#apple television

Lots of good thoughts by James Gill. I like this one in particular:

In Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, the man himself proclaimed “I’ve finally cracked it” on referring to interacting with an Apple designed TV. We’re several years on and there’s still no sign of an Apple TV set, or a change in the way we all interact with our media on a big screen. When thinking about the possible uses of an iWatch, and the number of sensors and trackers it would contain, it made me realise — what if the iWatch could effectively be a Wii style controller that’s always strapped to your wrist, without the need for the controller part itself? Could you feasibly control a TV interface with your iWatch, simply waving at the screen with gestures to control your movement through the UI? What’s more, could the idea of everyone having their own iWatch enable seamless interaction and on screen personalisation without any confusion over who has which remote control?

I recently happened to buy a new LG television which comes with both a regular remote but also a Wiimote-like remote. The latter is amazing. Old school remotes are garbage. This new remote is a joy to use.

It feels like the right way to manipulate television. So much so that I don’t think this suggestion is crazy at all. We may not hear anything about it tomorrow, but perhaps Apple will have a “one more thing” up its sleeve in a few months — quite literally.

Jason Snell:

In other words, in four years the wearables market might grow to be one-tenth the size of today’s smartphone market—in units shipped. Presumably the average selling price of wearable items will be a fraction of that of smartphones, meaning the dollar value of the wearables market is even more minuscule compared to the smartphone market.

All of which means that wearables, while dramatic and exciting and with huge potential to change people’s lives, are never going to rival smartphones in terms of market size. Same goes for smart TV boxes. These are interesting, fun areas of technological change. But the smartphone—that boring old Internet-connected 64-bit supercomputer in your pocket that just keeps improving year after year—is going to be the big dog in the tech world for years to come. Apple’s future success or failure will be dependent on the iPhone, and to a lesser extent the iPad, not on a smartwatch.

That’s exactly right. I’ve been saying this for a while: there is no industry, save maybe the oil business, that could yield the type of profits Apple is used to with the iPhone. And that points to a lot of disappointment in the eyes of Wall Street no matter what comes — unless Apple buys Exxon.

Shalini Ramachandran, Daisuke Wakabayashi, and Amol Sharma:

Apple has had discussions since at least mid-2012 with Time Warner Cable Inc., the No. 2 operator, people familiar with the matter said. Those talks, known internally at Time Warner Cable as “Project Jupiter,” came to a standstill when the cable operator became a takeover target, the people said. Comcast in February agreed to acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, a deal regulators are reviewing that would give Comcast a total of 30 million U.S. customers, after proposed divestitures.

So, of course Apple is now talking with Comcast. Anyone could have predicted that (and did!). What choice do they have? None, now.

And, of course:

Apple and Comcast aren’t close to an agreement, said one person familiar with the talks.

I’m shocked — SHOCKED — that the Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal has the potential to screw users in more ways than one.

Content, Content, Content

Intel just sold its unreleased television service to Verizon. TiVo just shuttered its hardware business. Google TV flopped. Boxee sold out. Aereo keeps getting sued. Roku keeps trying new things. Netflix keeps spending wildly. Amazon more wildly still. And where on Earth is that Apple television?

Where’s the future of television we’ve been promised every year for the past decade? It always seems to be coming “next year”. And I have a hunch that 2014 may be no different.

Here’s the thing: there isn’t actually a technology problem in this space. That is, while the current solutions offered by the cable providers mainly suck, they suck because they can suck. Big Cable is holding all the cards. And they know it.

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Jordan Kahn:

Bloomberg also has plans to integrate new features into the experience that will be first of their kind on the Apple TV. Most notably, the company is planning integration with the existing push notifications it delivers as “tune-in alerts” through its iOS apps. Users will eventually be able to select preferences for notifications right within the Apple TV app that will be displayed on both the TV and mobile devices connected to the same Bloomberg account. The company didn’t say how exactly notifications would work on the TV, or if Apple is involved with the development of the feature. It’s also considering interactive ads. As an example, Okaro described a user pressing a button when viewing an interactive ad to pull up more in-depth product information. Before those features, the company will roll out an update in coming weeks that will enable playlists that sync between Apple TV and its iOS apps.

Creeping ever closer to the future of apps on Apple TV…

Janko Roettgers:

Apple hasn’t opened up its Apple TV device to all third-party developers yet, but instead just added apps from a few high-profile partners to the platform. But that didn’t stop two avid Plex fans, who were able to bring the media center software to Apple TV, thanks to a clever hack. And the best thing: There’s no jailbreaking involved, meaning that Plex users won’t void their warranty or brick their device.

Very clever — sadly, I’m sure Apple will cut this off sooner rather than later. Though I won’t be that sad if the required firmware update also brings an Apple TV SDK…

The chatter around this possibility has been decidedly quiet with less than a week to go until WWDC. That’s either good (surprise!) or bad (winter is coming) news. I continue to believe that before we get any sort of Apple television hardware, we’ll get an SDK that will work with the current Apple TV boxes. You have to seed the ecosystem before it can flourish. 

But I also have this feeling that an iWatch may appear first…

The news will probably send the stock plummeting another 20%.

But really, some interesting NPD data here reported by Neil Hughes for AppleInsider:

Apple’s revenue easily beat out rival Samsung, which came in second with 9.3 percent, up from 7 percent in 2011. The rest of the top five saw their share of revenue fall in 2012: HP dipped from 8.9 percent in 2011 to 8.2 percent last year, while Sony and Dell both slid to 4.4 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

Two are horsemen, the rest are has-beens.


Together, Apple and Samsung accounted for $6.5 billion in increased sales in 2012. Meanwhile, the rest of the consumer technology industry saw sales decline by almost $9.5 billion in the U.S.

See: above.


The top five categories for consumer electronics in the U.S. were notebooks, flat-panel TVs, smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. Together, they accounted for 53 percent of sales in 2012, up from 49 percent in 2011.

One of these categories is not like the others…


The only two categories in the top five to see year-over-year growth were tablets and smartphones, markets where Apple competes with the iPad and iPhone.

Perhaps until Apple enters the one market above that they’re not in yet…

Jean-Louis Gassée:

My belief is that Apple TV sales numbers will continue to increase as the device is slowly, patiently improved and the ecosystem is enhanced. In a not-too-distant future we’ll see explicit Apple TV apps, similar to those on iPhones and iPads.

And someday, Apple will reach a limited agreement with a carrier such as Comcast. The enhanced experience will create a wedge — and will spur competitors. As a result, TV will at last become “modern” — sitting down in front of your TV set will no longer send you time traveling to 1992.

That’s my guess how this plays out as well. First we’ll get a third-party app SDK for the existing Apple TVs, perhaps next year. That will set the stage for the next generation hardware, which may still be less of a TV and more of a powerful set-top box. Then comes a deal with someone like Comcast, which will Apple will try to use as leverage to get other cable companies in line with their undoubtedly strict terms. And then perhaps actual television hardware.

In other words, the iPhone strategy.

That’s the easiest way I see all this happening, but it won’t be as “easy” as it was with the carriers because the cable guys are all regional and have de-facto monopolies over their regions. In other words, it’s going to be even hard to negotiate with them.

I’m going to break my rule of not linking to The Wall Street Journal (actually, I won’t — I’ll link to Techmeme linking to it, which will get around the paywall anyway) to link to this gem of an article.

And by “gem”, I mean “total shitshow”.

After a few paragraphs about the Maps situation which are then cast aside as irrelevant (only to be brought up later on), we get a few paragraphs that simply make no sense. The words are English, but they lack the fabric of reason to tie them together.

In summary:

Apple’s television goals will may fail because content owners mostly want one fully open system. Like now but not. Or else DISH network with skipping ads. And Apple will change to access. But won’t. While becoming Microsoft two years ago. Maps, closed. Enemies, ads, e-commerce. Netscape with. The Justice Department and HTML5, which Apple is using to subvert Apple. Pipes!

It goes on with more such gobbledygook, believe it or not. I can’t recall ever reading such a relatively short piece that was such a mess in terms of being all over the place. And this was in the paper yesterday.

Hope you took drugs before you read it.