The new Apple TV is starting to ship, so we thought we’d revisit something Steve Jobs said when he introduced it earlier this month.
Specifically, Jobs said that people “don’t want a computer on their TV,” likely referring to the fact that the new Apple TV does not have an App Store, games, or web browser, as many expected it would.
Jobs continued, “They go to their wide-screen TVs for entertainment. Not to have another computer. This is a hard one for people in the computer industry to understand, but it’s really easy for consumers to understand.”
Yet as Jobs stalls with an app-free Apple TV, the rest of the industry seems to be moving in a direction to make TVs much smarter and more connected than they were before. See Google TV, Yahoo’s TV widgets program, FiOS widgets, etc. These turn TVs into simple, living room entertainment computers.
And here’s a stat that suggests consumers are actually using these features.
Pandora, the streaming radio company, has been available on TVs since Q1 and connected Blu-ray players since 2008. And those users who connect to Pandora through their TVs listen to Pandora an average 2.8 hours over the course of a day, the company tells us. That’s comparable to the average amount of listening per user on the web and mobile devices, Pandora tells us.
To be sure, perhaps these are early adopter-types, and the normal consumer adoption curve will be much lower.
But it seems that the people who already have connected TVs and Blu-ray players actually use them for more things than just watching TV. So this strikes us as yet another situation where Steve Jobs is being coy at first, only to later do the exact opposite thing than he suggested he would. (Remember when the iPhone launched without apps? Or when Jobs made fun of e-books, only to launch the iBooks store?)
We still fully expect an Apple TV-like device with more apps, games, FaceTime, and more features, sometime in the next year or two.
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