Apple can revolutionize the TV experience with eye interaction
The TV experience is begging to be reinvented. We all love watching TV so much that we’re willing to put up with the horrible experience of using our TVs. From punching in 3 digit codes to scanning guides that look like Excel spreadsheets.
Apple has the opportunity to revolutionize the TV experience. I believe that Apple will build its own HDTV set and you will use your eyes to interact with it. You will choose what you want to watch by looking at a thumbnail of it. It will have a home button just like iOS, but instead of having to press it you will activate it by looking at it. All interaction will be based on where you look with your eyes.
It won’t have a remote control. You won’t use your iPad. You will just use your eyes to interact and your voice to search with Siri. Steve Jobs said “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine.” It doesn’t get any simpler than just using your eyes to look at what you want. Your eyes know what you want before your hand does.
Eye interaction technology already exists. With some open source tools and a modified web cam you can setup your own system for around $150. The stage that eye interaction is at is very similar to where multi touch was when Apple introduced the first iPhone. No one has built a mainstream, mass market product using eye interaction. A lot of people also haven’t seen it in action or used it, just like multi touch. It will take some work, but it’s ready for primetime.
When Apple releases new products that break open categories they always include a new innovative user interface. These new interfaces are far more useful than anything that came before. They massively improve experiences that we value.
Using your eyes to interact with your TV will have the same sense of wonder and magic that we all had when we first used a multi touch screen. Imagine just looking at what you want and having it happen. Television is the perfect application for this technology.
TV is a lean back medium. We don’t watch TV to interact we watch it to be entertained and relax. Eye interaction is perfect for TV because it can be a seamless part of the experience. You no longer need any extra devices. You don’t need a remote. You don’t have to wave your arms around. You don’t have to look away from the screen or call out commands.
With eye interaction Apple can forever change the TV experience. The App store for the Apple HDTV will be filled with great ideas from developers who invent new TV experiences that use eye interaction.
It will be a challenge to get eye interaction just right, but Apple has the user experience expertise to make it work beautifully. Eye interaction will have its own simple conventions just like the pinch or swipe in multi touch, but we won’t be blinking to click. Nor will we be swiping with our eyes. The conventions that have come before will not apply to eye interaction. Apple might be the only company that has the skillset to get eye interaction just right.