The Apple TV Box is Pointless

New Apple TV 4K Siri Remote

The Apple TV, even the recently updated model, is pointless in its current form and price. That’s the view of Bloomberg News‘s Mark Gurman in his latest newsletter. I find it hard to disagree.

Apple, known for its closed ecosystem, is even embracing the shift by offering many services on smart TVs and boxes made by competitors. Those services include iTunes movie and TV rentals, the Apple TV app, Apple TV+, Apple Music and AirPlay. Of course, that was intentional on the part of Apple, which sought new revenue sources when iPhone sales slowed around 2018. That made the Apple TV a mostly pointless accessory, and consumers seem to agree: 2020 data from Strategy Analytics found that the Apple TV holds 2% of the streaming device market. The product isn’t without its benefits, though, for the Apple ecosystem’s most loyal users. Integration with HomeKit, Fitness+, AirPods and the iOS remote app is useful. The new remote control and faster chip in this year’s version are definite improvements, and the box is getting SharePlay and Spatial Audio support later this year. Still, I don’t see these enhancements moving the needle for most people. For further reading, check out how to set up your Apple TV 4K.

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14 thoughts on “The Apple TV Box is Pointless

  • He’s right – for “most people” (i.e. non-Apple users, people who don’t care about Apple Arcade, etc.) the Apple TV is less appealing than a Roku, Chromecast, FireTV or built-in Smart TV functionality – and is drastically more expensive.

    And there is some appeal to the Apple TV, as he notes. It works pretty well, it’s better integrated into the Apple ecosystem than other alternatives, and it’s a good standalone Apple Arcade box.

  • I use it for a Homekit Hub. I guess people say that is worthless as well. However, Homekit allows me to block third-party smart home devices from accessing the internet without having to rely on inconvenient virtual lans. Most people probably have written off Homekit as well.

    Plus I have a television monitor… No tuner and not very smart at all. It isn’t even connected to the internet.

  • Pointless? Hardly. Not everyone has, or wants, as “smart” TV, like the type that has been proven to spy on its users habits’ (hello, Samsung), litters its interface with ads, quickly becomes obsolete or unsupported once new models are introduced, or has a limited app marketplace compared to Apple’s ecosystem. Apple’s home strategy has suffered from lack of focus, and misses having an internal champion to drive it forward, which has affected its products, but the AppleTV is still one of the better choices for a streaming box, even if it hasn’t achieved much market success. Roku and Vizio have both admitted, and their financials have shown that going forward, they’re not in the hardware or entertainment business, they’re in the ad and data mining business, joining the likes of Google and Facebook. Apple’s recent moves have brought questions about its stance on privacy, but it is still the most palatable option for anyone who cares about the subject, at least for the time being. What is pointless is that a rumor monger thinking anyone should take his opinions seriously.

    1. Yeah. My “smart” LG seemed to be reporting back to, well, lots of places. I turned the “smart” features off. Apple TV seems to report back only to Apple, and they at least exhibit concern about the privacy of their users, unlike most streaming servers.

  • My TV has a Roku built in. I can get all the streaming channels I want on it. Tor the few situations when I can’t, like if I rent a movie from iTunes, I just plug my iPad into the TV. AppleTV is irrelevant for me.

  • For me, it has nothing to do with Apple’s original content. It has everything to do with the Apple TV’s interface speed, smoothness, intuitive nature, AirPlay performance, picture quality, and quality of the interface. Whenever I go back to using another smart TV interface (Roku, Google, Sony, etc), it really is apparent how terrible those interfaces are compared to Apple.

    1. This. For me it’s about Apple’s interface. It’s smooth, responsive and easy to use. I wish Apple just license tvOS to LG or someone else. I’d buy one of those.

  • I have a non-smart TV, which works perfectly well, thank you very much. I have a 1st gen model which is the only way to get streaming content on my TV, so when it dies, I’ll likely get another Apple TV. What really makes Apple TV irrelevant, is the inane content they are producing. I’m sure there is a certain “California” perspective that appeals to them, but very little appeals to me.

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