We have long maintained that the television is a killer music app platform waiting to happen, so we’re not too surprised to find that Apple sold 1.4 million Apple TVs during its stunning fourth quarter of 2011, when it earned more profit than Google did revenue.
As GigaOm points out, that’s half as many units as Apple sold all last year, and one-third of the units it has ever sold. In other words, Apple TV sales are accelerating — and that’s without the ability to run third-party apps.
Instead, it comes with a few bundled apps like YouTube, Vimeo, and Apple iCloud. Those are nice, but from a music perspective, Apple TV is largely about AirPlay, which works with all sort of music apps.
Why is television about music though? Apologies if you’ve read this here before, because I trot this nugget out all the time, but consumer electronics manufacturers told me at CES 2010 (I didn’t go this year) that the only speakers most people buy anymore are A) the ones that connect to televisions and B) the ones that connect to iPods and iPhones.
Apple TV combines both of those speaker trends rather neatly, giving music fans an easy way to play music from all sorts of apps on what are most likely the best-sounding objects in the house. In addition, the more recent iOS devices — the ones with the faster processers — are capable of streaming to AirPlay with very little time lag, which opens up interactive music options in addition to simple streaming.
Of course, the big kahuna — the all-in-one “Apple iTV” that’s actually a television set, which some are convinced Apple has been working on — has yet to make an appearance. If or when that shows up later this year, the television will take another step towards becoming the killer music app platform we think it can be — especially if Apple figures out the problem of letting people “tap” the screen from the couch, which could be accomplished with an iPad.
However, that television would likely be incredibly expensive, given Apple’s usual mark-up over the competition. However, Apple TV costs $99, making it quite the bargain, especially if you’re a music fan with nice speakers connected to your television.