In a review of Apple's quarterly post-conference call beating on the market (yawn, SEEN IT), ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes hits upon a gem of an idea while musing on the much-discussed upcoming "product transition".
Revamped AppleTV that's App Store compatible - Give the AppleTV a Wii Remote-like controller and it's ready to bring Super MonkeyBall to the world.
Let's ignore the fact that Apple's sold more iPhones and iPods touch ("iPod touches" just sounds wrong) than Apple TVs so Super Monkey Ball already reaches a wider audience. And let's also ignore the fact that this doesn't completely describe a transition to a lower-margin product. Instead, let's run with the remote controller idea. Because the remote controller is already in your hand.
It's the iPhone and the iPod touch. Both have the accelerometer and already act as a menu remote with Apple's Remote app. Rolling out the App Store to the Apple TV is a fabulous idea that could really add legs to an otherwise average device. Upscale the graphics and you're good to go. Game makers can create their own remote applications, allowing them to configure the buttons any way they like. Sure, there are some problems with that. Games may be a very good example of an instance where a physical button can be the difference between virtual life or death ("I thought I was pressing 'fire' and instead I was pressing 'night vision goggles'."), but the screen real estate on the iPhone and iPod touch is expansive enough that large virtual buttons could make up for this.
This is all pie-in-the-sky at this point. Maybe the product transition is an Apple TV/iPod touch bundle. Maybe it's lowering the cost of the iPod touch to where it's viably priced as a remote control.
More likely it's none of these things, but if Apple isn't going in this direction, maybe it should be.