Apple could soon offer a major revamp of one of the few consumer products it’s launched this past decade that hasn’t found mainstream success, as a report claims that the company will offer a new “Apple TV” set top box unit for just $99, less than half its current price, complete with a new operating system based on the one which currently powers the iPhone and iPad. All of these details sound plausible, as Apple has taken an increased interest in offering widely palatable price tags of late ($99 iPhone, $499 iPad) even when the company could likely have gotten away with higher “early adopter” pricing for new models. And with as much as Apple has tied up in its iPhone OS at this point, it only makes sense that the next Apple TV would run it as well.
However, the new AppleTV apparently won’t include DVR functionality, the ability to record television shows for free and play them back on demand, which represent be a continued embarrassment for Apple as even the lamest of generic ten dollar a month set top boxes from cable companies are able to offer such functionality; it can be argued that lack of DVR functionality is the main reason the Apple TV has remained a low profile niche over the past few years, a period of time in which nearly every one of Apple’s other consumer offerings (the Mac mini excepted) has been a mainstream success.
But even that issue aside, the report is best taken with a grain of salt. The trouble with rumors which sound entirely plausible is that it’s easy for such rumors to be invented by third parties who know it’ll sound believable.
ZAGG, best known for its line of Invisible Shield products for iPhone, iPod and other devices, has introduced a product of a different kind entirely in the form of the ZAGGbox. Hailed as a “digital life center” by the company, the set top box is a high-end home media server with universal remote.
The initial version of the ZAGGbox, which is expected top ship in the second quarter of 2010, will work in conjunction with an iPhone app, with apps for other devices coming later.
The ZAGGbox will be priced at $999 but is currently available for pre-order at a discounted price of $799.