Over the last 10 years, Apple has done a rather amazing job of disrupting quite a few industries. By my account, it has dramatically impacted the PC, tablet, consumer electronics, telecom, music and TV industries in a big way. And I believe that Apple is on the cusp of disrupting at least four more major industries in the next three to five years.
The first industry I believe Apple will shake up is the TV industry. Just about every major PC and consumer electronics company is trying to break into interactive TV (or “ITV” as it is called) and be the first to own this market. To date, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Sony and even Apple have tried desperately to create the next big thing in TVs and, perhaps more importantly, find a way to integrate the internet and internet video channels into their new visions for the TV.
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In Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, Steve tells Isaacson that he has “cracked the code” for ITV and, of course, everyone is wondering what this means. The most logical answer is that Apple will apply Siri voice comprehension technology to the TV user interface and then tie it to the iCloud service, marrying all of your digital content together for viewing on multiple screens–with the TV being the one focused on entertainment. Whether it will be delivered in an Apple TV-like box outside the TV or an actual TV itself is still a big question, but Apple’s attempt at creating a new approach to the TV interface and linking it to unified personal content, if done right, could be revolutionary.
Imagine being able to just tell your TV, “Find Big Bang Theory,” and it goes right to all available versions on broadcast, cable, your digital video recorder or online. Or ask it about a football player you just saw make a touchdown, and on the bottom of the screen it shows you his stats. Or if you want to find out about Yosemite, just ask Siri and it will find all related video and web content available and give you exact answers to your query on the TV. But perhaps its greatest feat will most likely be to instantly decipher the plethora of web-based video content that is online, and neatly show what is available for a given topic right on your TV screen.
For example, let’s say you want to see something about how to roast a turkey. Siri could search its database and find out all of the best shows on TV, your DVR or the web and then post them on your screen for you to pick. And I mean any database, including things you’ve bookmarked about roasting turkeys on any of your Macs or Apple devices that are connected via iCloud. Those results could be added to the list of available shows to watch on that topic.
This could be the most disruptive thing in the television industry to happen since the introduction of color, eventually burying the remote control by putting the entire TV industry on a course to use voice as the new remote instead. It will find ways to marry broadcast, cable, satellite, DVR and internet content into manageable channels that bring all of it together in the cloud and display it via voice command on the TV screens throughout the home. And it looks like Apple could be the company to take the TV industry into this new century.
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