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.
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.
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.