If you want to understand why old people don’t enjoy technological innovation as much as the rest of us do, then consider the Television. TV used to be a happy little friend, a charming robo-governess providing entertainment for the whole family. Using it was simple: You turned it on; you flicked through a few channels; sometimes you had to adjust the antenna. Now, using an average TV entertainment system involves at least four remote controls: One remote for turning the TV on, one remote for adjusting the channel, one remote for trying (and failing) to make the Surround Sound system sound as good as it did at the store, and one more for hitting yourself in the forehead until you fall into a deep coma and dream of a world without television.
Steve Jobs felt your pain. As EW reported, buried on page 555 of Walter Isaacson’s massive new biography of the iconic Apple CEO, Jobs describes his next great personal goal: The streamlined reinvention of the TV set. “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,” he explains. “It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simple user interface you could imagine.” The great CEO concludes: “I finally cracked it.”
Alas, Jobs died before he could reach that goal. Does this mean that Apple’s fully-integrated TV set will also die with him — another unfinished project from a great master, like Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon or F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon? Maybe not. An LA Times piece notes Apple has been laying the groundwork for a dive into the TV market for years now. Analyst Shaw Wu even prognosticates that Apple might try to “unbundle” the system of subscription TV services — creating a new system where you could pay for individual channels, instead of a one-size-fits-all order.
Apple has already successfully reinvented the personal computer, the music player, and the phone: Would you like to see the company tackle the Television? What would you want to see in an Apple-produced TV? Could they skip a remote entirely and utilize the combination of Siri-style voice recognition and Kinect-style motion capture to create a fully interactive control experience? Would it basically just look like Minority Report? What’s your dream vision for how to fix the multi-remote Television problem?
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