updated 09:15 pm EST, Fri February 3, 2012
Movie, TV suggestions added in silent upgrade
Apple has quietly added its "Genius" suggestion technology to Apple TVs, offering recommendations on other shows viewers might enjoy based on their past rentals or purchases. The option is selected via a new menu item that can be chosen by users. The new feature was added to most connected current-generation Apple TV units silently overnight, and mirrors a similar feature that has been a part of the iTunes application for years.
The Apple TV product, while still referred to as a "hobby" by CEO Tim Cook, has become one of the most successful products in the still-niche space of set-top media boxes for HDTVs. The company sold a record 4.2 million of them in 2011, with last-quarter sales equalling half of all sales in the previous nine months, perhaps indicating that the product is finally gaining some measure of mainstream momentum.
In a private meeting with Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner in which the subject came up, Cook is said to have hinted that Apple TV -- or even an Apple-branded television set that presumably includes the unit's functionality along with next-generation software -- will continue to be a niche product until it could scale across cable providers and regions. The comment may give a clue as to where Cook hopes to guide the project, which has high appreciation and loyalty in buyers but represents a tiny fraction of Apple's overall business. The comment could also suggest that any large-scale changes to Apple TV could take a long time to translate into higher sales, just as the iPod and iPhone did before it.
Hackers have recently given another clue as to potential future expansion for Apple TV by demonstrating that it includes the limited ability to run full iOS apps. Either a revamped set-top box or an HDTV unit that incorporated the ability to run some iOS apps at full HDTV resolution and included 1080p movie rental and other iTunes content, Siri voice command other known or future iOS technologies could prove a compelling consumer product that would have no immediate equal in the market. [via AppleInsider]