Television isn’t cheap, either, but the selection– with the right cable TV provider– can give you access to many hundreds of channels and that brings with many tens of thousands of movie and TV show selections. And, with a DVR that can record September, TV watching has never been better.
So, where’s Apple in the television industry? Pretty much where Apple was in the television industry about a decade ago when it introduced Apple TV. Expectations for Apple’s foray into television have always been higher than reality, and, again, not much has changed in nearly 10 years.
Through those years we’ve heard Apple would manufacture a television. Even Gene Munster gave up on that ghost. No Apple television. Why not? Apple doesn’t have anything it can bring to the TV party except higher prices and the television industry is a commodity industry where hardly anyone makes any money.
Apple likes to make a difference, yes, but they really truly madly love to make money.
The latest iteration of Apple TV is an improvement over previous models and comes with one important difference. Apps. An app platform. That alone has killed Apple’s chances of doing much more with television than selling boxes full of apps and running a TV app store.
All the smart networks are using their own apps to bypass Apple’s desire to become an online cable TV company and they stream their own channels via their own apps. On Apple’s devices. And everyone else’s devices.
Again, Apple has been left out in the cold.
What should Apple do? Since the company hasn’t taken my advice to buy up the world’s television and movie industries, about all that’s left is an anemic attempt at replacing TV Guide. Somebody at Apple figured out that all these TV network apps, and the number is growing, presents a problem that maybe Apple can solve.
An Apple TV TV guide. Instead of rummaging around through a few dozen Apple TV apps to find out what’s on, an Apple TV Guide would display everything available everywhere on Apple TV apps. Open one app, browse around, find what you want to watch, then open that network’s app on Apple TV and stream until the cows come home.
There’s already precedent for this on Apple TV. Remember back when, Apple TV’s network apps required you to sign onto each one with your local cable TV account? Now, a ‘single sign-on’ system is on the way. Sign in once, and whatever Apple TV apps match your local cable TV provider can be accessed.
In a way, this entire scenario is sad. The once high and mighty Apple, king of music downloads, the savior of the music industry, has found itself ‘jumping the shark‘ and losing out to streaming music and streaming TV, thanks to the app platforms it created; wallowing on the side of the road as the very platform it built– Apple TV– becomes a feast for television programmers and networks, bypassing Apple completely.
An Apple TV Guide is a good idea, yes, and I look forward to seeing in the Apple TV update later this year. But it’s a far cry from industry domination that Apple had with music.