Now, I’ve heard my share of the complaints about the new interface. I, too, had problems with it right at first. It’s something you have to get used to. You have to learn that there is no “sources” menu. You have to accept that what’s been synched with your Apple TV is undifferentiated from what’s in your iTunes library. However, you can adjust. Humans have adapted for millennia to things far worse than a new digital media menu.
So, now to my criticisms… The new interface is fine. But don’t like the weird synching behavior. I have to go downstairs to my G5 to initiate a synch of the podcasts that used to be synched automatically throughout the day so that they were there when I got home. I have a new option — Automatic Synch. It’s a mystifying, magical process where iTunes decides what to synch. It takes hours and, in the end, you have no idea what’s going to be synched.
Another new feature, which I adore, is the ability to direct audio output to any other connected output device, including the Apple TV, on your network. This includes any Airtunes receivers, wireless speakers, networked computers, and even some windows media extenders. A fantastic addition that allows you to enjoy internet radio over your central HiFi system. Or whatever it is you have.
Perplexingly, Apple has not made similar functionality available for video. DEAR APPLE, I want to share my DVD drive on my main Mac downstairs with my Apple TV. I want to create video playlists that allow me to group certain types of content into a single, endless, video stream. With over 10 new podcast episodes to watch each day, it would be fantastic to create a smart video playlist where I can hit play a single time and watch all new podcasts. The fact that I can’t reeks of marketing shenanigans and defies the image Apple has earned inside my mind.
The streaming of podcasts, live, from Apple has me flummoxed. Why can’t the menu tell me when there’s a new episode available of a podcast I pay attention to? Why can’t I group a day’s worth of podcasts into a playlist where I hit play once and I have an hour’s entertainment in front of me?
I love renting movies from my couch and I can’t wait till the library is full and more inviting. But Apple really needs to pull it together in order to make me adore this platform. Yes, I understand the need to gear the box toward streams of revenue, but until they can offer a full entertainment package at a reasonable price, I will be unhappy with a device I can’t custom fit to the needs of my nightly allotment of time toward passive entertainment.
So, though I doubt it, if Apple or any of the Apple staff are watching my blog, I’m available for a consultation. I charge $75 per hour, and though I understand that’s ridiculously cheap, I only want to help right some of the wrongs I’ve encountered in the past two years of Apple product development after a lifetime of being surprised by the continual forward thinking aesthetic of Apple’s product quality. In being a tried and true Mac user for two decades, I think I know when I see a solid reputation heading toward disaster.