So, I updated to version 3.0 3.0.1 (Oh, hey, yeah…could you update one more time, please?) of the AppleTV software for their self-described hobby project/media center device. I do love the end to end, just barely skirting this side of an antitrust lawsuit, seamless integration that the Apple experience provides the end user. It just works, it really does. Before the 3.0 3.0.1 (No, seriously, you’re going to want to update now – we released over the weekend even) software was released however, the AppleTV seemed to lack the polish that the other Apple products had like iTunes, the iPod, etc. The menu system and layout on the AppleTV seemed like it was there as a placeholder, ready to be swapped out at any time for the final, finished product. Functional, but it sure wasn’t much to look at.
With 3.0 3.0.1 (I’m not kidding, it’s in your own best interest to re-update), that’s changed quite a bit. Somewhat. When you first start up the system with the new software, the main menu now has the start of the high polished, Apple-style experience. Fairly logical left to right menus with the items to select in each menu appearing below when you move from section to section. Above the menu is a context-sensitive display of unplayed movies, TV episodes, podcasts, etc. at the top left and along the top right are the most popular or new from each appropriate category from the iTunes store. All with a little Cover Flow love where applicable. All very nice, all very respectable. Until you select one of those menu items and drill down to choose some media to play. Then it all falls apart. After you do something like say get to a list of your TV shows to watch, it turns into the same old menu sorting like in the previous version of the software. The same thought and touches didn’t get to this level for the user to appreciate, and it’s not like the menu system in use is the end-all, be-all. They could have put in a similar cover flow selection style for the sub-menus, and they may indeed try something like this in a future release, but it would have been nice to see a fully-finished product in 3.0 3.0.1 (Oh, in the name of all that is holy PLEASE DO THIS NOW AND UPDATE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!) and not a wonderful little tease of what it could be once the software is completely revamped. It’s moving in the right direction, I guess I just want it to move a little faster.