Ever since Steve Jobs biography revealed that he felt that he had finally cracked integrated Television sets, there has been chatter that Apple will release iOS based television sets as early as this year.
It has been speculated that Apple could launch the television set as early as the end of the year or early next year. Earlier in the week, an analyst claimed that Apple Television set is already in “full production”.
However, Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports that according to a new research note by Pacific Crest’s Andy Hargreaves that it seems very unlikely that Apple will launch a television set, at least in the near term based on his meeting with Apple’s Peter Oppenheimer and Eddy Cue, Apple Senior Vice President for Internet services and software.
An Apple Television Appears Extremely Unlikely in the Near-term
Relative to the television market, Eddy Cue, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services, reiterated the company’s mantra that it will enter markets where it feels it can create great customer experiences and address key problems. The key problems in the television market are the poor quality of the user interface and the forced bundling of pay TV content, in our view. While Apple could almost certainly create a better user interface, Mr. Cue’s commentary suggested that this would be an incomplete solution from Apple’s perspective unless it could deliver content in a way that is different from the current multichannel pay TV model.
Unfortunately for Apple and for consumers, acquiring rights for traditional broadcast and cable network content outside of the current bundled model is virtually impossible because the content is owned by a relatively small group of companies that have little interest in alternative models for their most valuable content. The differences in regional broadcast content and the lack of scale internationally also create significant hurdles that do not seem possible to cross at this point.
It is quite possible that Apple is trying to mislead the analysts, but we’ve heard several reports, which indicate that Apple wants to offer unbundled channels and more options including time shifting to watch content, but content providers are hesitant to change.
We’ve also heard that Apple is seeking a less radical path to expand in television than it has contemplated in the past and is negotiating with cable operators to use Apple TV type device as a set-top box, which could offer cloud-based DVR, iPad-like UI and social media features.
Whether Apple changes its model to suit content providers, or waits for its TV platform to become really popular, compelling providers to hop on to the platform, is something that we’ll know in the coming years.