty crappy when I first came up here. Maybe it got better over time, but I switched to T-Mobile because of it and never looked back. I’d rather stick with T-Mobile, but even if the iPhone was an unlocked GSM device, it sounds like some of the features (e.g. “visual voicemail”) are dependent upon special features of the Cingular GSM network. I’ll go Cingular if I have to, but I’m really interested to see reviewers like Gizmodo get a prerelease one and then decide to see what happens when they stick their non-Cingular SIM chip in.