Sony has announced the PlayStation 4 console, a high-spec gaming and entertainment console expected to go on sale later this year.
However, the former tech giant declined to announce either the price or the release date, although it's expected to be in the region of £300 and released in the run up to Christmas. More damningly, the company didn't reveal the design of the device itself, only the controller.
Andrew House, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment said: "The goal is to put the PS4 at the center of the living room by offering the latest in console design, connected gaming and services".
That's the aim of many companies, and Apple is expected to also make a serious attempt to sit at the centre of the living room this year with either an updated Apple TV or a full-blown Apple Television. Steve Jobs famously said it had a unique interface, which we assume is going to be Siri-powered, but in our wilder flights of fancy we dream that it'll have some kind of Kinnect 3D gesture based interaction. While this is all imaginary, we can't help looking at that Sony controller above without feeling some measure of pity.
The ball is very much now in Apple's court, however. The current Apple TV with its lightweight ARM architecture and iOS-based interface couldn't be more different to the device that Sony just announced.
The PS4 runs on an eight-core x86 CPU and an improved graphics processor, delivering a combined 2 teraflops of performance. The console includes 8GB of memory and a local hard drive. The PS4 is the latest high-end computer, attached to the television with a joystick attached.
However, it runs games and apps which the Apple TV currently does not. As time progresses this is incresasingly starting to look like an odd move from Apple, which is content to let its Apple TV stream movies, music and photographs from iTunes.
Apple can change that at any point, however, by introducing the same kind of App Store SDK (Software Development Kit) to the Apple TV as it has on the iPad and iPhone. With its agency model and cheap develpment environment Apple is ready to bring a slew of cheap games and entertainment apps to the living room. We expect Apple to do that this summer, possibly prior to the PS4's release.
As Dan Brown, Xbox founder recently said "Apple 'will simply kill Xbox;" it'll probably kill the PlayStation 4 while it's at it.
The only real question is what is Apple waiting for? We presume the launch of the full-blown Apple television with its rumoured unique interface, although as with all things Apple we'll find out when Apple reveals its plans.
One thing's for sure, when Apple announces the Apple Television (or souped up Apple TV box) it'll do it completely. It will make the announcement in depth and the device will go on sale as soon afterwards as possible. Why Sony has elected to do the exact opposite is something of a mystery.
Sony hasn't done itself any real favours with yesterday's announcement. By refusing to reveal the release date, price, or show any images of the PS4 it's frustrated gamers and tech journalists alike, Chris Kohler from Wired said "Talk is the cheapest thing there is. And that's basically what Sony did today: It espoused a philosophy, said the names of a lot of popular games, but didn't give us any real, concrete information in an age where it's more important than ever."