Hobby time to continue?  Steve Jobs not convinced next-gen $99 Apple TV will be mainstream hit

Apple Online Store“The blogosphere has been buzzing with talk of a radically updated version of the Apple TV set-top box. It turns out Apple plans to unveil the $99 device at an event on Sept. [1],” Peter Burrows reports for BusinessWeek. “But that’s not the big video news Apple wants to impart.”

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“Rather, look for CEO Steve Jobs to focus on the ability for customers to watch their favorite TV shows and movies on their iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches, says a person familiar with the plan,” Burrows reports. “The company will announce that customers can rent many TV shows for 99 cents—the same low-enough price that convinced millions of people to buy iPods to play songs purchased from iTunes (Also, thousands of 99-cent iPhone apps helped make the iPhone a hit, by making it popular for mobile gaming and other things). And Jobs will also show off a new iPod Touch that features a high-resolution screen like the one in the iPhone 4. That’s important, because the company can now say that all of its products are capable of near-HD quality video. Rent a TV show once, and you’d be able to enjoy it on your iPhone during the morning commute, on your PC during a lunchbreak, or on your iPad after dinner.”

Burrows reports, “Making Apple TV the tail on Apple’s video strategy makes sense. Kaufman Brothers analyst Shaw Wu estimates that Apple has sold fewer than three million Apple TVs since the product was introduced three years ago. Even with the refresh, Jobs isn’t convinced the new version will be a mainstream hit, says the person familiar with Apple’s plans. Most consumers aren’t ready to cut the cord to their cable company, or put up with the tech-nastics required to stream content from the iTunes collection on their PC to their living room big-screen TV. In other words, it’s a product that at best will delight some of the “hobbyists” that have always been interested in the product.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If the thing runs iOS and is compatible with the App Store, either with iPhone and/or iPad apps or apps designed expressly for Apple TV, then it will be a success regardless of the TV show price(s) or service(s). Right now, it sounds like whatever the content owners finally allow Apple to do will simply be a footnote.

Mr. Jobs need not be unsure. Name the thing properly (for a change), price it right, and market it as “Apps on your TV” and “Boom!” it’ll be a hit product.

(Obviously, you’ll need an iPod touch or an iPhone or, best option, an iPad to get the most out of your new Apple TV or iTV or whatever they call it.)


  1. Apps, music, whatever. That’s all nice add-on stuff iTV could/will have.

    Until it allows me to stream live content (sports, news, etc…) it’s not going to break the foothold of the cable industry and Jobs knows it.

    It can’t be a game changer until the networks let Apple change the game, which will only happen after viewership drops off to record levels via pirating or just not watching… perhaps a combo of both.

    Or, Jobs can simply pull the trigger and buy Comcast in a year or so. He’ll then be the owner of roughly 40 networks that will sign onboard Apple’s new direction, and everyone else will need to cave.

  2. Have to agree with MDNs take here–if Apple can find a way to easily offer good looking HD apps very quickly and have a drop-dead simple control scheme via iPhones, iPod touches, Macs or even cheap Bluetooth controllers.

  3. @Steve and Cascadians,

    Maybe no content worthwhile, but worth it to strong-arm the studios into giving the people what they really want instead of the bundle of crap we have to buy now. Of course, it would also be a good way to get the FTC crawling all over them.

    No, Apple will play the waiting game with the studios just like they did with the music labels and after the studios finally see the handwriting on the wall (that Apple already can see), they’ll come around. I give it about 2-3 years before we can get most of the same content from Apple that we get now from Comcast, DirecTV, etc.

    I’d much rather pay Apple $50-60/mo to watch exactly (and only) the programs I want than pay DirecTV $100 for a bunch crap, most of which I have no interest in. I think I watch the same 10-15 channels, and never the other 100 or so.

  4. All the bloggers and writers who say the iTV might be compatible with existing iPhone/iPad apps is an idiot! Obviously the interface is different, so requires different apps specially made for it! Even if you use an iPhone/iPad as remote control, it still needs to be specially adapted to a TV screen which is not touch-enabled, so it’s obvious that existing apps won’t run! Duh!

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