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.
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…
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.
Tim Cook, to NBC News’ Brian Williams.
Yeah, that’s about as close to a confirmation of the project as you’re going to get out of Apple…
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.
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.
The Time Warner Cable COO said they would be open to giving up control of the user interface to Apple devices but don't want “to give up the customer relationship”. I don't understand. I still pay Verizon to use my iPhone; wouldn't I still pay Time Warner to use my Apple TV? What does he mean by "customer relationship"?
Asked by Anonymous
I believe he means subscriber data. This probably stems from the fact that Apple took control of this from magazine/newspaper publishers with Newsstand and others are worried they’d try to control it elsewhere.
But I think you’re right, it’s more likely Apple will partner with the cable companies as they did with the cellular ones. And if that’s the case, those companies would retain the customer relationship.
Based on one story from The Globe And Mail, there are a lot of interesting new thoughts about the supposed Apple Television today. The big question: will Apple partner with any of the cable companies for the product?
Based on everything we’ve seen in the space the past several years, I think they have to. The question is: will it be more like the initial iPhone partnerships (exclusive to one carrier in the U.S.) or the early iPad partnerships (multiple carrier options or the option to do no carrier at all)?
As I wrote back in April of last year:
The only real problem for Apple in getting into the game would be the cable companies’ monopolies on the local level. Unlike the carriers, which are nationwide, the cable companies dominate their regions and there’s often little competition (which is, of course, bullshit and the government are cowards for allowing this to continue).
Let’s say Apple teamed up with one of the cable companies, like Comcast. They would likely have to do an exclusive deal with them to get them to bend to some of their demands (like getting rid of their shitty cable boxes in favor of a built-in Apple control guide). This is why Apple was exclusively with AT&T all that time. But not everyone can get Comcast. So the market would be limited.
As opposed to what, exactly?
I personally think the key to iTV success will be the sales figures for Altoids next year.
The smoke around the Apple Television continues to billow, ever-thicker. But this latest report by Jessica Vascellaro and Sam Schechner for The Wall Street Journal sure makes it seem as if things are still in the fairly early stages. It sounds like Apple is putting a lot of options out there in their talks with the media companies to see what sticks.
If that’s correct, I say there’s no way we see an Apple Television until mid-2013 at the earliest. But perhaps Apple is farther along and is just holding their cards really close to the vest (likely knowing that the media industry is just about the worst when it comes to the leaking of information).
But despite years of skepticism by many, I continue to believe this is happening. You don’t have to look past this paragraph in the WSJ piece to realize why:
The pace of change puts media companies that make TV shows and program TV channels in a dilemma. On one hand, they hope that they can increase their profits by selling new services on new devices. But they are worried that a proliferation of new services could undermine the existing TV business, which brings in more than $150 billion a year in the U.S. in advertising and consumer spending on monthly TV subscriptions from cable, satellite and telecommunications companies.
They’re throttling innovation so as not to disturb their current cash cows. That’s not a winning strategy, it’s a losing one. And someone is going to come along and hand their asses to them eventually. It may be Apple, or it may be someone who can do it sooner.