Jim Dalrymple: The key to the Apple TV puzzle

“There is an ongoing debate about whether Apple will release a physical television or an enhanced box similar to what we have now,” Jim Dalrymple writes for The Loop. “People on both sides of the debate square off every few weeks and rehash the same arguments. Ultimately, we get nowhere, but I think that’s because nobody is asking the right question.”

“Apple has transformed itself into a problem solving company,” Dalrymple writes. “They did it with the iPhone, iPod and iPad and I think that’s what they will do when they enter the television market in a serious way.”

Dalrymple writes, “Apple will not enter a market unless it feels it can make a significant impact on the current state of the industry. They will want to provide something different than what’s currently available, something that nobody else can do. Apple has the power to do that because they think about how to solve problems first and making money second.”

Read more in the full article here.

32 Comments

  1. We’ll get an “Apple TV” when Apple can deliver a Retina screen large enough to compete with the rest of the stuff that now exists. Think 4K, people. Movies are being scanned or produced at 4K, and Apple will also deliver the media at 4K with all those new servers they’re building. And by then the pipes will be faster, too. Think different.

    1. “And by then the pipes will be faster, too.”

      Sadly, not in my neck of the woods. I’m still waiting on 6Mb to be offered. I doubt my puny 3Mb connection could swallow a 4K movie.

    2. You don’t seem to get it. Apple’s solution is not about high res. It is about content delivery when you want it with an intuitive interface. Just look at how they moved into the music industry and then the mobile industry and then the tablet market. It was never about the ‘biggest’ spec numbers. That is how the rest of the industry does ‘clueless followers’.

  2. The problems with TV:
    1. Bundling content to force content on me I don’t want.
    2. Finding the content I want.
    3. Commercials. Not only do I have to pay for the content, I also have to pay a second time with my attention to advertising.
    4. Having the content I want when I want to watch it.
    No one has successfully solved these problems with one solution. The worse part is that the entities who control TV content would consider the solution to these problems as the destruction of their business models. Apple will have to figure out a way to end run entrenched players in TV. In my view, this is the single most difficult problem Apple has ever faced, otherwise Apple would have already done it. It could be impossible. Time will tell.

    1. Apple needs to create its own content (channels). Have you seen the dreck out there that’s popular now? Honey freaking Boo Boo? Most of that crap is low budget. Here are the essential channels: travel, food, home improvement, comedy, news, sports and finance (team up with Yahoo), music, and a 24-7 hillbilly channel. That’s how you leverage negotiations with the cable providers.

    2. I think you have hit the nail on the head, Larry. Biggest issue is bundling content. I watch about five channels religiously, but one or two of these channels require me to sign on to a 125 channel package. Wholly awful. I would be HAPPY to pay more per channel but have less channels on the roster. In the end I’d be saving money. If Apple conquers ala carte then the whole world wins! I keep my fingers crossed!

      1. Wrong. The biggest problem is NOT bundling content. Don’t like MTV? Remove it from your channel list. BOOM!, no more MTV. And DVRs solve the commercial problem (but remember, without commercials you would pay a LOT more for your shows. Advertising basically underwrites TV show production).

        As for sports–no way Apple is going to outbid CBS, Fox, ESPN, or DirecTV for the rights for NFL, MLB, college football, etc. So there will have to be a way that Apple can simulcast such content.

        An Apple TV will have to be much more than delivering content. Apple could already do that with the current AppleTV.

  3. Don’t bother playing the game unless you can change the game. This way you set the new rules all must follow. Think iTunes, iPod, iPhone, iPad.

    Apple comes out with a new iTV the day it reinvents Television. Not before.

    1. You must never watch Nova, Frontline, Masterpiece Theatre, etc..

      (Yes, I purposely picked “high brow” shows, but I also watch a lot of “junky” shows too.)

      You’re one of the ridiculous snobs who brags about not even owning a TV.

  4. And it will be good … and then a couple years after they release it, it will be VERY good. Just like the iPod got very good when the iTunes store came out, or when the iPhone got very good after apps were allowed.

    Content will be king here, too. It will (probably) take some time for the inevitable shift in mindset to occur (for both consumers and providers) before Apple’s ultimate vision can be realized. Sometimes we have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the future.

  5. What if the AppleTV is all you need? You have the high speed Internet feed to it already. When the cable company participates, they no longer have to supply those old cable boxes. Everything is streamed one time to one of Apple’s billion dollar server farms and then streamed to the cable supplied app connected to your TV or to your iOS devices.

    DONE!

    Everyone wins. The cable company no longer has to pay for remotes and boxes or the hook up to each TV in your house. You buy the Apple TV and subscribe to the cable app services. Opens the market to all of the internet not just the region. Therefore, more viewers helping to cut the cost per user. Everyone wins! Apple is building several server farms in just the USA already. Why?

    “Think Different”

  6. To answer the “Apple TV” question, one must answer:
    – Why they are building those massive data centers rivalling world powerhouses such as Google and FaceBook. Clearly they are planning to deliver a ton of content, but what? iTunes and iCloud are not popular enough to justify it, as-is.
    – What killer feature(s) would get many to easily choose an Apple TV over a Panasonic (current king) or worse a cheap Samsung. (hint: saving BIG money?)

    We already know it’s not:
    – video conferencing (Facetime) as few use it on any platform.
    – simply broadcasting regular TV on a pay-per-view basis.

    For me, they could wrestle my 50″ Panasonic out of my hand if they offered:
    * access to TV content *negating monthly set-top box fees* (unlikely)
    ** free worldwide communication (text, audio, video, internet) in the manner that iMessage/Facetime does now on WiFi.
    *** picture quality rivalling the best plasma TVs
    to a lesser extent …
    – iCloud, FaceBook, Twitter, interaction.
    – seamless interaction with handheld devices

    * Due to unions and broadcast rights this is immensely hard to do, not only in the US, but even less likely on a worldwide scale. It’s a “Big bag of hurt” to quote the late SJ, but he did say he “cracked it” so anything is possible, however unlikely.

    ** Years ago I was selected to participate in a limited poll (indirectly from Apple) regarding a scheme for making my home WiFi open to other users by offering payback when others use it. Users would pay a small monthly fee and in return gain access to free WiFi where ever they go with whoever else is signed up on the network. This would mean people in densely populated areas could essentially have their monthly broadband costs paid for by roaming users. The only company that has the ability to do this with hardware, software, and a robust net based billing infrastructure (ITunes) is Apple (and we all know the cell/cable/tel companies have no interest in cutting their own profits by offering such a thing). Apple theoretically could issue an update to every Airport/AppleTV/iPhone/Mac and sideswipe the entire cell/cable/telcos infrastructure overnight by diverting a huge chunk of traffic. There’s no current legalities stopping them.

    *** Most consumers buy a big screen TV for their home theater & gaming, NOT for communication. “Retina” quality (plasma for me) is a must, plus Apple lacks the gaming edge so they must connect well with the Xbox, Wii etc.

  7. I think Apple has much more in mind than simply unifying content delivery to a TV screen. Otherwise it could accomplish that with the current AppleTV. There is something basic, a fundamental problem with the current TV entertainment system that goes to its core, that we are so used to overlooking and accommodating that it is not being discussed as a problem.

    I think Apple has the solution to this problem, but faces two obstacles: 1) getting all content providers, distributors, advertisers, etc. on board; and 2) protecting its innovation so that the solution, once released, can’t be copied like Google and Samsung, etc. have done with the iPhone. Apple would rather take extra time to protect its invention than get mired in court battles like it is now with the iPhone/iPad lawsuits.

  8. The problem I have with the thought of selling an Apple branded TV is that it is a device and simply replacing one with another doesn’t revolutionize ANYTHING no matter what the feature set. The revolution is in the delivery of content. Whenever I want to watch (not on the schedule dictated to me by the broadcaster), whatever I want to watch (not requiring a package to get the one channel I want), and wherever I want it (doesn’t require me to be sitting on a couch in the living room in order to engage with the show) and of course the obligatory commercials (most record shows to a dvr in order to do all the above, especially timeshifting and commercial avoidance)… When I ask myself “what is the same as it has been for over 30 years?” Commercials, packaging (bundling), broadcast times/timezones… THAT is where the revolution will happen… Look for a service offering and NOT a TV. It will happen when 802.11ac and LTE have better coverage/penetration.

    1. Let me put an end to your ‘end’.

      Apple has a VERY good reason to release a physical TV rather than just a box.

      Whether they do or not depends on how they view the upcoming market.

      1. Great. Now justify exactly WHAT Apple has to contribute to the TV appliance market. My estimation is exactly ZERO. A TV is just a monitor. Go by an Apple display, if that’s what you want. Meanwhile, staying flexible to sell Apple TV boxes to ANY modern TV makes actual sense.

        1. Yes, that DOES make sense, and I am not denying that making just a box is the choice they will most likely take.

          Now answer me this, exactly WHAT does Apple contribute to the making of a computer other than software? A tablet? A phone?

          Your point is that a box connected to any TV will suffice except for one major point: Cost.

          In buying a computer, Apple locks you into their world for the duration, so the longer the computer last, the longer you buy their wares.

          A TV is a major purchase, one that you will keep for 5-7 years if it acts right. Follow my drift yet?

          How did that box work out for Google? Microsoft?
          How much does Roku or Boxee clean up on their sales?

          Yes, it’s about content, I understand, and versatility.

          So, my hope is that Apple makes the ultimate box, with 2TB hard drive, BUILT IN Airport router/modem, CableCARD (or the accepted method of authentication), and ports for integration of Hi-Fi and other video plus a Thunderbolt port as the ONE cable going to the ultra flat screen on the wall. OK, also power.

          This combo will act as THE hub for all your portables and music/video. Still need a real desktop? Two iMacs and and the new Pro to choose from. Still need more power in mobility? Five (eventual) laptops to choose from (and then there were three….)

          Also, this box will be the only thing Apple sales with a DVD disk drive, and the only one that needs it as all others can use it remotely (or go USB).

          Sorry, Derek, but a girl has got to dream……

          1. I suspect Apple mull over all of this as they consider the best approach. I suspect their focus is on providing users with that holy grail of easy a la carte programming over the net, along side the usual air and cable/satelite sources. Focusing on a TV device merely paints them into a corner IMHO. It would only be a small niche / fanatic market.

  9. “… A TV is just a monitor. Go by an Apple display, if that’s what you want. Meanwhile, staying flexible to sell Apple TV boxes to ANY modern TV makes actual sense…”

    Well, actually Apple could do both — offer a big screen TV AND the AppleTV box. People then have a choice. Rest assured, the concrpt behind a genuine Apple television would evolve well beyond current flat-screen sets.

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