The (Probably Never) Coming Excitement Of AppleTV

I’m not much of an Apple lover, which probably is due to my aversion to the big dogs in any category. To me, Apple products  seem overpriced and over-loved, devices that are beautifully streamlined at the expense of functionality. Oh, so sleek looking! Well, so is a spatula, and you can buy a pretty good one at a dollar store.

So that’s a severe chip on my shoulder, admittedly, and it causes me to be ever doubtful about Apple TV.

Apple’s very long reticence to do anything very special with Apple TV has been done with a kind of stinky dismissiveness. Steve Jobs called Apple TV “a hobby” and that was nearly a decade ago.  

It seems it’s still not gotten out of the basement workshop.

But true believers still hold out hope, apparently, that Apple has some big vision thing for its TV vision thing. On Tuesday on an earnings call, CEO Tim Cook once again tantalized analysts with wonder.

According to Business Insider, Cook has “has gotten their hopes up again.”

The story continues: “During Apple's quarterly earnings conference call on Tuesday, Cook gave an interesting answer to a question about Apple's plans for TV and video content:

"The introduction of Apple TV and TV OS last October and the subsequent OS releases and what’s coming out this fall... think of that as sort of building the foundation for what we believe can be a broader business over time. I don’t want to be more precise than that. But you shouldn’t look at what’s there today and think we've done what we want to do. We’ve built a foundation that we think we can do something bigger off of."

That’s where the quote ends, possibly because reporters couldn’t hear him over the roar of the Mack truck that came smashing through his office right about then.

It just might be that Apple doesn’t have a better idea. Apple does best when it creates a product for a market nobody's quite sure exists. That impetus created the iPad and then, because that seemed to be a good fresh idea, it left space for what amounted to brand extensions, like slightly larger, or smaller, iPads.

But TV has been around since (and actually before) the 1939 World’s Fair, so the fun of invention has been experienced. And Roku, Chromecast and Amazon do pretty much what Apple TV is doing, so it’s been left to tinker around the edges.

“The real hope is that Apple would completely re-invent the television, the way that it reinvented cell phones with the iPhone,” said a Reuters piece  with a tone that led me to believe the author was fighting back tears.  “But year after year, despite analyst forecasts, Apple has disappointed those waiting for the big TV play.”

The most recent disappointment has been Apple’s rumored attempts to package its own collection of content makers, including networks and local stations, a new, for-the-21st-century subscription service. But that’s nowhere, probably for the same kind of licensing headaches that have killed that idea  for others.

 Maybe it starts making its own stuff. That would be something, but not exactly a new something. 

There are now so many ways to retrieve content it would be hard to believe Apple could create anything that in any real way would be revolutionary; right now its major contribution seems to be a really sleek remote.

What remains is for Apple to make periodic statements like Cook’s latest one, which boils down to: “Well, we’re trying our best.”

I’d say we’re about a year away from Cook resurrecting that “hobby” excuse again.
1 comment about "The (Probably Never) Coming Excitement Of AppleTV".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 27, 2016 at 12:15 p.m.

    This reminds me of a quote from Yahoo's chief honcho many years ago when he was talking about acquiring "qualit" program content and reinventing TV. When asked how he planned to go about getting such wonderful content he said something like this, "We will go to the Hollywood producers and ask for punch through programs"---with "punch through" being the operative phrase. In other words it's all really quite simple. Instead of asking for crappy shows like the TV networks and cable channels do, one simply asks for really great shows---and the producers supply them. I wonder if that's what Apple has in mind?

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