When the iPad was released this past April, both consumers and the media thought it would quickly become the quintessential video viewing device. Now nearly six months later, it seems those expectations have largely been met. The number of TV and video apps for the iPad keeps growing everyday with new apps like apps like yap.TV joining popular choices like Netflix, ABC, and Hulu Plus. So with this initial success, what is Apple going to do next?
Earlier today Apple released a new firmware update for the latest Apple TV which provides some clues to what might be in store for the iPad. Steve Jobs has long referred to the Apple TV as a hobby but it seems that Apple is slowly putting the pieces together to provide a rich TV and video experience for users across multiple devices.
The first step of the transition has been the move of the new Apple TV to run iOS, the same operating system used by the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The fact that these devices now share the same OS means that they can use the same apps. TUAW was able to dig into the latest Apple TV firmware update and found that there was a single app named Lowtide that provided the Apple TV “experience.” Lowtide is what users interact with when browsing through their video library, selecting services and playing back video on their Apple TV. Moving Lowtide to the iPad would be a simple exercise for Apple and could open up streaming video directly from the iTunes Store, something currently limited to the Apple TV.
The combination of iPad, Apple TV, AirPlay and Lowtide could finally bring together the pieces Apple needs to bring movies and TV to users on any device at any time and provide a seamless viewing expereince. Imagine being able to start a TV show in the morning on your Apple TV and then being able to resume watching it on your iPad while sitting down for a quick bite to eat for lunch. Moving media from one device to another has long been a dream for many users but has largely been held back by a lack of easy to use devices along with complex and expensive content licensing schemes.
With the iPad, Apple TV and AirPlay, Steve Jobs may finally be moving Apple’s TV efforts from a hobby to a serious business for the computer giant.