Analyst: No Apple iTV, But Expect Pandora-Like iRadio in 2013

Apple Television Not in 2013

Apple’s long-rumored television, said to be “just around the corner” for years, will not launch in 2013, according to BTIG media analyst Richard Greenfield in a media predictions report published Thursday. Mr. Greenfield believes the product is in the works, but legal concerns and content deals will keep it out of the market for at least another year.

Despite Tim Cook’s repeated statements that the television is an area of “intense interest” for Apple (see Dec. 2012 blog, click here), the mythical Apple Television is not released in 2013. The so-called “next big thing” remains hampered by concerns over the legality of the managed/specialized service exception to net neutrality rules, TV Everywhere usage restrictions and solidifying nationwide coverage/accessibility.

Further hampering Apple’s ability to get a television to market is the company’s strive for quality. Mr. Greenfield suspects that quality and user experience issues that would not stop traditional media companies from releasing a product would hold back Apple’s launch until the issues were corrected.

While Apple is focused on working with MVPD/ISPs to ensure very high quality of service and to leverage existing programming contracts, we expect at least DISH and Intel to launch over-the-top, virtual MVPD services in 2013 (will not have the same QoS that Apple is striving for).

In addition to competing services, new hardware is also expected to be released from Apple’s competitors this year. Samsung has already teased an “unprecedented TV” product that it will unveil at CES, and other manufacturers are making strides into products with new display technologies and new features, such as 4K resolution. This combination of new software streaming services and new hardware means that an eventual Apple television will enter a very different market than that which existed when Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs claimed he “finally cracked” television.

Although Mr. Greenfield has a dim outlook for a 2013 Apple television launch, he does predict that the company will finally launch its “Pandora killer” subscription radio service, which has reportedly been stalled over streaming fee negotiations with record labels.

Dubbed “iRadio” by Mr. Greenfield, the service is predicted to be incorporated into the iTunes Store App on iOS, giving listeners an easy method to make purchases as they listen. It will also offer integration with concert information and tickets, as Apple’s short-lived Ping social network attempted to do.

“iRadio” is expected to operate more like Pandora, with artist- or genre-based music streaming, than like Spotify, which offers users the ability to listen to specific songs on demand.

Although Apple no longer participates in trade shows such as CES or Macworld/iWorld, the large number of product and service announcements that surround these events may trigger a response from Apple in the near future. The Mac Observer will be on site at both CES and Macworld/iWorld and will provide coverage of all major announcements relating to Apple and its competitors.

[via BGR]