I'm reposting several things from other threads here, so that those of us who actually have an honest appreciation for what the new aTV brings to the table can have an intelligent discussion about it.
Here are a few new links for anyone interested. Spoiler alert: None of these seem to contain any significant info that we didn't already know...
* A review by Fox news' Clayton Morris:http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/...ve-jobs-hobby/
There *is* a very positive bit of new info (if true) in the article. It states:
Apple told me the company has opened [AirPlay] to third-party developers, and that's where my imagination runs wild.
* A review by PC Mag's Tim Gideon. This one's only slightly better. Based on some of the wording used, he gives the impression that he actually used it, but it's completely devoid of any specifics (e.g., how long it took for a Netflix movie to start, how the PQ compared to other Netflix devices). I'm guessing that what he actually got was a personal hands-on demonstration by an Apple rep. I'll give him positive points for expressing something which I pointed out (I believe in the other aTV thread in this forum), which is that the smart way to rent movies/shows seems to be to purchase them on your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad and then stream them to your aTV, because if you purchase them on your aTV you can't move them to your portable device (or watch them on a different aTV in your house):http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2369826,00.asp
* Apple has the user manual online now:http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/...etup_Guide.pdf
I read the whole thing. In typical Apple fashion, it's super-short with no screenshots, and doesn't cover every possible menu option. In fact, it's more of a set-up/troubleshooting guide, really. So no real revelations here. But one statement which might be of concern to some people is on page 28 (in the troubleshooting section) where if someone's TV screen appears fuzzy or black, it states, "Make sure your HDTV supports 720p video." This would suggest that the new aTV is not capable of upscaling 720p to 1080p, so you'll have to let your TV do that. This would also suggest that it won't display photos in anything above 720p, which seems especially lame, IMO.
Now let's talk about apps. I expect them to come, but I'm actually starting to rethink the whole concept. I'm not so certain that we're going to see an aTV app store. I suspect that Apple will enhance the aTV and add new functionality to it over time. Perhaps we'll see Hulu Plus or Pandora added. That's hard to say, because on the one hand they offer services that compete with iTunes TV and music rentals, but then Apple is partnering with Netflix and that competes with iTunes movie rentals, so who knows. And maybe Apple will add in a way to see your local weather and even some local news.
But apps that you download which are optimized for the TV? While I was thinking they'd go that route, here's an alternative which could happen instead: You download/store your aTV-capable apps on your iPod/iPhone/iPad instead. Maybe these will be games which you're already playing on your iPhone. The developer later comes out with a new version with aTV capabilities. Maybe you when you say that you want to play it on your aTV, the app gets uploaded to the aTV's limited storage space, displays on screen, and your iPhone's display changes so as to just display just use your iPhone/iPod Touch as a controller. Or maybe the app runs on the iPhone/iPod Touch with its own full UI and display, but streams other stuff to the aTV display. The common theme here, though, is that you're not downloading the apps via an aTV store, rather you're downloading iOS apps onto your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad which just happen to have an aTV component. The aTV component may be the *main* component for some of these apps, but you'll still need a portable iOS device. This is actually great cross-pollenation. More of the existing iOS device owners will want to buy an aTV for this added functionality, while some aTV owners who don't currently own an iOS device will buy one as a result.
As pcmd has stated before, I think the AirPlay thing (combined with the huge userbase of iOS-device owners and huge library of iOS apps) has the potential to really make the aTV a must-have device when compared to other streamers. If Apple allows 3rd party devs to add AirPlay support to their apps, it won't matter as much if the aTV itself doesn't have Hulu Plus or MLB.TV or if those services add AirPlay support to their existing iOS apps.
One gripe I have with the aTV is that the included remote can't control your TV/Receiver's power or volume. I know that a lot of us will probably make use of our iPhone/iPod Touch to control the aTV, which also won't control power or volume. But I know that when my family goes to use the aTV, they'll want to use a regular remote, so it would have been nice if they had offered even the simplest of TV control buttons on the stock remote.