You’ve got to hand it to Apple. Unlike most gadget brands Apple products have a cool, intuitive, almost human aspect to them. Pick up an iPod or an iPhone and you just start playing with it, and pretty soon you’ve figured out everything it can do. Not a manual or tech support callcentre in sight. That’s why “Appleness” can be addictive: because it makes interacting with digital technology as comfortable and familiar as changing into your pyjamas for a nice night in as soon as you get home from work.
This is all by design of course, but that doesn’t make it any less admirable. Apple want you to buy a Macbook to sync with your iPod Touch, or an Airport Extreme to turn your Hi-Fi into a remote set of speakers for your iTunes library. Each time I buy a new Apple product I can almost feel their blanket of cuddly fuzzines tucking me in a bit tighter.
You’ve probably guessed by now — and if you haven’t then I’m worried — that I’ve recently augmented my collection of Apple toys, and you’d be right. The latest addition to the Neal gadget gaggle is my new Apple TV.
What an absolutely stonking idea: a little box that connects simultaneously to your widescreen HD TV, your home cinema system and your home network, allowing you to play your entire iTunes library through the best audio system in the house and browse your digital photo collection on the biggest screen. No more hoiking the Mac/PC down to the living room just so your dinner party can go with a swing. You can also watch trailers for the latest movies, buy albums and buy or rent TV shows and HD movies right from the iTunes Music Store, all while reclined, remote in hand, in your favourite couch potato position. Lovely.
Oh, and I almost forgot the COOLEST thing! If you have an iPhone (or iPod Touch) you can get a free Remote application that will let you browse the Apple TV’s library and play/pause music on the system. It’s great!
No debate. If you like music, photos and movies, and have a Mac or PC, you need Apple TV. Now: where’s my cocoa?