What Will The Apple TV 3 Bring?

Dave Zatz —  February 29, 2012

We’re generally not ones to speculate, yet given weeks without inventory it seems highly likely a new Apple TV is nearly upon us. Perhaps as soon as the March 7th iPad event. And adding fuel to the fire is a recent report that includes a new hardware model number. While we may end up with a slightly beefier Apple TV 2S or perhaps a dramatically enhanced Apple TV 3, and even if Steve Jobs did crack the code, I don’t think we’re quite ready for a full-on Apple HDTV. So place your wagers below – what sorts of goodies will the new Apple TV include?

40 responses to What Will The Apple TV 3 Bring?

  1. “I don’t think we’re quite ready for a full-on Apple HDTV.”

    On the off-chance you’re wrong about that, or in case it gets released in the relatively near-future, I’ll answer that query.

    “What Will The Apple HDTV Bring?”

    Very high profit margins.

  2. I can’t vote in your poll, since polldaddy requires JavaScript, but the obvious choices seems to me to be “Blu-Ray Drive”, “CableCARD Slot”, and “Nest Thermostat”. Also, it’ll have a stylus. Now that Steve-o is gone, why not run the company as a comedy routine for fun?

  3. Dang, I forgot to include a link to Harry McCracken at Technologizer. He’s always running polls like these and was my inspiration.

    Chucky, ha I should have included CableCARD in the survey. Blu-ray and DVR are there, though.

  4. And the correct answer is 1080 video, while they continue getting the HDTV ready…

    But seriously, once they release the HDTV, can’t you imagine Apple making more money in the TV set space than anyone else? I wouldn’t think they’ll do this without an iPhone-style profit margin. And if you can get away with charging twice as much as Samsung for a flat screen, I don’t think you have to sell very many to grab a lion’s share of the market’s profits.

  5. I like it that you put slingbox as an option. Very funny.

  6. I wonder what happens to the standalone box when the HDTV is released. Either it’s EOL’d, or it survives in current form, denuded of new features, no? Can’t sell high margin flat-panels if a $99 box does the trick too…

  7. Honestly, half of those items listed are fulfilled by an open app-store. HBO, ESPN, NetFlix — all are already iOS apps so I don’t count them as seperate if the app store is there. I don’t see them adding BluRay as it would drive sales from iTunes sales (as nice as it would be)

  8. And of course, the current Apple TV 2 already has Netflix, so it would only be a shock if the next version doesn’t have it.

  9. Itay, well placeshifting of some sort – I used “Slingbox” for context. :)

    Michael, they haven’t offered an open app store to this point and I wanted HBO and ESPN as options as those are two high profile premium streaming apps currently missing. Of course, they could probably be added at any time irrespective of new hardware.

    Andrew, Michael, by “Subscription video streaming service like Netflix… or cable” I’m proposing the possibility of Apple’s own video subscription service. I’ll tweak the poll to be more clear.

    Chucky, I’d say the only sure bet is an updated processor and 1080p support.

  10. “Michael, they haven’t offered an open app store to this point”

    Maybe that’ll be the point of differentiation.

    The Apple HDTV will have an app store. And the standalone $99 box will just have the current feature set of Apple services.

    “I’m proposing the possibility of Apple’s own video subscription service. I’ll tweak the poll to be more clear.”

    That’d be the biggie. I still don’t see the economics in it for anyone else but Apple, though.

    (Though I suppose they could do something small potatoes like Netflix or Prime, but I don’t think that’s Apple’s style.)

  11. That’d be the biggie. I still don’t see the economics in it for anyone else but Apple, though.

    Well… Google’s rolling out some sort of cable TV network. Then again, that includes the pipe.

  12. A voice controlled hobby horse.

  13. “Well… Google’s rolling out some sort of cable TV network. Then again, that includes the pipe.”

    Apple is not going to become an ISP. Apple is not going to become a pro-am content company. That’s what Google’s been up to.

    They’d have to convince established content companies to break sensible ties with MSO’s and accept 30% haircuts on profits. That’s on the outside realm of possibility, IMHO, for a pay channel company like HBO were HBO inpedendent, but HBO is part of a conglomerate with lots of non-pay channels that need MSO’s.

    Unless the content companies go loony, all Apple can do is what they are doing, resell a-ala-carte programming.

  14. If I were making the Apple HDTV:

    – App Store
    – Whispernet w iOS devices
    – Siri control via latest iPhone or iPad.

  15. @ Chucky

    Sooo…with Sony losing $1B on their TVs, and Samsung exiting the LCD panel business altogether, why do pundits keep saying that somehow Apple will change things?

    Apple enters markets that are have at least double-digit growth mapped out for the future, and the TV business is a clear money-loser these days. So, I still maintain no TV.

    At least until the whole market implodes :D Then maybe they pick the meat off the bones. I think they stay in the alt-STB market for a while.

  16. Well, I’m less convinced that Apple won’t build an HDTV than I used to be (I still think a DVR resold by Comcast or DirecTV is far more likely than that, and I’m not sure that’s even all that likely). However, for the March 7th iPad 2S/3/4G announcement I’d say the only obvious bet is 1080p support.

    Actually looking at the poll results I don’t see anything really stupid like Blu-Ray (which Apple hasn’t yet shipped on ANYTHING despite their membership, and hey, they’re dropping DVD drives left and right) getting a lot of votes, so I think your readers are mostly pretty smart.

    Its possible they won’t even announce the new Apple TV at the event, just update it on the store sometime soon. Suspect that at the announcement they’ll make a big deal out of 1080p content in the iTunes store for that new retina display though (even if you probably won’t be able to tell the difference) so an updated Apple TV with an A5X/A6 with an improved GPU and support for 1080p content just might get a mention.

    Honestly I wouldn’t have thought it had a chance of being discussed but the shortages everywhere leave them with little alternative. And hey, Mountain Lion has AirPlay mirroring for laptops and you just can’t do screen sharing at 720p…

  17. I had realized that the current AppleTV doesn’t have apps, but was figuring that the new one would so that Netflix, HBO, etc were a given with the new app store…

  18. My votes are for an open app store and 1080p support although neither is compelling as some top tier content or a blu-ray drive. Unfortunately, I doubt if there is any new content (significant) coming soon and I would almost be willing to bet there is no chance of blu-ray support.

    I would love to be wrong. Adding one or two significant video apps (e.g. Hulu Plus, HBO GO, or ESPN) and a blu-ray drive would make the device interesting again.

    I’m prepared to be underwhelmed.

  19. By the way Dave, I *love* WordFoto…

  20. Count me in on word goto as well – you cost me
    Money zatz!

  21. “Sooo…with Sony losing $1B on their TVs, and Samsung exiting the LCD panel business altogether, why do pundits keep saying that somehow Apple will change things?”

    Because they’ll price the thing at a huge margin above the cost of the flat panels.

  22. 1080p and hopefully a faster buffer on things like youtube, etc would be a good start.

    I’m thinking sports could be the topic not being discussed too much. Apple/Disney tied up nicely so I’m betting ESPN3 is added seeing as Xbox has it.

    Also, wasn’t there a rumor about Apple trying to obtain soccer rights or something?

    If you are part of the apple ecosystem the Apple TV is a great buy.

  23. My dream request for ATV3? Let it come pre-installed with XBMC. I recently installed it I now find that the Apple TV is best device for playing everything. Except for 1080p files, it is like I wish my WDTVlive could have been.

  24. I’m confident 1080p will show up, I hope an app store would show up, but I won’t hold my breath.

    I would love a DVR… but it’s probably likely I’d get crowned King of England before that would happen.

  25. I want an HDMI pass-through that melds my existing signal into the Apple TV box (like Google TV) so that I can integrate it all in without switching inputs on my TV. I know for some people this isn’t a big deal. But it is when you live in a house with someone who is less enamored of the gadgets you buy and complains when they can’t get the TV to just work. Also, too many TVs have really annoying input switching that requires you to cycle through even the empty inputs to get to the one you want. I don’t need Apple TV to do DVR (unless it also has a Cable Card). But simple integration to my other equipment without requiring me to buy an entirely new TV is essential. I can’t really justify another screen.

  26. “I want an HDMI pass-through that melds my existing signal into the Apple TV box”

    So you want the final result to look like 200 Motels?

    Trippy, but I’m not sure it’ll sell. Consumers tend to be pretty literal minded.

  27. HDMI pass-thru is a great idea… I guess more boxes don’t offer it because it’s probably processor intensive in some way and is hard to explain to consumers?

  28. The real feature of the Apple TV is that it’ll refuse to playback any content that mentions the word “Amazon”, or even shows videography of Brazil.

  29. How about just HDMI-CEC support so that when I start to AirPlay something my TV automatically switches inputs to show it?

  30. “How about just HDMI-CEC support so that when I start to AirPlay something my TV automatically switches inputs to show it?”

    I really think the standalone box will just be a 1080 upgrade and nothing else.

    But my guess is that the HDTV will automatically switch to the “internal input” whenever an iOS device tells it to. Apple won’t play with any kind of standards like HDMI-CEC, since they want lock-in, not standards.

  31. Scenario 1: 1080p Maybe a dedicated AppStore and maybe include local storage. Big emphasis on AirPlay mirroring. 90%

    Scenario 2: Full fledged appleTV with an eol for the atv. 10%

    The “see” in the latest announcement seems to make this inevitable unless they are simply talking about retina. Still, the ducks are aligning.

  32. So, I thought it would be 1080p, that’s a given. I also think what we really MIGHT get is something more like a new apple airport express with all the apple tv functionality in it, with 802.11n possibly ethernet and then ALSO an HDMI out.. Just think how cool that would be and the market for it..

    I think we’ll get some form of HTML5 browser functionality which will push the web video content delivery and make it easier to drive pricing/access negotiations with the content providors like FOX/ABC/CBC/NBC, etc..

  33. “I think we’ll get some form of HTML5 browser functionality which will push the web video content delivery and make it easier to drive pricing/access negotiations with the content providors like FOX/ABC/CBC/NBC, etc..”

    This one, I’ll canonically say is incorrect.

    Dead Steve-o is the largest owner of ABC, and is best buddies with the owner of FOX.

    Even the high margin HDTV won’t do that, let alone a $100 hobby box.

  34. I’m happy with 1080p, a new remote and a App Store but I will have my credit card ready regardless.

  35. OK. In case the release is today, (which may be wrong), I’ll make my final prediction. It’s just 1080, and nothing else significant, though maybe some minor add-on. But no app store. No Siri. Nothing juicy.

    (It would gobsmack me if they made the $99 box attractive enough to cannibalize what they have planned for the HDTV. If the HDTV isn’t in the pipeline, then I retract all my predictions, but I do think the HDTV is in the pipeline.)

  36. Wouldn’t it be funny if the Apple TV isn’t mentioned at the presentation today, and a slightly refreshed model just shows up on store shelves? Wouldn’t surprise me, actually…

  37. “Wouldn’t surprise me, actually…”

    Wouldn’t surprise me either.

  38. Yup. 1080 and minor tweaks. No app store or Siri.

  39. iPad 3 does make espresso, but uses proprietary pods that cost twice as much as Nespresso pods.