We might live in the land of Android ’round these parts, but we still do have our eyes and ears on the competition. With that, our interests were immediately piqued when we heard Apple could be bringing a new Apple TV at their upcoming product announcement event (alongside new iPhone models, as well as a possible refresh for the iPad line).
According to iSource, BYD Precision Manufacture — a new supplier for Apple — has reportedly sent three shipments to Cupertino, all of which have been described as “set-top boxes.” While that alone isn’t enough to make us draw any solid conclusion, this would seem to suggest Apple is getting ready to refresh their Apple TV line (something we haven’t seen happen for quite some time).
With that, there isn’t much known about the devices, but this does pose interesting questions should Apple decide to drop a new device in a few short days. For one, where is Google?
Chromecast is cool, but what about Google TV?
One thing we know to be true is that Google definitely is still thinking about TV. The problem, though, is that they no longer appear to be thinking about TV the way they were when the Google TV platform was first unveiled. The company recently launched the Chromecast, an HDMI dongle that could receive content from your mobile devices and PCs over WiFi (read our Chromecast review here).
The problem with Chromecast is that the experience is rather gimped at the moment. Google has only enabled a few of their apps with Chromecast support, and have provided minimal support for PCs with the ability to cast a Chrome tab to your TV. That said, Google seems to be purposely circumventing any attempt to let this device spread its wings and become a full-on media machine.
Google’s motives for their current wall-gardened approach still aren’t clear (one theory is that they want to get their content providers situated first), though members of the team have assured everyone that they won’t be keeping the cuffs on for long. We can’t say whether or not their promise will eventually hold up, but you can be sure we’ll be holding them to it.
With that, we still have to ask — what about Google TV? If Google is going to limit what we’re able to do with Chromecast, why aren’t they doing more to make Google TV the viable platform it was once promised to be? There’s no secret the whole thing appears to be on life support right now, with set-top boxes launching only sparingly, and with Google doing absolutely nothing to promote it.
We’ve got the Nexus program for phones and tablets. We’ve got the ChromeBook Pixel to promote ChromeOS. Where’s the super awesome Google-made set-top box for Google TV that will get people excited for this platform again? Where are the updates to add killer features that will make Google TV the must-have product in an already-crowded living room?
Can Apple light a fire beneath Google?
Competition usually breeds innovation, excellence, and other great things consumers benefit from. While Apple has been a bit lackadaisical on the TV side of things, it doesn’t appear they’ll be sitting idle for too long.
If Apple truly is bringing a new TV box to their event this upcoming Monday, we’ll blasphemously wish them the best, because it might be the only thing that will get Google to take TV seriously again. We don’t want to see Google TV die, and Chromecast in its current form definitely isn’t the answer to any of the problems Google’s currently facing.
For now, the only thing we can do is keep our fingers crossed that we’re surprised with good news at an event in the near future, kind of like how Google surprisingly brought more than just the Nexus 7 to their last device unveiling.
You can bet we’ll be keeping our eyes on Silicone Valley this upcoming Tuesday, September 10th (exhaustive coverage of which can be found over at iSource.com). Anyone else hoping Apple will do something to make Google wake the slumbering beast that is Google TV?