The new version of Apple TV will go on sale on Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said yesterday while suggesting that it’s only the start of something that will get much bigger. “The first thing that has to be done when you buy a house is lay the foundation,” he said.
Cook was speaking at WSJDLive, the Wall Street Journal’s technology conference in Laguna Beach, Calif., where he also revealed that Apple Music has 15 million users at present — and 6.5 million of them are paying for it. The others are still on Apple’s 3-month free trial.
Stressing that “it’s all about the apps,” the latest Apple TV box will come in 32 and 64 gigabyte models retailing at $149 and $199, respectively. Announced improvements over the current model include a new tvOS, the voice-enabled Siri Remote and a search function that will find movies or TV shows across services including content apps such as iTunes and Netflix.
“‘I've never been so confident that it’s the foundation of the future of TV,’ Cook said,” reports Engadget’s Nicole Lee, “adding that the current way we watch television is broken. With the ability to record shows and watch them on-demand, there's really even no need for a traditional ‘channel’ anymore. ‘Linear TV is going away … this model has outlived its usefulness.’”
“Cook touted Apple Music's benefits over rivals like Spotify, which has 20 million paying users,” points out CNET’s Shara Tibken.
“We have music experts, just like the DJ when we were growing up … that are deciding what's next,” Cook said. “And it gives you a feeling that there are no words in my vocabulary to describe … It brings the art back in music.”
“Did all those 6.5 million subscribers intend to pay for Apple Music, though? Everyone signing up for the free trial agreed to an automatic subscription payment kicking in three months later, unless they cancelled it in the meantime,” points out Stuart Dredge for the Guardian.
“Cook did not comment on numerous rumors and reports that Apple is preparing to build its own car, but suggested that it could make further strides into the market beyond its current, limited efforts,” James Titcomb reports for theTelegraph.
“It would seem like there will be massive change in that industry, massive change,” he said. “You may not agree with that. That’s what I think. When I look at the automobile, what I see is that software becomes an increasingly important part of the car of the future. You see that autonomous driving becomes much more important.”
Cook also “asserted his opposition to back doors in data encryption meant to allow intelligence agencies to sneak through, minutes after NSA director Admiral Michael Rogers acknowledged a balance that needed to be struck between safeguarding user privacy and an ability to identify security threats,” in an earlier interview at WSJDLive, Bloomberg’s Eric Newcomer reports.
As for the Watch, Cook said that customer satisfaction numbers were “off the charts … like 97%.” “They love the health and fitness portion of it,” in particular, he indicated, as well as notifications, payments and the ability to control devices such as cameras and TVs. “I can’t go anywhere without mine, and it’s not because I’m the CEO of Apple.”
WSJ reporters live-blogged Cooks’s chat with its editor, Gerard Baker, who had stated that he himself didn’t find the Watch “indispensable.”
“This was definitely the clearest statement I’ve heard yet on Tim Cook’s vision of Apple’s role in the world,” Geoff Fowler typed shortly after Cook summarized some issues the company is involved with — the environment, human rights — by saying, “Our culture is to leave the world better than we found it.”
Not that it isn’t deeply rooted in its co-founder’s original mission.
“Steve formed Apple to change the world,” Cook said. “This was his vision. He wanted to give technology to everyone and empower everyone to use it. He wanted to take it out of the glass house and the big corporations, the rich people that had the technology and sort of bring it to people and empower them to do great things. We still have this. That is still our drive.”