Snippet: Apple’s Missed ‘FacePod’ Opportunity ☇

Shared on May 4, 2020

M.G. Siegler:

It’s sort of funny, in a way. Everyone crapped all over Facebook for launching Portal — myself included — but actually that seems like the perfect product for right now. Yes, many still have questions about Facebook’s involvement. And yes, their timing in launching it was laughably bad. But those issues aside, it’s pretty much the exact product that so many people want in their homes right now. It’s a Zoom box for your living room that is decidedly consumer-friendly.

This could have — and should have — been another market Apple dominated. Sure, you could say the market was relatively small before COVID-19. And that’s probably true. Enterprise was where the opportunity was, and Apple plays less nicely there. Still, even before the epidemic, this just felt like one of those areas that was going to be massive in the future. And Apple should have known that just by looking at the FaceTime usage numbers.⁴ And Facebook clearly did know that, hence: Portal.

I would love to see an add-on camera for the Apple TV and the ability to use different videoconferencing apps on it. While it won’t have all the controls/features that its iOS counterparts would have, could you imagine a box that does FaceTime, Hangouts/Meet, Zoom, WebEx, Teams, GoToMeeting, and whatever else if the developer ports their iOS apps to it? Not to mention, this would free up my work iPad to use for other things during those various Zoom meetings.

The HD model has a USB-C port, so it’s most likely just a software limitation, while the 4K has a hidden Lightning connector in the ethernet port. I wonder how an add-on could work, but even if it’s just a feature on a forthcoming one, it seems like we’re so close, but the parts aren’t put together.

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.