Apple TV: the simplest user interface you could imagine

Many have speculated how Apple will change the way we use a television set. In the biography by Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs is quoted saying that he finally cracked the secret of how to make a television set: “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine”. Most have imagined this to mean voice control in some fashion. I for one, do not believe that for a second – I can imagine a much more simple user interface. There are far too many problems with voice command for it to be a preferred solution in a situation where you:

  1. have your hands free
  2. are looking at the thing you want to interact with
  3. are sitting sill
  4. may want to be quiet (as not to wake other family members)
  5. may want to speak to other people in the room

Tripp and Tyler have brilliantly made fun of some of these issues.

So, what did Steve Jobs mean? I think we will see a television set with eye tracking software. I have already mentioned this when speculating about the new iPhone, but for a television set this technology would make perfect sense. Imagine a single button remote. One click on the remote to bring up a menu to one side of the screen and activate eye tracking. Click again to select the menu item you’re looking at. Repeat until you have selected something to watch. The menu goes away. Now that is simple!