Apple issued invitations for its Oct. 16 event on Wednesday. The tagline: “It’s been way too long.”
It’s a funny line since Apple just had an event last month for the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch.
While tongue-in-cheek, it’s also likely a reference to a product that hasn’t been updated a while.
The iPad was just updated a year ago, the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro were both updated last year. So, it hasn’t been too long for those products, either. The iMac got a refresh in 2013, so that’s in good shape.
There’s only three products that haven’t seen an update in a while — the Mac Mini, the MacBook Air, and the Apple TV.
The Mac Mini is a snooze, so we’re not going to waste time talking about it.
The MacBook Air is due for an upgrade. Lots of people think Apple is going to give it a new design and a sharper, “Retina” display. This would be pretty exciting.
But… the thing that people really, really want is some sort of Apple TV change.
It Apple tweaks the Apple TV it would be for the first time, really, since 2010. (There were two refreshes in 2012 and 2013, but they were extremely minor specs bumps that didn’t get their own announcements.)
Four years is definitely “too long” for any Apple product to go untouched. Frankly, both the hardware and software have barely changed since the very first model in 2007. And by the looks of it, Apple has some big plans for the television.
Apple was expected to release a new Apple TV earlier this year, but something went wrong, and it didn’t announce anything.
In an interview with Charlie Rose last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook got a bit fired up talking about the state of the television. “TV is one of those things that is stuck back in the 70s,” he said. “Think about all the things that have changed… and TV almost feels like you’re rewinding the clock, and the interface is terrible. It’s awful.”
It was interesting to watch Cook address the TV with such passion, and then quickly withdraw once Rose asked why Apple’s not fixing that problem; at that point, he offered his boilerplate response to most press questions: “It’s an area we continue to look at.”
But Cook’s initial reaction suggests Apple has bigger plans for Apple TV than just another minor refresh. A number of patents have been surfacing lately that show Apple is doing something big in the TV market.
We haven’t heard any reports that Apple will update the Apple TV next week, so we’re not really expecting much.
But, it’s been “way too long” that Apple has been exploring the TV market. It might be time to show something new.