Automating the Television

There’s a use case for the AppleTV that I’d love Apple to think more about: the elderly who have difficulty with fine motor controls in their hands due to arthritis, or conditions like Parkinsons. Or people with dementia’s who have degraded spatial relations parts of their brain and memory challenges. Or people with all manner of eye related disorders.

People for whom using any kind of remote control to control on on screen user interface, or voice interaction to find something to watch, is just not a possibility. It’s not a matter of how easy something is, controlling an interface of *any* sort is outside of their capabilities. But they still need the entertainment that television provides for them.

What if Proactivity mode for AppleTV noticed that everyday at 7 PM, 85% of the time, the MLB app is open during the hours of when the local ballteam plays and automatically created a rule that tunes in the ball game for Gramps, even if they’re playing a central timezone road game.

Or it would automatically have the screen open for the next episode of the show you’ve been watching at around 8:30, just after the dishes have been finished and you’re ready to turn your brain off? Regardless of whether it’s on Netflix, Hulu or iTunes.

Or would notice that everyday at around 5 PM you tend to put on a playlist from Apple Music that is usually uptempo.

Or even create an advanced interface for the kids to go in and manually program a schedule, or add keywords into a YouTube playlist so that the only thing that’s needed is to say TV ON and you’re watching moving pictures, every time. Totally not an Apple thing to allow for such customizable and geeky type of settings, but I think the sheer mass and therefore breadth of Apple customers now, slavishly adhereing to the dear leaders principles of simplicity is exactly what Steve warned against doing. We are so far past the one button iDVD interface at this point, it’s ludicrous to haul out this old chestnut every time the idea of preferences & flexibilty vs the design is about making decisions crowd.