The Consumer Electronics Show is in full swing. While Apple usually doesn’t have a major presence at the show, it seems to be making headlines anyway. Yesterday, Samsung announced that it will bring iTunes Movies and TV, as well as AirPlay 2 to all of it’s Smart TVs soon.
What does it mean?
This news floored me. I couldn’t believe that Apple would bring its apps to other devices they don’t make. However, I shouldn’t have been surprised since Apple allowed Apple Music on Echo speakers just last month.
After the news of the stock plummet and the lack of iPhone sales, I was very wary of this move by Apple. It didn’t seem like it’s a move they’ve made before and it might be a desperate one.
However, as I get further away from it, the more the move makes sense. Not from a business of selling Apple TVs, or being desperate, but what’s really happening is Apple is prepping for their streaming service.
Apple is trying to give everyone that owns an Apple device the ability to get its soon-to-be-announced streaming TV service access. If the rumors line up with it coming free to those that own a device, this could be the best way to get their new service and iTunes to as many people as possible.
Hints at AirPlay 2’s future
Also mentioned in the Samsung Press release were mentions of the future of AirPlay 2.
Siri and HomeKit
Right now, AirPlay 2 is feature-rich when it comes to music, but it lacks when it comes to video. You can AirPlay music to multiple AirPlay 2 speakers in your home, but not video. Also using AirPlay 2, Siri can start, stop, skip, and more with audio. Currently, only basic controls work using a device other than the Siri remote. You can’t ask your HomePod to play Castle Rock on your Apple TV.
I mentioned in my HomePod article, that I would love to be able to ask HomePod to play a video on my Apple TV. It turns out, that will be added into AirPlay 2 soon.
Once these updates and new TVs start to roll out, you’ll be able to hook them into HomeKit, tell HomeKit which room the TV is in, and ask Siri to play stuff in those rooms. This is probably my favorite piece of news in a while.
I’m not sure how this is going to work with multiple accounts or anything, but I can’t wait to just shout at my HomePod to control the TV now. I know that other companies have had this for a while, but I haven’t really seen it work well. I think Apple can actually nail this.
While the news that iTunes and AirPlay would be making it to these smart TVs, I was perplexed by the fact that the TV app wasn’t mentioned. It seems the TVs are solely adding AirPlay 2 and iTunes Movies and TV shows.
Rumor has it that Apple will be launching the streaming service inside the TV app, so it is weird to me that they didn’t include the ability for these smart TVs to access it. But then, if you also enable AirPlay 2 a user can simply use the TV app on their phone and then AirPlay the content to the television.
This can give Apple a little more leverage in that TV app. Allowing all the video apps to hook into it (minus Netflix) it still gives Apple the control. If people go to the TV app and start to use it, the app will keep track of the shows and put new things in front of the user. This is how they hook users in to the App in the future. It won’t matter that they can’t see TV app.
This could be the most brilliant Trojan horse strategy Apple’s used in a while. Especially once the streaming service launches.
What does this mean for the Apple TV
When I heard the news about all this, I worried about what this meant for the future of the Apple TV.
I’ve owned every version of the Apple TV besides the 4K version. It’s been a device I use every day. Does this news mean that it’s about to die?
I doubt it. The platform doesn’t get too many updates and upgrades as it is. Plus there will be people that haven’t upgraded their TVs in a few years and aren’t planning on it for a while – like me- that will still need an Apple TV to get things on to the TV.
If anything, I think this means that the Apple TV will become more capable. Once Apple upgrades AirPlay 2 to allow me to ask my HomePod to play something on my Apple TV, I will be a happy boy.
This news did excite me in a way that higher resolutions and better colors haven’t excited me since the television went High Def. If I ever get a surplus of money and want to update my TV, this will be something I will definitely look for in a set.
It’s early in the year, and we are already getting some pretty interesting news coming from Apple. I can’t wait to see what other things they bring to the table this year.