Apple working on new TV technology, say sources

“Steve Jobs is legendary for a relentless, driving style that has helped him disrupt more industries than any other chief executive of his generation,” Yukari Iwatani Kane and Jessica E. Vascellaro report for The Wall Street Journal. “The question now: Is his successor, Tim Cook, aggressive enough to muscle Apple into new turf like TV and publishing where the company hasn’t yet established a dominant foothold?”

“An immediate challenge for Mr. Cook will be to advance Apple’s plans in what is expected to be a key market for growth: digital video,” Kane and Vascellaro report. “Apple is working on new technology to deliver video to televisions, and has been discussing whether to try to launch a subscription TV service, according to people familiar with the matter.”

“Mr. Jobs often criticizes, in public and private, the experience of watching TV as clumsy and bad for consumers. But he has said the existing system, where consumers get content from different cable and satellite providers that use different technologies, makes it difficult to innovate,” Kane and Vascellaro report. “Both he and Mr. Cook have called Apple TV, a box that allows consumers to watch media from iTunes and a few other online video services, like Netflix Inc., on TVs, ‘a hobby.'”

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Kane and Vascellaro report, “In 2009, Apple tried rounding up media companies to offer a bundle of TV shows for a monthly fee through iTunes, according to people familiar with the discussions. But it tabled the talks after few showed interest… People who have worked with Mr. Cook at Apple say that he often arrives at the same conclusion as Mr. Jobs, albeit with a lower-key approach. Suppliers who have dealt with Mr. Cook’s team say he is a formidable negotiator, and his team haggles down the price of parts to the half a penny.”

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14 Comments

  1. I would love for Apple to do to the cable tv industry what it did to the music industry. Despite that I don’t use my Apple TV as much as I should. Largely because the content isn’t there and I don’t want to buy movies when I’m already paying cable fees and Netflix.

  2. The simple solution:

    Apple buys a delivery system like satellite or WiMax (Dish or Clearwire), then buys content like Disney (which would include ABC, ESPN, Touchstone, Pixar, etc.)

    1. But that’s just it, Zeke, Apple doesn’t need the content, they would rather serve as a conduit. The only content Apple is interested in, is their own.

      I agree though, if they aren’t already, Apple should be researching satellite delivery systems. There are a couple of private-sector corporations, namely the European one, who will deliver a satellite for a half-billion dollars, which includes the disposable rocket.

      Perhaps NASA might consider leasing the Space Shuttle for just such a purpose.

      I see satellites playing a major role in Apple’s future. They are, after all, the quintessential walled garden.

  3. So let me get this right, consumers get content from different providers each with differing technologies and this makes it hard to innovate?

    Unless Apple plans on bringing a system that is more open but also provides a pricing system that content providers can be happy with, then they’ll just be releasing yet another system with differing technology that supplies content to consumers.

    It may be better on some levels, and on others it may not.

    It really depends.

    1. That’s right! Innovation is dead, because ways to access the Content are as varied as snowflakes and the infrastructure amassed to govern these domains has become more prized than the content itself.

  4. What we need is A LaCarte channels, if they can provide specific channels for a decent fee or build your own channel package for decent fees it would be a win

      1. Offer ALA Cart Channels COMMERCIAL FREE, & I will pay a premium. I know not a soul who loves, much less likes their cable company. Plus my time is valuable, I do not want to waste 25 minutes of the hour watching commercials.

  5. Instead of a-la-carte channels – how about APPs that would AirPlay / HD Mirror to your AppleTV? I’m surprised more networks have not released APPs like ABC Player or HBO GO. Or more sports leagues releasing APPs like MLB @ Bat – I’d pay for a subscription to NFL or NHL to watch on my iPad / stream to my AppleTVs!

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