AppleTV's hobby period is over. The announcement of Google TV has effectively forced Apple to make a decision. Given Tim Cook's insistence that Apple plans to continue supporting AppleTV, there is no other possible response: Apple will have to show their hand in the very near future, possibly as early as next month's WWDC keynote or a dedicated event before or after. Apple can't keep the future of their TV device low key for any longer or they will be obliterated by Google. They might as well close up the shop on AppleTV if they plan on keeping it a hobby. The following is my opinion on an appropriate response that will position AppleTV as the market leader: - AppleTV hardware - Steve Jobs announces upgraded hardware with an A4 chip and no HDD, just enough cheap solid state memory for streaming. No HDD, a simple assembly with few parts and a system on a chip allows Apple to sell AppleTV for $99. > Advantage: Apple - Mac's, iPods, iPhones, iPads haven proven that consumers are willing to pay a premium for sexy kit. If it's as inexpensive as $99, Apple will have a hard time keeping up with demand. Apple controls both the hardware and software. Google does not. - iTunes - leveraging the major lead they have in the market via iTunes, Apple will continue to push the iTunes ecosystem for paid, ad free content. Buy per episode or per season, ditch the cable box (and subscription) in the process. > Advantage: Apple - Google TV still requires you to have a cable/satellite box and continue to pay a monthly fee for content, most of which you never watch. - iTunes Cloud (Lala) - The large libraries that people have accumulated for their Mac's, then their iPods, then their iPhones, then their AppleTV's, then their iPad's has locked those users into iTunes. Porting all that media into the cloud so that it's available on any (Apple) device, -- anywhere, without syncing -- will allow AppleTV to take advantage of that huge established base. > Advantage: Tie - Both Apple and Google are new to cloud media storage, Apple having bought Lala and Google having purchased Simplify. Apple does have a slight advantage due to their experience in streaming trailers for many years and now streaming movie rentals. Nonetheless, in the cloud space, both are starting at a similar level. - App Push - Here's the big one: leveraging all the iPhones, iPod's and iPad's in people's hands today makes them the perfect controller device for the AppleTV today. Taking that a step further, iPhone OS 4.0 will enable any app to be pushed to any screen via AppleTV. This will instantly populate AppleTV with 200,000 apps. There is no need to have developers program for yet another platform, allow them to simply format the layout of the same app for a TV. For existing apps, AppleTV's OS will translate them to be viewed on a TV appropriate layout, rather than a mirror of what you see on your iPad/iPhone/iPod. The AppleTV translation will be standard for all apps but developers can program their Apps to override this layout and provide their own, built within the app. For example, there is no need to display buttons on the tv screen, just the content. iPad ready apps already provide HD resolution layouts. These can be effortlessly translated to an AppleTV layout. Most importantly, App Push will bring Safari browsing to AppleTV. You can already navigate any* site on your iPhone or iPad via mobile ready sites (and existing ones). The mobile layout will be displayed on your mobile device while the full screen layout is simultaneously displayed on your TV. > Advantage: Apple -- 200,000+ apps is one hell of a head start. We can all be sure that Apple has already figured out a strategy to implement in case any player gets a strong foothold in the TV market. Now is the time to deploy it.