Apple Plots Its TV Assault

  • Posted: 18 December 2011 10:03 PM #1

    The other Mac-Media sites are weighing in on the Sunday report, as written by the usually credible WSJ.  I hope this story has legs.  Content is King though, so let’s hope this time the meetings between Apple executives and Media honchos produce more than talk (Les Moonves of CBS sounds like a “no” in an earlier report here

    http://www.macrumors.com/2011/12/18/apple-gives-media-executives-vague-hints-about-its-television-plans/

         
  • Posted: 19 December 2011 01:40 AM #2

    Thanks, Mercel.

    Though, I’d be surprised if this boosts the stock price.  Everybody knows that Android has won the smartphone war and Amazon rules the tablet space.  Apple’s move into television is obviously born of desperation.

         
  • Posted: 19 December 2011 01:56 AM #3

    capablanca - 19 December 2011 05:40 AM

    Thanks, Mercel.

    Though, I’d be surprised if this boosts the stock price.  Everybody knows that Android has won the smartphone war and Amazon rules the tablet space.  Apple’s move into television is obviously born of desperation.

    You’re probably right.  Oh, the irony:  The WSJ breaks a story on Steve Jobs’ pet project and the stock does nothing.  Yet, Digitimes can leak unsubstantiated rumors about production cutbacks (refuted later by more credible sources) and AAPL drops $10-$20 bucks.

         
  • Posted: 19 December 2011 02:23 AM #4

    I agree with Jim Dalrymple’s take on the WSJ story:

    This is going to be big. Even though its competition has warning of Apple?s plans, I don?t think they understand the scope of Apple?s plans.

         
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    Posted: 19 December 2011 10:58 AM #5

    PED weighs in on what it all means for the TV industry

    http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/category/apple-2-0/

    All this talk about an Apple-branded TV set may be missing the point

    The once and future Apple TV? Photo: Apple Inc.
    Reading between the lines of the Wall Street Journal’s story Monday about Apple’s “assault” on the TV business, you can almost hear the desperation of the media executives who asked Apple (AAPL) to brief them on exactly what the wizards of Cupertino are up to.
    These media executive—which included, presumably, Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. (NWS) owns the Journal—are reported to be worried about what’s going to happen to the $150 billion a year the existing TV business generates in the U.S. alone?from?advertising and monthly cable TV subscriptions.
    They should be worried. That pipeline of cash—extracted from viewers through monopoly cable pricing and intrusive ads that nobody wants to watch—is ripe for disruption by the same technology that hollowed out the music business a decade earlier. Case in point:?Three hours after the season finale of Homeland was piped to Showtime’s 20 million paying customers Sunday night, digital copies of the show were available for downloading or streaming through BitTorrent, the peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol by which hundreds of millions of viewers around the world watch TV’s most popular shows—free and free of ads—on their computers.
    No wonder the Murdochs of the world want to know what Steve Jobs had in mind when he told his biographer that he had “finally cracked” the TV problem. Could he have been preparing to do for the TV conglomerates what he did—for good or ill—to the music labels?
    Conventional wisdom has it that Apple is working on a full-blown TV set, but there’s nothing in Monday’s Journal story that actually says that. In fact, the story quotes one unnamed source familiar with the media executives’ briefings who said that the types of new services Apple is discussing “could be done with Apple’s existing technologies, which include its Apple TV set-top box.” (emphasis ours)
    Which brings us, as it often does, to Horace Dediu’s analysis of the situation. In a post published a week ago entitled “Hiding in plain sight,” he pointed out that nearly all of Apple’s most disruptive products have been sustaining improvements on existing?products, technologies or platforms. For example:
    The iPad is an evolution of the iPod touch
    The iPod touch is an evolution of the iPhone
    The iPhone uses OS X and Objective C from the Mac
    OS X came from NeXT
    The app store market model came out of the iTunes store
    The iTunes store came from iTunes which came first to the Mac as a media sync tool for the iPod
    etc.
    This, and the fact (as Steve Jobs himself reminded his 100 top staffers last year) that making TV sets is a low-margin, slow-turnover business, leads Dediu to conclude that the Apple TV that everybody is speculating about is the Apple TV the company is already selling. In his words:
    “A?wonderfully asymmetric product begging to be ignored. A product that because of its apparent lack of success, effectively hides all its secrets in plain sight.”

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  • Posted: 19 December 2011 02:00 PM #6

    The key item, the one big thing that Apple needs to throw into the mix to ignite the Apple TV revolution is a way to bypass the dumb pipe monopolies.  If Apple adds a direct iTunes wireless access capability to Apple TV, such as satellite (not likely) or a WiMax-like service it is effectively “game over” for the dumb pipes and their consumer abusive business models.  It would be an end to channels, an end to bundling, an end to throttling, an end to charging extra for things like HD and “on demand” programming.  I believe that’s what Apple is waiting for and why they are hoarding massive amounts of cash.  It’s coming.  You can iCal me.

    [ Edited: 19 December 2011 07:33 PM by Zeke ]      
  • Posted: 19 December 2011 02:41 PM #7

    Fascinating comment Zeke!  I have never thought about these options.

         
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    Posted: 19 December 2011 04:58 PM #8

    Mercel - 19 December 2011 06:23 AM

    I agree with Jim Dalrymple’s take on the WSJ story:

    This is going to be big. Even though its competition has warning of Apple?s plans, I don?t think they understand the scope of Apple?s plans.

    As you would, Mercel.  As you would.  smile

    But the more I think about the Apple HDTV, and knowing that SJ through his bio put the entire world on notice - and also knowing that current HDTV interfaces totally suck - I’m looking forward to Apple’s semi-hobby.  I’d probably buy one too.

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  • Posted: 19 December 2011 11:24 PM #9

    Agree with Zeke, the iTV is worthless unless it allows people to bypass the cable companies. Even if it is over the internet, I think it would be fine if Apple has subscription plans in place for me to get all my content.

    I also believe Apple will eventually build out their own “5G” network. Imagine the possibilities if every iPhone, Mac, iPad was always connected to the internet, removing the need for a cell phone provider, internet provider, cable provider, etc. Hell Apple’s cash is earning nothing, spend some of it to build out a network. No reason to buy anything other than Apple hardware if it removes the need to subscribe to a cell plan, internet, cable tv. Even if Apple charged users $99 or $49 a month, it would be a bargain and a no-brainer.

         
  • Posted: 19 December 2011 11:30 PM #10

    Red Shirted Ensign Your explanation on ipod and iphone is very clear. I like it very much.

         
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    Posted: 19 December 2011 11:42 PM #11

    WillyPitt - 20 December 2011 03:24 AM

    Hell Apple’s cash is earning nothing, spend some of it to build out a network. No reason to buy anything other than Apple hardware if it removes the need to subscribe to a cell plan, internet, cable tv. Even if Apple charged users $99 or $49 a month, it would be a bargain and a no-brainer.

    It will be a fine, sunny, and happy day when I can sever the vacuum pump that connects AT&T / RCN to my wallet and toss the TV remote control in the trash. You need a crytography degree to decipher that thing.

    I know nothing about how the telecom industry is engineered. Could someone shed some light on what it would take to actually “build a network”? Are we talking about towers, cabling, working with local governments to get tower permits, hiring and training an army of techs to come to your house when there’s trouble? I keep hearing the suggestion that Apple just build a network, but it sounds like a gargantuan undertaking. Is this something that would cost billions and billions of dollars, or would cause Apple to spin off a separate company?

         
  • Posted: 20 December 2011 12:01 AM #12

    Apple could simply buy Sprint/Clearwire and get a wireless network that is partially built out in the US and Europe.  They would gain licenses for spectrum that would reach about 70% of the people in the US and Europe.  Clearwire’s wireless WiMax network has 15 mbps real world speed with a range of several miles.

    It would take about $8.5 B to buy both companies.

         
  • Posted: 20 December 2011 11:51 AM #13

    WillyPitt - 20 December 2011 03:24 AM

    Agree with Zeke, the iTV is worthless unless it allows people to bypass the cable companies. Even if it is over the internet, I think it would be fine if Apple has subscription plans in place for me to get all my content.

    I also believe Apple will eventually build out their own “5G” network. Imagine the possibilities if every iPhone, Mac, iPad was always connected to the internet, removing the need for a cell phone provider, internet provider, cable provider, etc. Hell Apple’s cash is earning nothing, spend some of it to build out a network. No reason to buy anything other than Apple hardware if it removes the need to subscribe to a cell plan, internet, cable tv. Even if Apple charged users $99 or $49 a month, it would be a bargain and a no-brainer.

    Interesting thought:  What if Apple devices WERE the network?  How about a mesh network of all Apple devices within range?  I work with mesh systems now.  It’s possible to do.

         
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    Posted: 20 December 2011 02:58 PM #14

    For those who can’t wait for the “real” Apple TV can buy this TV mount, it appears as an ad in this forum.

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  • Posted: 21 December 2011 09:57 AM #15

    Zeke - 19 December 2011 06:00 PM

    The key item, the one big thing that Apple needs to throw into the mix to ignite the Apple TV revolution is a way to bypass the dumb pipe monopolies.  If Apple adds a direct iTunes wireless access capability to Apple TV, such as satellite (not likely) or a WiMax-like service it is effectively “game over” for the dumb pipes and their consumer abusive business models.  It would be an end to channels, an end to bundling, an end to throttling, an end to charging extra for things like HD and “on demand” programming.  I believe that’s what Apple is waiting for and why they are hoarding massive amounts of cash.  It’s coming.  You can iCal me.

    It’s a very ambitious idea, even for Apple. 

    I think Apple can do very well if they can decode the cable boxes to unify the user interface, thereby empowering the user en masse to force change on how we consume content.  By making it supremely EASY to choose between Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, cable, local channels et al, with your finger (or voice), Apple removes the effort of selecting content from multiple sources, thereby weakening Comcast’s grip.  Comcast becomes just another input, albeit an important one.  There’s currently too much reliance on the cable providers for content and it’s largely by habit and technology (i.e. user interface) they maintain dominant.  Apple’s iTV can change this by building a complete solution, not yet another appendage to our existing TVs. 

    The alternative of gaining control of the “dumb pipes” as you suggest seems to favor satellite from the standpoint of it having worldwide reach without the balkanization of more terrestrial alternatives.