Tim Bajarin: Apple to polish Apple TV set-top box rather than release Apple-branded TV set

“Over the last two weeks, Apple has made some very important — and to us long time Apple watchers, curious — moves. It added Hulu to the Apple TV lineup and let Amazon release its instant video streaming app for the iPad,” Tim Bajarin writes for PC Magazine. “I say that this is a curious move because these products compete directly with Apple’s own iTunes store and, in theory, will impact its services revenue.”

“While Apple could still make a physical TV, I think this move incorporating Hulu and Amazon is very telling of Apple’s future TV strategy,” Bajarin writes. “The key here is that for Apple’s current TV device to make money, it needs content. By biting the bullet and offering competing services to iTunes, the value proposition of an Apple TV device rises. Apple can now accelerate its TV plans through areas it excels in, namely software and human interfaces.”

Bajarin writes, “I believe that it can do all that it wants to do in these areas through an external box that connects to a TV and delivers iTunes and its cloud services.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. the way samsung and others sell smart TV’s i’m not surprised. some family bought a samsung smart TV. except that in that specific model samsung didn’t include the Wifi adapter, only in the higher end model.

    so now they have a choice of buying a $50-$100 accessory or a box like the apple tv or roku

    1. It makes sense in many ways. The existing AppleTV is so much more than just an OTT box. It is the doorway to a burgeoning cord cutter world. I have both an AppleTV and a Roku. The AppleTV with HULU and Amazon is a much better device than the Roku, and I haven’t looked back since cutting the cord. My 50 in flat screen is seldom used these days. I tend to watch TV/Movies on my iPad or my iMac. I cannot imagine what Apple could do to a television to make it better unless they built a comparable service to TiVO and somehow made it better than TiVO.

  2. Is this what Steve Jobs figured out shortly before his passing when he said “I finally cracked it!”?

    Not some revolutionary designed slash computer OS integrated new hardware TV product. Not some revolutionary interface?

    ‘I finally cracked it!’ is supposed to mean more added content services on iTunes to enhance the $99.00 AppleTV black box?! wtf? (sorry for the language folks, but HAD to say that!)

    1. I think SJ figured out that you need to sell content with dedicated apps instead of channels or bundles.

      Naturally, it would all be wrapped up in an intuitive Apple interface.

      And naturally, the content providers are still the major roadblock.

  3. If this is true, I think this is the right choice for Apple.

    Too many negatives, not many positives.

    ATV is already the bridge between your Apple kit and the big screen, do they really have to make the big screen also? I don’t think so.

  4. That’s what many of us have been saying all along. I don’t use the crappy internet options on my Blu-Ray player or my HDTV. Apple TV is the link to the user experience and content. The HDTV set, itself, is just a commodity. Apple TV provides the networking and the software upgradability. The HDTV is simply a display.

    Admittedly, Apple did successfully integrate a computer and display in the iMac line. Unless the iMac grows to HDTV dimensions, however, I do not see the same integration benefits for televisions. Just keep the HDTV dumb and strap on the smarts with an Apple TV (or competitor, like Roku).

  5. All the more reason that there will be huge fanfare and demand for a dedicated/designated Apple TV set. Apple users wouldn’t have to shop for (and be fustrated by obscured industry specs) ‘best’ flat screen TVs anymore… Apple will make the highest quality, slickest, best flat screen TV and killer integrating user interface, possible.
    Availabe as Apple TV standalone box or TV Integrating Console.

  6. Apple could make a branded TV that uses some sort of user-interchangeable circuit board or USB interface to update the ATV smart part just like the cable companies offer cable card tuners. (Of course, Apple wouldn’t do that because they don’t like consumers changing anything on their own). Having the Apple smart TV get out of date every couple of years doesn’t make sense at all. I like to keep my TVs at least ten years.

    Whatever. I’m staying away from any Apple TV and going with an HD TV of my choice and a Mac Mini running Plex software and EyeTV. That’s about as good as it gets for me.

  7. Good for Apple. They’re better off leaving it as a set top box rather than trying to create an integrated unit and then letting the TV manufacturers develop the screens as inexpensively as possible, and then letting Apple create a quality product running quality software to display on those screens.

  8. Tim Cook at D10 on Apple TV: “Well I love the product. But I think Apple TV is more something that you keep pulling the string to see where it takes [us] … ” (got caught off by rude interviewer)

    (They’re making a TV)

  9. The problem with TVs is that there is a lot of variety of offer. Can Apple ever stand out from the masses with this type of product? Also could they get it into the shops that sell them?

    The AppleTV approach works well. It’s affordable, offers good access to multiple types of content and has a small footprint so can be easily added to an existing system.

    In many ways the best approach to getting traction in the TV market is to offer an internal version to manufacturers. If Apple offered the AppleTV setup to them for $50-75 it would not increase unit cost too much and take the risk out for Apple

    Not very Apple like but unless they come up with a paradigm shift with their TV solution and offer a variety of sizes I can’t see them making an impact.

    FWIW I have 2 AppleTVs (one each of the last 2 generations) and love them.

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