Those that dared to order their Apple TVs are reaping rewards tonight as many of them received their's in the mail today. Some had speculated that Apple TVs, announced on September 1st, might not arrive until early October on word that Apple was refunding pre-orders that had paid for expedited shipping. While the release may have been a little later than Apple had anticipated, it was still in the Month of September which is exactly what they promised. Here in the hallowed halls of TheAppleProf's home we have an Apple TV, but it's the first generation device. It's a great device, but it's hard not to agree when critics call it limited and slow. Both are very appropriate descriptions. While the interface sported in the new Apple TV is nearly identical to that of the previous model, the new Apple TV allows for instant streaming of TV shows and more importantly access to instant streaming of NetFlix.
For some, like myself, NetFlix is a great addition but one that may not be necessary to have in the Apple TV. In my home we have both a PS3 and a WII, both of which are capable of playing NetFlix movies and TV shows. Only the PS3 can do so in HD, but never-the-less having that capability in the Apple TV isn't a huge selling point for me. [ad#468x60 Banner]
That isn't to say I won't want one in my stocking this Christmas. Have you seen the photos? An AppleTV will actually fit in a standard size Stocking with room for a little coal - you know you were a little naughty this year. Why would I want one? Well, the integration with the iPhone, iPad and iTunes is just way too hard to pass up. Airplay looks to allow you to stream just about anything that you can play on your iOS device on the Apple TV. No one is quite sure yet if all video content will be available, but definitely anything you can play in the Video app on the iPad or iPhone.
While you may have the urge to run out and buy one tomorrow, there are a few things you should know. First, they will probably be sold out. Second, there is no hard drive. Third, only two networks are playing friendly with Apple right now on streaming shows (ABC & Fox). The other two networks are either watching which way the wind blows or just not interested at all. Some of the studios have chimed in as well, mostly saying things that won't make Apple all too happy. Fourth, if you don't have a modern TV with HDMI - don't bother getting the Apple TV. finally, the price is only $99. If you own an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch then you may really want to think about getting a new Apple TV. If you don't own an iOS device, there is no reason why you shouldn't get an Apple TV, but it won't be as killer cool!
Do I sound like I have mixed feelings about the new Apple TV? Well I do. I think it's a really interesting device and if it is opened up to other services like NetFlix and the other networks and studios provide streaming content at a reasonable price, then Apple may have a killer device for Christmas 2011. For Christmas 2010, this is a device for the Apple faithful. It's still a hobby for Apple - but the hobby is making great progress.