Will Apple TV become more iPhone-like? Yes, definitely.

Every so often, people remember the Apple TV and ask, “What’s Apple doing in the living room?”. The latest is a TiPb post, “Should Apple TV Switch to the iPhone OS?“.

My take: it’s obvious to me that eventually Apple is going to make a strong play in the living room. Eventually what we’ve seen happen for phones, what we’re about to see happen in “tablet PCs” (with the iPad) will repeat itself in the living room.

Great hardware + base OS with great usability + platform for 3rd party app dev & distribution

At SnapStream, it was the absence of this platform + device for the living room that lead us away from our consumer PC DVR software and lead us to, instead, focus on our TV search solution for businessess/organizations.

Our thinking was, Until such a platform exists in the living room (and for a little while, we thought Microsoft’s Media Center Edition would be this platform, but IMO it never got there), it doesn’t make sense for us to try and build “apps” for the living room. Incidentally, creating this platform and device is what Boxee is trying to do.

Anyways, another question to consider is “when?” of this living room platform.

With smartphones, Apple released the iPhone in June 2007. The 1st Android phone (the G1) came out in October 2008 –16 months later.

Apple iPhone ————–time=16 months————-> Android*

(*Tmobile G1)

The iPad comes out in April 2010. I’m betting that Google, either through Android or Google Chrome, will release an iPad competitor in 2010, ie within 8 months of the iPad. IMO Google can’t afford to lose the kind of time they lost with the iPhone with “tablet computing” — time during which lots of people got hooked on the iPhone’s way of doing things.

iPad —time=~8 months —-> Google Tablet**

(**Android or Chrome OS)

So if the question is “When will Apple make an iPhone-like platform+device play in the living room?”, I think the trend above will continue, so I think we’ll see Apple and Google release their living room platforms close together — maybe Google will even beat Apple on this one.