Monday, April 16, 2012

iTV: will it change the way we collaborate?

iTV: will it change the way we collaborate?
Photo credit: jakerome
There had been several rumors about Apple making a TV.  Will this be another game changer, like the iPhone and iPad?  Will Apple be able to leverage TV's unique form factor to create a new paradigm for collaboration?

Already there has been talk that the iTV (or likely iPanel) will have advanced features unseen in conventional TVs, like voice recognition, front facing cameras and gesture recognitions[1].  Likely iTV will be released late 2012 or early 2013.

But most importantly, can Apple crack the challenges of TV's form factor?  In the case of smartphones and tablets, companies prior to Apple failed because they did not adequately address key differences resulted by form factors.  For example, a touch interface makes more sense for phones, and consequently buttons need to be a lot bigger.  Microsoft tried to port an interface designed for keyboard and mouse over to the phone, and that resulted (at least partially) in its failure.

So what new issues do the unique form factor of TV bring?
  • Input interface: touch interface and keyboards will not work, as people are further away from the screen and often doing other tasks (e.g. cooking)
  • Possibilities of collaboration: there is often more than one person using the screen, is it desirable to allow more than one person to control the TV?  How can the new TV be used to facilitate collaboration?
  • Handling private information: information displayed on TV is a lot more public than that for phones, tablets and computers.  What will that mean for tasks like entering passwords?
Apple shares will very likely jump if it can address these issues well!  And this is big as it is the first device targeted for use by more than one person at a time!  I think about all the collaboration at work and lines of businesses wanting something like that...


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