By Dan Moren
September 30, 2017 5:44 PM PT
The Back Page: An Apple television
It’s time for Apple to make a television.
No! Wait! Don’t run! I understand: you’ve heard this argument before. You’ve heard Gene Munster’s quickened breathing on the other end of the quarterly conference call, the drip drip drip as he salivates over his speakerphone for some news, any news of an Apple-branded TV set. But hear me out.
I get it: televisions are boring. They’re big, black, oblong slabs with thin bezels and not enough ports that seem to be obsolete as soon as you unbox them.
See? They’re perfect for Apple.
Now, sure, the company could just phone it in—no pun intended—and jam an Apple TV 4K’s insides into a new 4K HDR panel from Samsung or LG, but that’s hardly the level of commitment we’ve come to expect from Cupertino.
I have no doubt that Jony Ive considers a TV set an eyesore. I would be surprised if he even has one, but I’m sure Eddy Cue gave him one so that he’d have a place to watch the Warriors game when he comes over for poker night. Still, that big expanse of featureless black screen surely offends him with its mere presence. So the first order of business is to make a TV set that people want to put in their living rooms. I’m thinking turn the whole thing transparent when it’s off, and use it to instead display a piece of artwork, as a frame. Rothko, preferably, if Jony has his way, but really, any modern abstract expressionist will do.
Now, of course, any TV that Apple sells is going to have to be smart. And that’s not just about the hardware side. Machine learning and artificial intelligence means that this TV has to know what you want to watch before you even know what you want to watch. Because if you’re in the mood to watch a classic from Michelangelo Antonini’s repertoire and you get a documentary on the production and use of gastronomic cooking in the Mediterranean, well, that is just not going to fly. So, using a combination of the heart rate from your Apple Watch, the attention given to your iPhone X, and the last time you spoke to Siri, the new Apple TV can show you not just the video content that you want, but the video content that you need, which is pretty much always a Terrence Malick film, whether you like it or not.
So, it looks good and it’s smart. That’s two thirds of the Apple trifecta. Let’s bring it home. Yes, there’s going to be an impressively high quality display. Yes, it will offer the latest in 4K and HDR technology. There will even be built-in speakers that will blow you away with their fidelity and quality—in fact, you’ll be so pleased with this speakers, that you will destroy all your other speakers in a tearful rage simply because you will simply not be able to stand listening to audio on anything less ever again.
But, of course, that just leaves one question: how much will this amazing piece of technology cost you? Similar TVs on the market—and surely describing any other TV as similar would be a pitiful approximation at best—would probably go for $800 or $900, at least. Combine that with an amazing sound system, and maybe you’re up to $1500. But, the Apple Television incorporates all this, Siri-based machine learning, and a beautiful showcase for your favorite work of modern art. So it’s a steal that Apple will be offering it for just…
…well, how much you got?
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at email@example.com. The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]