The difference between an Apple TV and an Apple Television

All the talk these days – at least before all the iPad 3 rumors took over – has been about the much anticipated Apple Television. Apple has certainly not announced anything, and some of us still are not convinced that Apple needs to enter a crowded market, but those rumors just keep on coming.

I’m one of those that just doesn’t see why Apple needs to bring a television to market, especially considering there are already hundreds of TV manufacturers in the space that are all scrambling for market share. If Apple is to make an impact, then it needs to offer something that nobody else can. Something that differentiates.

The Apple TV that we currently know and love is a sign that Apple doesn’t yet take the home entertainment business seriously. Famously called a “hobby,” the Apple TV is a box that is full of potential yet seems almost held back. Almost neutered…

But what if the Apple Television is the next step? For Apple to really make a go of the television game, then it needs to offer something that not only cannot be found in the TV market, but also something that cannot be achieved by simply hooking a $99 box up to an existing TV set. Something that goes beyond the Apple TV.

All that setup has us here, the point at which I sit back and contemplate just what Apple could have up its sleeve that couldn’t simply be rolled into an Apple TV3.

The obvious thing is Siri. While software, Siri obviously needs a microphone in order to work, something that the Apple TV currently lacks. While it is indeed possible to add a mic to a set-top box and release an Apple TV3, the thing will have to be small and with boxes like that usually tucked away in cabinets the chances of the whole thing working are minimal.

If the mic was sat behind the bezel on a 50-inch TV though, then things suddenly get a little more interesting.

FaceTime is something else that could not be done without hardware not available in an Apple TV. We’ve all seen the cameras in iMacs and the like, and Apple putting a larger version of that inside a TV bezel is not wild idea. FaceTime on a large television is something that could actually get people using the ailing video chat format, too.

Talking to your TV a la Kinect and holding video calls on a screen that fills a wall could potentially see the Apple Television having a pull that a standard TV could not. Throw in the whizz-bang software that we all know Apple would want to put out and the idea suddenly becomes interesting.

Whether Apple should take the risk of entering yet another market though, I’m still not convinced.