Time for real television?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Topfry, Jan 3, 2018.

?

Is now the right time for a TV set?

  1. No way, they’ll never make one - no market

    27 vote(s)
    84.4%
  2. Yes, and stupid Gene Munster got it right after all!

    5 vote(s)
    15.6%
  1. Topfry macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    #1
    There was a lot of mockery, in the early days, of the idea that Apple might eventually release a full tv solution rather than just a set top box; largely down to slender industry profit margins and limited services. But with the advent of Apple making their own shows in the nearish future, and the way the market for smart home kit is developing, is now a good time for Apple to skip dipping their toes in and make a bigger product splash? I’m suggesting that this year might be the time for more confident moves in this direction.
    There are still problems with Apple TV; integration of programming is evolving, but there is a disconnect between the technical sides of AV that need improvement, there needs to be some kind of live tv timetable, there’sa need for a proper HomeKit hub and Siri needs a lick of paint, perhaps even a base. There are so many strings to the ATV that no doubt Apple have been tugging for some time, and most of the clues are already there in the things that do and don’t work with the current ATV. I get impatient when people start imagining TVs with routers, HomeKit hubs, Siri and camera integration, it has seemed like everything and the kitchen sink in the past - but as time has passed and the list of automated home tech grows longer, and the hubs for different brands multiply, it seems more and more obvious that one ring could rule them all...
    And then in the news today, this: https://www.geeky-gadgets.com/lgs-latest-oled-and-super-uhd-tvs-come-with-thinq-ai-03-01-2017/
    So, I ‘m thinking: watch this space...
     
  2. HobeSoundDarryl, Jan 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #2
    Have TV margins improved?

    You do realize that Apple would subcontract the panel to someone else- probably Samsung or LG- who would then take the exact same panel and stick it in their own-branded case, pricing it without the same Apple margin. There would be no arguing that Apple's screen is better than the Samsung/LG screen if it's the exact same screen. So then you've got the Apple premium paying for the 5 cent plastic logo stuck on the case somewhere... or having to try to rationalize the premium to the case itself.

    But what if the :apple:TV is basically built inside? That then brings software/siri/etc differentiation vs. the exact same screen in a Samsung or LG case, right? In this scenario does Apple quit making the :apple:TV? Because if they do not, one can save hundreds to thousands by buying the exact same screen from Samsung/LG/etc and spending $100-$200 on the unique Apple (software) brains + maybe 5 cents for an Apple sticker if you don't have any left over from when they used to come with almost anything you bought from Apple.

    But let's just leap past those huge issues. What size screen should Apple build? Is there 1 or 2 "perfect" sizes for everyone? Of course not! That's why the established competitors have sizes ranging from very small to very large in increments of maybe 4-8 inches. Can you picture Apple giving the market what it wants in terms of that large variety of screen sizes to fit the TV space for TV shoppers? Or does Apple pick a size or two and tries to proclaim them the 1 or 2 perfect sizes for all? You might have a space for a television that would best fit- say- 55" screen, so a perfect screen size for you is 55". I have a space for a television that would best fit a 75" screen, so your perfection would be far from mine. Let another guy chime in with a perfect hole for a 36"... or a 43"... or a 49"... or a 65"... or an 85". This is not like an iPhone where there is an upper & lower limit differing by maybe 3-5 inches max.

    Does Apple include fundamental ports so that other industry AV gear can be easily attached? Or do they go proprietary or maybe only TB3/USB3C requiring various existing devices have dongles to convert HDMI out to TB3/USB3C? Do we want dongles on this product too because Apple wants to push a port to which pretty much NO A/V hardware can directly connect? Or maybe they decide to go Lightning for all the $$$$$ proprietary advantages? If Apple can't put modern port standards on $2K-$3K laptops, do we have any confidence they would put modern AV ports on an Apple-branded TV?

    Lastly, why do WE want this? If a cheap :apple:TV can make ANY television run Apple's best crack at a TV UI, why do we need some subcontracted panel in an Apple-branded shell? If the Samsung, LG or similar brand mark bugs us, those are generally a little piece of plastic easily scraped right off. If the logo is embedded, all the easier to stick another logo right over the top of it. Other than a logo, what would make an Apple Television special when the entire Apple UI is available in a separate $100-$200 STB?

    That option would then put the Apple Television against competitors trying to rationalize the Apple price on hardware alone. I don't think Apple can win any contest on hardware alone- it's the unique software that best justifies the Apple premium in anything IMO. If :apple:TV remains available to bring the exact same software to ANY television, what would make the Apple Television desirable?

    Note that I didn't even slide into their retail store challenges in displaying maybe 8 or so different-sized models and storing that variety in the back.

    Now, I'm not trying to "mock" at all- just laying out the apparent cons to the idea. Certainly Apple could make an Apple-attractive television. Certainly it could bake in an :apple:TV. Certainly Apple knows how to make very attractive cases for screens. Etc. But the above seems to be the obstacles as I can imagine them. These days, I think Apple new product development starts with the profit margins. I'm not quite seeing this getting past that very first filter.
     
  3. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    #3
    I just do not know how strong of a demand there would be, especially with the price they would demand. They would most likely get their OLEDs from LG but charge a massive premium. I think it would be thousands cheaper to buy an LG OLED and pair it with the ATV.
     
  4. Topfry thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 19, 2011
    #4
    Excellent post - exactly the right questions that need to be answered. But several points answered themselves.
    Yes they would probably subcontract the panel (at least at the beginning) just like all their other products. The object itself isn’t the product, the Apple product would be the service, and integration into the ecosystem. In fact a central ‘home’ for all Apple devices. Other brands would copy, as they already do, but that doesn’t seem to bother Apple customers.
    Apple could carry on making set top boxes alongside the tv, the differentiator is guaranteed compatibility, automatic adjustments of resolution, av equip, the Apple ecostructure. Where they need to advance is in offering consistency in international territories.
    Screen sizes? 3, like the iPhone. Apple are happy about not pandering to the minority. Small/medium/large to suit majority tastes.
    Yes to ports; current up to date standards hdmi/thunderbolt/Bluetooth/WiFi etc its a device that needs to coexist, unlike a phone.
    The hardware is not the major issue for a device like that, it’s getting their ducks in a row with content and content provision. That seems to be coming together more lately. Take a look at the product I linked, LG seem to think such a device has legs and they haven’t got the ecosystem that Apple does.
    I have the ATV 4, and have watched it languishing for a long time, despite initial momentum. If competitors are producing devices like these, how can an ATV set top box compete?
     
  5. RichardMZhlubb Contributor

    RichardMZhlubb

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    Nov 26, 2010
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #5
    I've never understood this rumor. Having separate television sets and streaming boxes/DVRs is a far better setup than a single integrated device. Unless Apple has some sort of technological advantage that will produce better screens, there is no reason for anyone to buy an integrated Apple-manufactured smart TV. I upgrade my streaming boxes/DVRs far more frequently than I upgrade my televisions. Who wants to be forced to replace a three-year old TV because the processor in the built-in streaming device is obsolete?
     
  6. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #6
    Apple probably will never get into the TV manufacturing game. The margins are horrific.
     
  7. Topfry thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 19, 2011
    #7
    It’s only speculation at the end of the day, but there has been something missing in the Apple lineup for the last couple of years, (and I’m not talking about the Mac Pro). Something that links and ties together all their mobile devices, is a consumer level device that could become central to future HomeKit ambitions. It’s a hole that stood out when airports were no longer updated. It’s something that makes sense out of all the disparate hardware. It’s a solution for the vast array of standards for HomeKit and cascade of different set top boxes everyone has attached to their TVs. Just maybe see it less as a tv, more of a central family hub. There is some potential here, but as you point out, price point will be the main issue. But when you can flog $1000 phones, $400 HomePods and $4000 iMac pros maybe if they build it...
     
  8. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #8
    I think you are describing what the homepod could become. A central hub that ties everything together, an eventual amazon show type device with a screen. I have a show now and it ties together really nicely with: Hue lights, Nest Thermostat, Harmony Hub, Ring Doorbell, Ring Cameras, Calendars, reminders, etc.

    If apple can make the homepod that type of device and a wifi "mesh" network it would be perfect. I would place a few of those in my home.

    When google first announced google wifi and the google home, I thought the home had the wifi aspect built into it. I think it was a huge missed opportunity on google's part. That gives people a reason to spread multiple devices across their home.
     
  9. vertical smile macrumors 68030

    vertical smile

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    Sep 23, 2014
    #9
    I don't remember the mockery....
    I read an article somewhat recently saying that with Smart TVs, profit margins are now even thinner. The article was basically saying that the R&D to create and maintain smart TV software made the profit margins of TVs so thin, that the future of Smart TVs were uncertain.

    This is also one reason why there are infrequent updates to Smart TVs' OS.

    The rumor first came out long before there were streaming boxes, and when many of us had Macs using Front Row connected to our TVs. IIRC, back in Aug 2005, the rumor was suppose to be an Apple 42" and 52" plasma flat panel TV with a version of MacOS built in.
     
  10. Topfry thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 19, 2011
    #10
    I am. But a HomePod with a screen (remember Eddie Cue’s recent comments on smart speakers?) What’s the current central focal point in everyone’s home - tv, (poss closely followed by broadband in modern society) I’m suggesting that the useful potential of tv has broadened. I haven’t said margins have improved, I said the market has broadened, largely down to the feature wars between tv manufacturers. 3D didn’t sell, but smart TVs had some traction. You can see from this LG product the next thing is that they will all bung a smart assistant into your tv and see what happens. Looks an awful like a different brand ATV though doesn’t it? If this becomes the norm, how can the set top compete? Therefore real ATV...
     
  11. vertical smile macrumors 68030

    vertical smile

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    Sep 23, 2014
    #11
    If you want to believe the rumors, $1000 iPhones might not be selling that well.

    I personally don't think Apple will build one any time soon. I don't think there is a market for it either, unless Apple comes up with some way to really differentiate themselves from the current market. They did this with the Mac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad, but I am unsure what they can do to a TV that would create a new market like they did for the other devices.

    Plus, carrying an iMac into the Apple Store's genius bar is hard enough, could you picture doing this with a TV? Especially a large one?
     
  12. techwarrior macrumors 6502a

    techwarrior

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    Colorado
    #12
    The entertainment industry is a hot mess. Everyone is getting away from their core competencies by trying to take it over. Consumers are left with messy cords, disparate or overlapping functionality, and costly churn. The increasing appeal of mobile entertainment consumption, contributes to the confusion. The content providers, streaming player and display manufacturers are frenemies. In terms of content, there are really 3 or 4 categories, live news and sports, music, on-demand TV shows, and on-demand movies. Yet, there is considerable overlap within these categories.

    The dream of a single solution supplying all of our entertainment needs is an elusive one. Display manufacturers lack the market power to navigate the integration of smart technologies into their displays, with providers balking at working with the many disparate platforms. Content providers are not terribly good at providing the hardware or applications for consumers, and the streaming players are in the middle, being torn apart by these warring factions.

    Clearly, streaming is the future, even cable and satellite companies are moving in this direction. Consumers are discontent with the high price and limited choices, and are either forgoing some content, or going to great lengths to piece together a variety of products and services to meet their needs, muddling through a hodgepodge of remotes, hardware, UIs, and authentications and billing with the various services.

    Like the music industry prior to the iPod, the TV industry is begging for a new player to step in and sort it all out.
     
  13. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

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    Feb 9, 2009
    #13
    Here in Europe TV watching is on a H U G E decline. I'm a marketing professional and demographics is my main interest. The latest UK stats show that the average TV viewer is 65 YES 65 YEARS OLD! BBC1 the mainstream channels average age is 61!!! I flicked through SKY TV over Christmas at a friend's house and I couldn't believe the absolute trash on its channels. A true insult for any educated person. Absolute rubbish filled with adverts and sponsorship that THE CUSTOMER PAYS A MONTHLY £30+ FOR!!! WTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Not looking good is it.
    My question is, why would Apple invest? I know the USA is different with an average of 8 hours TV viewing a day which sounds very unhealthy.
    Certainly, all of my friends who are young & travel a lot are of the generation who have grown up with iPhones at university from 2010 with the 4. They loved them so much that they aspired to owning MacBooks, MBK Airs and MBK Pro which they did upon getting their first career. Their entire digital life is on their MacBook - it's the same with me. I watch a film once a week with my friends on the TV screen and that's it. Another example of why they have never bought CDs, DVDs, BluRays and never will. It's not in their culture and Apple know this. This future generation of buyers have grown up with everything portable - why would they pay a huge amount of money for something that is 1. Stationary in the house 2. Does not do much 3. Costs a H U G E amount of money? The little money they have goes on experiences - travel, gyms, eating out with friends. More people are choosing to live in the cities in bijou apartments now as apposed to rural areas that can be bland and lifeless.
    If anything, I'd like Apple to make the new Apple Pro Monitor screen compatible with the ATV 4K and that would be my perfect film viewing TV - for me, 40" is perfect.
     
  14. Topfry, Jan 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018

    Topfry thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    --- Post Merged, Jan 3, 2018 ---
    I’d like to know what the stats are for streaming; most of the people I know binge watch streamed shows, and cherry pick live broadcast. I think traditional tv, such as we all grew up with, has been changing for some time. This tv I’m talking about wouldn’t be a traditional tv. I agree with your description, too; but people do pay for smart thermostats,smart speakers, smart locks, doorbell cameras, smart alarms and maybe smart TVs, and they might also pay for Apple media if it can be watched on all their devices and managed centrally.
     
  15. vertical smile macrumors 68030

    vertical smile

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    #15
    Oh, after looking it up, I remember reading about that.

    I thought you meant the original rumors from 13-14 years ago. At the time, the reaction to the rumors seemed mostly positive. People was just worried about how much the Apple Televisions would cost.

    While I always wondered if Apple would come out with a TV, I think the ATV ended up being the better device for many different reasons. Especially ATV 1, 2, and 3.

    I think the ATV4 and 4K with tvOS has yet to live up to what was promised. Hopefully that will change soon.
     
  16. Topfry thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 19, 2011
    #16
    I hear you, but they’d have to be some kind of repair infrastructure - which is the area this idea really begins to hit shaky ground. These things don’t exist in isolation, though, no one would expect you to lug a washing machine into a store when it breaks down, less an apple car or 50” Apple TV
     
  17. vertical smile macrumors 68030

    vertical smile

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    Sep 23, 2014
    #17
    When you say TV watching, do you mean broadcast TV? Or any video watching?

    I think that broadcast TV viewership is down in the US too, but this is just a guess. But, streaming and on0demand watching has exploded.

    I think that average is a little high. With the long work weeks, at least when compared with most places around the world, when would we have time to watch a daily average of 8 hours of TV? Maybe people on welfare.

    I also wished Apple would get back into the display business. Although, 40" monitor would be too small for the primary TV for the average American household.
     
  18. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

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    #18
    What is fascinating is we have to look at WORLD SALES not just US sales.
    It is clear that Apple operate for one reason - to make money. To sell. LOTS OF IT! Just listen to their pitches, their greed is intense. Now think long and hard...
    What is Apple's biggest selling product by a H U G E shot? MacBook? iMac? No way, it's the iPhone. WHY?
    1. Because it TRAVELS with you. It fits into your lifestyle. You can use it on the running track, whilst surfing, whilst having dinner with friends, whilst sat on the beach. An expensive TV doesn't fit into any of those categories.
    2. It is aimed at EVERYONE. It fits in around you. It has no class or age limits. Plus, it does a hundred+ things. For me it replaced a DVD player, a BluRay player, a radio, a CD player, a HiFi, a sat nav, a camera, a video camera, a photo album, a scanner, an egg timer, a clock radio, heck A WATCH EVEN!!!
    3. A MOST IMPORTANTLY it's not £1000 or £350 or £500 is it? Can you imagine people buying outright in one go throughout the world? No, it's on a 2 year contract - £20 a month for a iPhone SE with unlimited calls, texts & 1GB of data here in the UK. 20% monthly discount if you are a student. Now in comparison, you tell me who would walk into an Apple store outside of the US and hand over £4000+ for a TV because let's be honest that's the starting price isn't it? And with HDMI 2.1 standard on TVs in 2019, it's going to date fast!!!
    4. Also Apple operates on a world basis. iPhone sells everywhere. TV does not. Take my life in Barcelona - beautiful weather for 11 months of the year - old men sat outside at 11pm playing dominos, youngsters at bars and on the beach. It's an outdoor place. Very few sit indoors for long periods of time. Same with Indonesia, Greece, Italy, Cyprus or Paris were a TV in a bedroom is an absolute no-no. The USA is dramatically different to the rest of the world for TV viewing habits and people on this forum really must take that into consideration. It's very easy to forget that. Every thing has to sell on a world wide basis and for Apple, IN HUGE QUANTITIES and TV in 2018? I don't think so.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 3, 2018 ---
    But I also hear you. When I was in the Apple store, they use basic lower end LG 50" TVs for the ATV demo and I have to say, the TVs look really out of place as they are plasticky and not a very classy design. It stuck me every time I'm in the Apple store. Strange how Angela the store lady hasn't invested in say the LG Wallpaper TV for Apple stores - i'm sure that with their partnerships, they'd be able to pick them up at trade prices.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 3, 2018 ---
    I agree BUT i don't think that it's Apple's territory. Netflix is already doing a great job along with Amazon for people who want that, the traditionalists will always stick to the two or three channels that they watch because 'that's what they do, it's safe and they've always done it' for the others, they get everything from the internet.
    TV is truly saturated in a heavily declining market.
     
  19. Topfry thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    Barcelona?dominoes?bars? I’m envious! All true points, but £4000 sets won’t sell it. At least one size would have to be sub £1500. It’s just a monitor, speaker, Apple TV and router I’m proposing with pretensions for home control. People still buy houses don’t they?
    As I’ve said though, this isn’t an argument for a magical super Apple device, rather to acknowledge that there’s a space for it now more than ever, that competitors are aligning in the same direction (see link above) that previous detractions are becoming irrelevant. One of the arguments against it, however, is that international Apple TV consistency is patchy.
     
  20. vertical smile macrumors 68030

    vertical smile

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    #20

    Good point, and kind of what I was referring to. There would have to be sometime really different about the television experience for Apple to release a TV, and not just the viewing experience, but the whole process from buying, to using, to updating and maintaining, and then repairing and supporting it.

    This could also be applied to an Apple Car, which I also don't think Apple will release any time soon.

    What could happen, is a Television with built in tvOS software, or a car built by a different company with built in AR software from Apple. This makes more sense than all the changes needed to make a TV or Car.

    While it is true, I was kind of joking about this.
     
  21. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

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    Feb 9, 2009
    #21
    Sadly, there's no way it could be sub £1500 for the simple reason - QUALITY. What we love about Apple is their top quality sourcing on components and people would laugh at them if they 'dared' to source an LCD panel. Just imagine what that moaning silly guy at The Verge would say? He already had a hissing fit about lack of 4K YouTube instead of using the other 100+ things that the Apple does really really well :)
    Not too sure if people are buying houses now. They young can't afford them in the UK.
    If a LG OLED is £1700 for a 55" you can bet Apple will add £1K onto that for its better quality materials and glass screen and far better speakers which Apple would want to rival a sound bar.
    If anything it may be like a LG W series but that's £7000. Apple want the wow facto and always give it (apart from iPhone 5c and basic iPad and Air). I imagine Jonny Ive and his incredible team would create a real beauty but sadly, it's finding the customers for it. And Apple want A LOT of them :) Maybe wait until the Pro Monitor is released and add a HomePod to it but you can bet a large screen Pro Motion will be £3000 upwards! You only have to look at iMac Pro pricing - £5000 starting point!
     
  22. rolandhurt31 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 6, 2016
    #22
    It would be extremely costly for Apple to make a TV as they’d have to accommodate for every single TV signal format PAL, NTSC DVB-T(2) & the different types of Antenna plug (push in & screw in) etc. Where as a set top box like the  TV just has to deal with various worldwide Electrical voltages. I’m in the UK & I use a service called TV Player to get live channels, the US has DirectTV Now that does a similar thing. Maybe a push to get these services &/or channel catchup apps that provide Live TV to integrate the Live offerings into the TV App would go a long way into making the  TV a decent Smart TV.

    Roland
     
  23. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    #23
    The problem is people do not want all of that crap displaying on their TV. For example, I have xfinity, and I never use their sports score feature. It takes up screen real-estate. I would compare it to multi-tasking while watching a movie.on the same screen. I just don't think there is where people want the interaction to be.
     
  24. Topfry, Jan 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018

    Topfry thread starter macrumors member

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    #24
    I think the way it could work is if information is contextual, and in some instances invisible.
    Eg. arrive home and your phone lets your tv know, door unlocks, heating/cooling on for past half hour as you approach. Tv starts up “ welcome home, Johnny - you have five messages and three voicemails this is the tv schedule; do you want music, radio or tv? Your wife will be home in 35 minutes.and so on and so on. Ie current devices notify each other, and preset actions are triggered... the tv handles HomeKit, Routing and Entertainment. The information displays in relevant order, and is displayed or bounced to your phone/watch according to preference. Not a million miles away from standard home automation. The difference is the broad infrastructure Apple already offers and range of mobile devices already owned. The tv is the hub. A big visual HomePod if you like. Not completely convinced it would have to be the most expensive television on the planet, with the absolute best screen, it took a long time to get 4K on Apple TV after all. Most of Apples stuff these days is aimed at the majority, and their exclusive stuff has not sold the best. To get something like this running, there would have to be an affordable version.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 3, 2018 ---
    Yes that’s what they would have to do. Lots of manufacturers already do. I bet it would only be available in the US to start with, and maybe they would concentrate on streaming?
     
  25. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

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    #25
    I'm not convinced that a educated person needs the TV or any gadget to tell them that they have message and what music they'd like on. Maybe slobs love hat way of life but to me, gadgets like this is destroying humans 'doing' things themselves. I can't think of anything worse. Maybe, it's because i'm highly independent and like to do things myself but no way. I don't even use that stupid Siri thing ;')Plus you can guarantee after 2 or 3 years with it being Apple, it would be really s l o w at responding - I remember my old MacBook at 2.5 years old with OS updates and my old iPhone 4S - pretty bad user experiences!
     

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