I thought about naming this post "I have a dream" but I figured the SEO impacts would be all wrong. The idea though would be spot on. I decided to go with this title and its gambling reference because I'm quite positive that I am gambling a little. I just bought my third Apple TV and set it up last week.
Yes, I read a bunch of different blogs and I do not have my head in the sand. You don't have to go very far to read an article about how the Apple TV has already failed and is doomed to sit next to the Newton on the shelf of shame at Apple HQ. In fact, simply buying an Apple TV doesn't give you a lot of assurance the product is doing well. The unit I just bought and installed still had the 1.0 software on it. The 1.1 release was made a long time ago so you know this unit was sitting on the shelf for a while.
However, I find the allure of these little boxes to be too strong. The promise is great. Integration with the iTunes ecosystem. Great user experience. By far the best "ten foot" user experience I've ever seen. The integration is great. You can watch part of a movie on a plane, come home and sync your iPhone and then sit down on the couch and the Apple TV will offer to resume where you left off. For music, it's a great device with nearly no issues (please add rating from the Apple TV!). It falls down in video, and that is really where the entire iTunes world falls down.
I've decided to continue betting all the way to three of these units for a few reasons. First, as part of the iTunes world it is not easy for Apple to just shove it aside. I don't expect that there will be a breaking change that will cause them to stop working for a long time, if ever. Additionally, I really like the form factor and it's complete lack of noise (although it's hotter than nearly any device I've ever owned). If it really got ugly, I also feel comfortable that I can hack the thing wide open and do some of the stuff that Apple should be doing for me already on it.
Now, I'm just hoping these rumors of significant Apple TV enhancements at WWDC in January come true!