iOS on Apple TV Rumors: How Do you Get Touch on Your TV?

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Rumors are flying that Apple announce on Wednesday that the next Apple TV release will feature Apple’s iOS, seen most prominently on the iPad and iPhone. For the last few years the iPod has been the center of this annual event, but tomorrow might bring some changes to how you interact with your TV as well as listen to music.

The biggest rumors that have been circulating are that Apple TV will sport an A4 processor, as well as iOS 4 and apps from Apple’s store, but we want to know: how will iOS be optimized to run on a TV? One of the major selling points of the multitouch operating system is that it’s, well, multitouch: interacting with your Apple TV via a remote won’t have the same feel as making swipes on an iPhone or iPad. I really doubt Apple will take away the iOS’s signature feature when migrating it to Apple TV.

Will the Apple TV (or iTV, as it’s rumored to be renamed) have some sort of small touchscreen? Another rumor floating around is that the iPod Nano will get a 3 cm x 3 cm touchscreen, making it somewhat feasible that the Apple TV could have built-in support for multitouch.

Another rumor is that Apple has filed a patent for a touch-screen Mac that can flip between iOS and Mac OS X, so perhaps a version of iOS optimized for a desktop computer/TV set isn’t too far-fetched. Combine that with the $99 probable price for the set-top-box, and I’ll bet the Apple TV will have several USB ports in the back for a mouse and keyboard rather than any sort of touchscreen. Here’s also betting that your iPhone or iPad can serve as a remote for the Apple TV box, allowing you a more consistent touchscreen experience across your multiple Apple devices.

Interface questions aside, another bit of hardware speculation is that Apple TV will only support 720p HD video. Now, the iPhone (even the 3GS) and other current iOS devices can handily display 1080p video, so why are some folks claiming that the A4 processor can’t handle high-resolution HD video? Only delivering 720p content will certainly make it easier to stream content from Netflix, but will the lack of 1080p support cripple the Apple TV?

With a cost of (in all likelihood) $99, 16GB of built-in storage, and support for 720p HD video (and not 1080p), this latest version of Apple TV might not provided the Apple “wow” factor that most of us have come to expect from Cupertino. Unless Apple absolutely nails apps for iOS on the iTV, I have a feeling that the user experience for this device will be less than stellar. Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments.

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