Following on from the thought of an Apple TV App (instead of a piece of hardware), I thought I would mock-up a very quick idea of how a news-stand type TV app grouping could work.
The whole concept of an “Apple TV app” is that Apple does not care about trying to unify the on-screen TV controls and experience (that is left to the providers). Apple wants to do all the selection and control from the “second screen” device. TV is for watching, the iPad does the selection.
We start with a icon that launches the Apple TV “cabinet” (in the familiar iOS adapted folder style).
This would be a collection of TV apps that, just like News-stand apps, have special powers!
You would have an “instant remote” control (in the folder itself) for quick access to changing channels. The icons could have a system of “one-tap” to bring up remote, “two-taps” to watch the channel (by controlling the wifi box and TV). The channel being watched has a red ring.
You could imagine individual channels having apps that you can add for a fuller experience of “The Discovery Channel” or “Disney” etc. Each app would be intelligently mapped to control a TV and set-top box to switch the channel (perhaps a box appears to ask which box or TV you want, depending on the app?)
Note the search box (with added Siri). This is the route to the magicback-end “Apple TV app”, a unified search and control system that “just works” for all your media. The “Apple TV app” itself would be a very clever mix of genius channels, iTunes streaming and integration with certain cable and satellite services… but that’s for another day!
Next we have more fully featured App like Sky+
You get the “instant remote” for favourites and your recordings, but you can also click the icon in the remote to launch the main app. Remember, we’re looking at a long and messy transition in TV watching, not an instant fix – this app will play nicely with what we are doing now.
When you launch a supported TV app it all looks basically the same
TV providers are free to control their own apps (as they do now) , but I could also see the addition of an Audiobus style background services system for television and media.
Click on the Apple TV icon and you get your main TV services so you switch channels and launch Apps etc. (Apple would be more likely to put this in the double-click multitasking tray, but I like the Audiobus system so much that I had to include it!)
This all has a tremendous amount of rough edges, but I hope you get the idea of where I THINK Apple could go with an App based ecosystem for television.