On Apple TV, Again

March 16, 2014

An “Apple TV Proper” is one of those mythical Apple concepts that refuses to die, and every few months it seems we’re revisiting it only to find not terribly much has changed. Yes, Apple could make a great TV, mostly because owning the whole package would hopefully mean less remotes and confusing menus (supposedly, Steve Jobs “cracked it.”) But as always, the content rights holders continue to “resist” making an Apple TV all it could be.

The last situation is really what makes me doubtful that an “Apple TV Proper” will see the light of day. iTunes wouldn’t have been the success it was without the major labels on board, and the streaming iTunes Match was delayed until the ducks were more or less in line.

And having enough content is key. Trying to find something decent to watch on Apple TV or Roku etc. for that matter, is still a frustrating experience, as it’s all segmented into “channels” so you have to remember what’s where and if you have access to said content.

The other interesting wrinkle is that the Apple TV box is doing pretty darned well on its own. And a box is more easily and readily upgradeable than a much more pricey all-in-one television.

So what might be Apple’s next move? I still return to the idea of apps, and strengthening the bond between iDevices. Games could come to the Apple TV, and an iPad or iPhone used as a controller. And I don’t recall anybody pushing Microsoft for an “XBOX TV proper” or Sony for a television with a built-in PlayStation.

Apple could continue with a “box” and do just fine if not better, than entering the crappy margin business of televisions properĀ (at least until Apple TV apps becomes a success, which in that case, we’ll revisit this whole subject a year or so from now…).

But one last thought: Still think it’s odd that the Apple Thunderbolt Display hasn’t been refreshed in like, forever. Especially with the new Mac Pro’s release. Another possibility: a new 4K Thunderbolt Display with Apple TV built in – but it won’t be called “Apple TV Proper.” If people want to use it as a TV great, if not it’s a ginormous, gorgeous Mac Pro display. This might be a way for Apple to test the waters of TV without actually admitting as such – appropriate for a “hobby.”