New Apple TV User Interface was Rejected by Steve Jobs 5 Years Ago


The 3rd generation Apple TV debuted during the new iPad announcement, and with the refresh came a new user interface (also available for the Apple TV 2 as well). The new design was a major overhaul compared to the former interface. As it turns out though, this new design was originally denied by Steve Jobs years ago according to a former Apple TV engineer Michael Margolis, as noted by Macgasm:

Margolis clarified the issues Steve Jobs had with the design to TNW:

The new UI shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. There is a clear effort at Apple to make everything match the look and feel of their popular iOS products – starting with Lion and increasing momentum with Mountain Lion.

To be clear – he didn’t like the original grid. This was before the iPhone was popular and before the iPad even existed.

Given that the iPad is far more successful than the AppleTV, migrating the AppleTV to look more like the iPad was probably a very smart move – even if some of the users of the old UI don’t prefer the new one.

Some people love the new Apple TV interface, while others miss the old one. What’s your take on the whole situation? Just because Steve Jobs has passed, does that mean Apple has started to change its course?


  • Antonino Urbano

    I just don’t find it to be a big deal… some things are simply in a different spot, that’s all. Clearly we’ll have apps soon, so as far as they are concerned I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have a less text-based UI. 

  • This is a step in the right direction. I WISH they would bring back the grid UI for content streamed from the computer. They used to let you see all your albums, movies and TV shows in a grid with their cover art, now you need to scroll through an ugly black and white list…

  • Ldrover

    It lacks Apple’s trademark elgant design. Don’t be fooled by the emperor’s new clothes!

  • Ian

    Is the new UI exclusive to the new unit or is it in the software for atv 2’s as well?

  • Eddie

    My Apple TV 2 reliability has taken a big hit since the update. Thats the real problem for me.

  • Ian

    In what terms? I have the same one but haven’t noticed anything.

  • TheWingNut

    I preferred the old interface, but I can live with the new one.

    What I would really like would be the ability to remove items I won’t ever use, like MLB, WSJ, and NHL. In the new interface these unused features just pollute the interface where they were much easier to ignore on the old interface.