It’s a big deal!
Despite Steve Jobs protestations that the Apple TV is a “hobby” for Apple, I think he’s up to his usual mischief in positioning the Apple TV as truly the DVD player for the online age.
Here’s why I think the YouTube inclusion is such a big deal:
Streaming - This is the first external service that doesn’t require iTunes. It looks like the content will be streamed directly from YouTube. Apple TV handles streaming from iTunes superbly so this should be fine.
What other services can now be developed (or repurposed just like YouTube) that streams direct to your Apple TV?
Accessibility – As a podcaster, the fact that Apple TV elevates my video podcast to the same level of accessibility as Movies and TV shows has been a great boon and if I’m honest, does appeal on a vanity level. The thing is, Apple TV will give the same level of accessibility to anyone with a video camera and a broadband connection. Yes, Podcast creation is easy and built right into iLife but in reality how many people create a podcast to share family movies, etc. Shall we say, not many!
There’s still the barrier of understanding the underlying mechanisms of podcasting.
With the introduction of direct access to YouTube, all you need to do is upload your clip to YouTube and it’s instantly available on any Apple TV.
No RSS feed, no subscription required, it’s just there!
KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) – The Apple TV is renowned for its ease of use using a simple three button remote. It should be simplicity itself to browse online content (see later)
Skinning I don’t really like the web based YouTube interface. It’s garish and a bit dog ugly. Look how Apple have transformed it:
Apple are standardising the interface of a butt ugly web service and overlaying it with the gloss of the Apple TV interface.
User Experience - OK, so you’ve got YouTube on your AppleTV – How do you search for stuff using your Apple remote? I doubt Apple will use scrolling lists (surely that wouldn’t be feasible?) so have they developed a smart way of entering search queries and interacting with a web based service using the Apple remote?
We’ll have to wait and see, but isn’t the iTunes Store also a web based service!
There are some unanswered questions however which could so with some clarifications:
Special Google Sauce – Have Apple had to work closely with Google or more importantly have Google had to change YouTube to enable this functionality? Based on Apples close ties with Google, I would imagine so. No big deal but it would be great for other services not owned by Google to be AppleTV enabled.
HD Content – Most YouTube videos are going to look awful on a 50″ HDTV.
Watching the “Best of YouTube” podcast, I can certainly vouch for that. However, sometimes the content is so good, you can put that to one side. But seriously, both Apple and YouTube need to start putting in place some HD content pretty damm quickly to prevent the Apple detractors from having a field day.
Unannounced Product? – Now that Apple have the tie up with Google and are delivering YouTube content direct to the Apple TV, wouldn’t it be great if Apple could develop a portable device with a built in video screen and wifi so you could stream YouTube while you were on the move. Oh!
OMG – June starts tomorrow!