Apple seems to inspire both imagination and disdain; a technology company with rabid fans and harsh critics; a storied franchise with barely a table full of products, but hundreds of millions of customers. Few products tilt the speculation and prognostication meter than the long awaited update to Apple TV.
Forget an Apple branded television. There’s no money to be made in that industry. Just ask any of the major players. The content industry, which includes television shows, cable TV, network television and even the movie industry is made up of an old boys club where new players seldom tread, as the ever growing pie has a limited number of available slices.
As Apple followers, our expectations are high regarding Apple’s future with TV. We want to shed the shackles of cable TV for an À la carte menu and a lower monthly price tag. We’re willing to add a set top box but only if it works better than the company’s current Apple TV (overpriced, underpowered).
By most accounts Apple is moving forward on two fronts. The first, a new Apple TV device, hopefully one powered by a more modern A-something CPU, affordable, with iOS 9, Siri, an App Store, and maybe even a new remote (though iPhone and iPad and Watch would seem to be worthy choices of control, too).
If whatever cable TV offers is available always on demand, then there’s little need for yesterday’s technology, the much beloved DVR (digital video recorder) which saves TV shows and movies for posterity and time shifting.
Apple tends to be a patient and disciplined technology company seemingly unwilling to throw whatever against the wall to see what sticks to the public, but it’s becoming more likely that the company’s second entry into the industry could be more disruptive.
How about this? An Apple TV box with Siri inside, remote device or voice controlled (or both), and when attached to a widescreen TV, it becomes a poor man’s giant iPad, complete with special games, a new interface for all the online entertainment available today, but with enough access to basic cable and local TV to be attractive and useful to a large swath of the viewing community.
As much as Apple’s legions of fans and watchers want the company to transform the entire industry (because who has more money that Apple?), that’s not likely to happen. Industry transformations, when they arrive, often are criticized ad nauseam for being too little, too late, but the good ones take root and grow steadily, quickly, and catch the buying public’s attention in ways not fully appreciated or understood by watchers and critics. Apple’s own history of products indicates just that.
Mac, Apple Stores, iPod, iTunes Music Store, iPhone, iPad, and now Watch have upended their respective corner of each industry, to the detriment of competitors, and disbelief of critics.
A new Apple TV with more capability and a budding platform, matched with an Apple streaming television service may follow in the footsteps of the company’s long list of hit products.