Apple could use some good news. It seems things are going downhill on every front. Mac sales have slowed. Ditto for iPhone and iPad. Apple won’t say how many Watches have been sold. Revenue and profits are down, too.
What about Apple TV? As usual, Apple doesn’t comment much on Apple TV but I see things looking up for Apple’s stepchild hobby. AT&T’s new DirecTV Now streaming television service is available on Apple TV as an application, and there’s a deal that gets you a free Apple TV if you pay a few months in advance. Apps now number a few thousand, and other than local news, there’s not much you get on cable TV that you won’t find with something similar on Apple TV.
Remember Turner Classic Movies? Yeah, it’s the black and white channel somewhat buried in your cable TV guide. TCM just launched FilmStruck, a new movie subscription service, available on Apple TV before hitting Roku or Chromecast (or whatever Google is calling it these days) next year, and then PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One later.
How much? $6.99 a month. What you get is a library of movies you probably won’t find anywhere else, including hundreds of arthouse, foreign, indie, and cult movies.
That means Apple TV moves slowly to what Kate MacKenzie says is the holy grail of TV watching.
All content, on any device, all the time.
Personally, I don’t see that happening any time soon and maybe not forever, but Apple tends to play a long game so if the numbers of viewers are there, then you can be sure content will follow.
What I found interesting about this on demand theory– all content, on any device, all the time— is that some people think they’re already there with iTunes content. Nothing could be further from the truth.
iTunes, even with season passes, does not have the selection of what is available on most cable TV fare. I pay a bit over $100 a month to my cable TV company and that gets me internet access and a few hundred TV channels. Most of the channels are crap, but with a DVR we can binge watch more TV shows and movies than we could get on iTunes for the same money each month.
True, nobody wants to pay the cable TV company because they bundle television networks that you may not watch and their customer service ranks just above used car sales and congress, but for sheer volume of TV watching, they’re hard to beat.
Apple TV seems to be moving in the right direction albeit as slow as molasses or the glacial time between Chicago Cubs World Series wins. We all want much the same thing. More choice, less money. That requirement may never have the math to back it up. DirecTV Now is much like cable TV from a decade or two ago, except it streams on most any device and requires an account and internet connection, but the visual fare is much the same, and when you add it all together, you still pay a similar and familiar amount.
Apple TV improves every year so Apple’s long game might turn out well for those of us who demand all content, on any device, all the time, but we’re not there yet.