Apple’s Move Into Original TV Programming Will Radically Change the Whole Company

spaceship on television leaving orbit

This article at Wired just before the holidays caught my attention.

It looks innocent enough. It’s only natural that Apple, being on the verge of launching a new 4K/UHD Apple TV and having committed so much new money to hiring studio executives to create original TV content, should suddenly wake up and discover the implications of (a loss of) Net Neutrality.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Tim Cook will face a whole new set of challenges in the original TV content universe.

But now I believe the implications of Apple’s new interests are broader than even that.

Before iTunes, Apple had long been known for the company that mostly delivers us our content. In time, MacBooks, iPads, iPhones and Apple TVs emerged in what might be called the sleepy years of hardware. By that I mean that Apple made great devices for people to use and access information and entertainment created by others. Services were a side business, a hobby. Apple had no particular axe to grind except to make the very best, secure, integrated hardware and software.

I now suspect that Apple’s engagement in its own original TV content will create a new set of imperatives for the company. The Apple TV won’t be just a hobby. It will become a critical instrument in Apple’s quest to steer eyeballs its way. That means Apple will have to think about its delivery system in the context of the entire TV industry. New competitive frictions will arise.

Naturally, Apple will have to think about Net Neutrality and its corporate stance, as described above. Apple will have to think about transmission standards for video and audio and how to both play with the Big Players and also compete with them. It will have to think about how customers perceive its position in the TV electronics marketplace. It will have to think about how its reputation for building only the best products translates into standards for TV content. Like the Disney company. It will have to think about how the design and evolution of its own computers, tablets and phones support its own entertainment endeavors—perhaps in new ways.

spaceship on television leaving orbit
How far can Apple go?


Apple New Again

The sleepy years of hardware and iTunes will emerge into a company that thinks first about services and its self-created entertainment. It will still make the best hardware, but the company’s involvement in the business of entertainment will have a broad and deep influence in how the company interacts with the market as a whole.

The TV and movie industries have fought hard to make sure Apple didn’t do to them what it did to music. The question is, now, can Apple develop a new maturity, technical breadth and acumen, organizational structure and operational excellence to meet this new challenge?

And still remain true to its roots.

Next Page: The News Debris For The Week Of September 4th. Artificial intelligence at gunpoint.

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There’s a level of ignorance about how content distribution networks work. Apple has always had a reputation for the best streaming experience, BECAUSE they’ve always had their content & servers duplicated all over the world, close to consumers. So has Netflix. Net Neutrality as often discussed – why should providers have to put servers all over the place? – while a financial issue for sure, is ultimately a technical issue. Things just work better that way, always have and always will. Netflix trying to claw back that investment is a straw man argument not based in any fact. Wouldn’t it… Read more »


8K huh?

I’ve got the big flat panel smart(?) TV w/surround sound that can show the truly lame content in stunning resolution complete with even-more-lame commercials showing every 10 minutes or so. Rent or purchase a quality movie? Are there any (new ones?)

I see Apple’s produced content thus far is “Carpool Karaoke” and “Planet of the Apps.” I’m not getting it, but then I’m sure I’m not the target audience.

Android hardware is claimed to be the cat’s-ass but Apple fans (count me as one) opine that it’s the OS that is the differentiator. How is this any different?

W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

John: As one who does not watch much TV, I have a hard time getting overly excited about either streaming services or hardware (4K, 8K, 16K? – wake me up when we get to the holodeck, then I’ll be all in); however, my role of as a husband and father keeps me in the game. I purchased Comcast and Netflix upon moving my family to the US, and at the behest of my wife, purchased a then state of the art flat screen TV with surround sound. Duty sorted. Were it up to me, my iPad Pro with an internet… Read more »