In a way only Apple can do, the company is saying Merry Christmas to itself, with a gift of one million sold Apple TV units. This comes after the previous iteration of the device ended up being a total flop.
Apple issued a press release today, saying it "expects" that sales of the Apple TV will "top one million units later this week." The company did not mention how many it had already sold, how many it expects to sell this week, or why it didn't wait until the milestone was actually hit. Probably because a bunch of the marketing people will start taking off for vacation soon.
The new version of Apple TV is a set-top box that connects to virtually any TV set and enables users to watch Netflix, YouTube, and Flickr content. Users can also stream through iTunes videos through instant downloads and rentals. This is the only direct-to-TV device for iTunes content, although other digital video services - like Vudu, Netflix, and Blockbuster Online - are accessible through a wide variety of TV-connected products, as well as the TVs themselves.
But what is perhaps coolest about the Apple TV is users can use their iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad to control it. Also, you can stream content from all those devices easily to the big screen via your Apple TV.
So it's kind of a must if you are a die-hard Apple fanboy. And there are apparently a lot of them out there.
Apple TV shares its name with a product that launched a few years ago. Carrying a sticker-shock price tag and not nearly as much functionality as the new model has, it was dead in the water long before most people even know it existed.
This new version, though, costs just $99 and comes at a time when Internet TV content is much more recognized as a worthy feature.