Apple wooed its fans this week with the launch of the highly anticipated Apple Watch device, and a new slate of iPhones, but failed to impress – or even mention – its iPad tablets or its Apple TV device, much less an Apple TV set.
The new iPhone 6 has a few noteworthy features. It uses carrier aggregation technology with 200 LTE carriers around the world, can support 150 Mbps throughput data, and uses VoLTE. It also has an 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip inside, which Apple said is three times faster than the 11n Wi-Fi chips in earlier iPhones. The new iPhone 6 supports Wi-Fi calling, and Apple said it is rolling out Wi-Fi calling with carrier partners T-Mobile in the US and EE in the UK. Apple said its hand-off from Wi-Fi to cellular is seamless.
We’re betting that 11ac chip is from Broadcom, which is a long-time partner of Apple and just happened to announce a new 5G 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip last week, a few days before the Apple announcement. Broadcom said its new chip, called BC4358, will be shipping in mobile devices available during this year’s Q3, which lines up nicely with Apple’s iPhone 6 release dates later this month.
Broadcom’s 11ac Wi-Fi- chip uses 2×2 MIMO and supports data throughput speeds of up to 650 Mbps. Broadcom says it’s the highest performing Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-combined chip that’s available today.
That’s sure to increase demand for 11ac routers and make 11ac the de facto standard in wireless home networking. 11ac only reaches its top speeds when both devices have it.
The ‘One Last Thing’ Wasn’t an Apple TV
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook used the Steve Jobs line, “Oh, and one last thing” during his keynote address to unveil the Apple Watch, indicating both how important Cook thinks the product will be to consumers, and that Cook wants Apple Watch to be his breakout device as the (relatively) new CEO. We at The Online Reporter were a bit disappointed that Cook wasn’t unveiling an updated Apple TV net-top box, which is sorely needed.
There was in fact only one brief mention of Apple TV, when Cook said the Apple Watch can control an Apple TV box as a remote.
Apple has fallen into a quandary with its net-top box. The field of competitors has grown significantly over the past year. Google entered the market with its popular, $35 Chromecast, and then Amazon launched its own Fire TV box; Microsoft has become aggressive in the living room, too, with its entertainment-focused Xbox One and suite of entertainment-focused services such as Xbox Video and Xbox Music; and Sony has launched a PS TV NTB that connects to its own digital media stores and streaming services. There will be even more competition in the NTB space when Google’s Android TV launches.
Apple has tried to keep its device up-to-date and relevant to consumers by adding more and more content apps to the platform – a little late, if you ask us – but it has largely ignored updating the Apple TV interface. The truth of the matter is that Apple TV isn’t particularly the best NTB available to consumers any more: there are now more alternatives with more content, more features, and for less money.
We’ve read, and in some cases reported on, the countless rumors that Apple is looking to reinvent TV, much the same way it reinvented music: a new device, and a new way to consume the content. The longer that takes for Apple, the more pressure there will be to launch the game-changing device that Apple wants to launch. The longer it waits, the more time its competitors – Google, Amazon, Sony, Microsoft – have to establish themselves as the living room’s primary entertainment devices.
We think Apple’s new TV device will need to do two things to…
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