When companies stop offering a product version and drop the price significantly on the more capable model, it generally signals a major problem with that particular product’s sales. But in the case of the Apple TV, that might not necessarily be true.
Monday, Apple decided to discontinue the 40GB Apple TV. It also cut the price by $100 on the 160GB model to $229. It was a smart move from the company’s perspective. It can make its better Apple TV more appealing to those on a budget and in the end, it could possibly help it sell more units.
But after the news broke that Apple was updating its Apple TV line, many owners started saying that the Apple TV was dead. It was on its way out. It has gotten so bad that people are calling on Apple to either update the device or get rid of it.
As an Apple TV owner, I don’t agree. I know that Steve Jobs has called the device a hobby. I understand that the company has ignored it for far too long. I also know that it doesn’t sport all the features that I would like in a device. But that doesn’t mean that the product isn’t great already.
I’m constantly impressed by the Apple TV. It sports many of the features that I need in a set-top box. I can access my iTunes music. I can watch television shows and movies that I can either buy or stream to my HDTV. I can even access YouTube clips. And although I don’t use the feature often, having access to images through Flickr is always a welcome option.
But one of my favorite features of the Apple TV has nothing to do with its software and everything to do with its hardware. The Apple TV is small and it can sit practically anywhere in my entertainment center and not get in the way.
Now, does that mean I’m absolutely satisfied with the Apple TV? Of course not. Like many other folks, I would like to have DVR functionality. I also want to be able to stream Netflix films. But the likelihood of Apple making those two features available is slim.
Perhaps most importantly, I would love to see the Apple TV become a gaming platform. I think it has real potential there. Apple can use all the games it makes available in its App Store work with the Apple TV. Of course, most of those games require an iPhone, but I suspect that just by announcing that the Apple TV can play games, most developers will find a way to port those titles to the Apple TV. And in the process, we’ll all enjoy a far better product.
But until that happens, I won’t be one of the Apple TV owners complaining about the product. Is there room for improvement? Of course. But if we consider what the Apple TV offers at this very moment, it’s clear that if you’re looking for entertainment, you will find it with the product. From songs to television shows to movies, it has everything you want.
So maybe it’s time we stop the complaints.
Don Reisinger is a technology columnist whose work has included popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move on Twitter at @donreisinger.