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Did Xbox One just make the long-rumored Apple TV set irrelevant?

Did Xbox One just make the lon...
The Xbox One just did much of what we long expected an Apple TV set to do
The Xbox One just did much of what we long expected an Apple TV set to do
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The Xbox One offers seamless integration between a variety of entertainment services
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The Xbox One offers seamless integration between a variety of entertainment services
The Xbox One just did much of what we long expected an Apple TV set to do
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The Xbox One just did much of what we long expected an Apple TV set to do

Remember when the rumor mill’s favorite hobby was obsessing about an Apple TV set? It seemed like every week, some publication or other was reporting on the mythical device. Many assumed it would be the company’s next big revolution: iPod, iPhone, iPad ... iTV. Well, don’t look now, but Microsoft just unveiled a device that does most of what we expected the iTV to do, in the form of the Xbox One.

At its heart, the Xbox One is still a tried-and-true gaming console. But, as Microsoft made clear in its presentation, it’s also the company’s big push to own the living room. Hence the “One” branding: one device to rule your home's center of entertainment.

Isn’t that what many of us expected the Apple TV set to be? Think about the iTV’s supposed feature set:

  • Natural language voice control? Xbox One has that.
  • Natural gesture control? One has that too, with Kinect much improved over the Xbox 360’s version.
  • Seamless integration between live TV, streaming services, and gaming? Yep.

The Xbox One even has seamless side-by-side multitasking, so you can Skype with a buddy while watching Star Trek or tearing through rounds of ammo in Call of Duty.

Truth and fiction

Of course you have to take this comparison with grains of salt. Apple has undoubtedly worked on a TV set, but we’re mostly talking about a fictional product. This mythical beast was birthed by speculation and rumors, sprinkled with a few tiny tidbits of real information from Apple (like Steve Jobs’ hints about it in Walter Isaacson’s biography).We're also going off of the Xbox One's advertised features, and Microsoft's keynote demonstration. Until we get our hands on the thing, it would probably be wise to add a few more grains of salt when throwing around words like revolution.

... but just looking at it from the frame of our expectations surrounding the TV set? The way that it could change our lives? Microsoft just checked quite a few of those boxes.

Half a revolution

The Xbox One offers seamless integration between a variety of entertainment services
The Xbox One offers seamless integration between a variety of entertainment services

There is, however, one big exception ... and it might be the very reason that Apple hasn’t yet bothered releasing a TV set. I’m talking about disrupting the way you pay for TV. Apple would surely love to help you save money by dropping annoying bundles and offering a la carte TV channels. But all signs point to Hollywood not playing ball on that one (big surprise).

The new Xbox doesn’t do anything to change the way we get our content either. That revolution – if it ever comes – will have to wait.

Of course there's also the actual TV set part. The Xbox One – like all game consoles and set-top boxes – hooks up to your existing TV. The rumored iTV was presumed to be a stand-alone set, complete with cutting-edge display and slick Apple-esque design.

But as far as a step forward in TV interaction and integration, the Xbox One is looking pretty good. If Apple ever does ship a TV set, it will be interesting to see how the company tries to differentiate it, with the Xbox One by then already sitting on store shelves.

18 comments
sunfly
No. Two problems with the Xbox, first the interface is horribly difficult to use, and second who wants to pay $50 a year on top of Netflix just to access the their app? Currently we own an Xbox with Connect, AppleTV, and Roku 3. AppleTV has the best remote and interface, Roku 3 the best content and search outside the Apple store, and Xbox does an OK job at playing games.
Joe F
NO, to answer your question. The new Xbox doesn't do the most important thing that iTV was/is supposed to do and it's an expensive gaming system not a TV solution.
Daishi
A lot of devices are getting better at streaming Netflix/Amazon/Hulu etc. If anything a full console is less necessary to stream Netflix than ever. I assume if it has a real tuner built in it supports DVR? That is really the only thing I can think of that nobody else is doing well. Currently nobody seems to have a device on the market that does both IP and DVR well. As for UI I think a touch screen/tablet remote is probably better than waving your arms around or trying to get Kinect to understand you. There is nothing wrong with having Kinect support it but I don't think it would work well as a primary interface. Using the game controller itself for the remote is also pretty annoying. Maybe they sell a touch screen remote with the tuner as a package deal? Who knows. I know a couple people with Wii U that said they love it as a netflix streamer because of the touch screen and that seems like the best solution to remotes that are starting to look like cockpits of a 747. I would be surprised if the Apple TV remote wasn't a touch screen device. I also think there is potentially still a market for an Apple TV because their core customer base tends to fall almost completely outside of the "gamer" crowd anyway. Apple seems to actively discourage "gamer" types by doing things like shipping "new" $2500 Power Macs with a 5 year old (also discontinued) GPU. I am not saying they are wrong though, their strategy of shunning that crowd seems pretty successful for them.
Seth Kazzim
All of you are wrong. Why have a Xbox One and a Apple TV? You can't play hardcore AAA games on a Apple TV. It will not be called iTV, that is taken by a UK company.
Seiffeddeen Keilani
Samsung Smart TV anyone? http://www.samsung.com/us/2013-smart-tv/
Steve Dahlheimer
Xbox Glass allows you to use any touch device to control your Xbox if can't handle using your arms to control the interface.
LordInsidious
Unless there is something completely revolutionary with the apple TV or you have absolutely no desire to game, it doesn't seem like there is a need for both. It looks like everything iTV would do Xbox will too except be integrated into one device....
Daishi
@LordInsidious >Unless there is something completely revolutionary with the apple TV or you have absolutely no desire to game What about if you don't want to pay for Xbox live gold just to be able to stream Netflix? Besides, there are plenty of people who don't play console games and even people that do but have TVs in multiple rooms.
Jon A.
Apart from the HDMI overlay tech, the XBox One is just playing catchup to where the PS3 has already been for years. PS3 also has a better UI. Also, the PS3 won't make you put batteries into the controller like it's still the 1990's.
Munoz-Nieves Jose
A lot of people would rather talk or use motion to give instructions rather than a mouse, keyboard or even touch. That's why automobile controls are moving in that direction. Pedals, steering wheels rearview mirrors, all of that is fast becoming obsolete. Many of the commentators seem to think that their reality will stop evolution, I am sure the Neanderthals felt the same way and it didn't help them. It may be that some people are incapable of moving forward, doomed to live in dreams of the horse & buggy.