Apple’s Next Innovation: TV – It’s time for Apple to step in and disrupt the TV business

“Steve Jobs couldn’t hide his frustration. Asked at a technology conference in 2010 whether Apple might finally turn its attention to television, he launched into an exasperated critique of TV,” Robert D. Hof writes for MIT Technology Review. “Cable and satellite TV companies make cheap, primitive set-top boxes that ‘squash any opportunity for innovation,’ he fumed. Viewers are stuck with ‘a table full of remotes, a cluster full of boxes, a bunch of different [interfaces].’ It was the kind of technological mess that cried out for Apple to clean it up with an elegant product. But Jobs professed to have no idea how his company could transform the TV.”

“Scarcely a year later, however, he sounded far more confident. Before he died on October 5, 2011, he told his biographer, ­Walter Isaacson, that Apple wanted to create an ‘integrated television set that is completely easy to use,'” Hof writes. “It would sync with other devices and Apple’s iCloud online storage service and provide ‘the simplest user interface you could imagine.’ He added, tantalizingly, ‘I finally cracked it.'”

Hof writes, “Apple would not comment. But it’s clear from two dozen interviews with people close to Apple suppliers and partners, and with people Apple has spoken to in the TV industry, that television—the medium and the device—is indeed its next target. The biggest question is not whether Apple will take on TV, but when.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

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

53 Comments

  1. In numerous respects Apple has already shaken up the TV industry. The combination of programming available on iTunes through my Macs and on my AppleTV encouraged me to cut the cord long ago. The iPad is now my primary “television.” I have a 50 something inch (cough)samsung(cough), but I seldom turn it on anymore. When I do, it’s a peripheral for the iPad via AirPlay.

    I see more and more cord cutters all the time. I no longer pay over $100 a month for a boatload of crap I don’t care to see. The amount of money save allowed me to increase my bandwidth to 50Mb/s and acquire an LTE Mobile WiFi Hotspot, which suits me much better than paying for reality TV and American Idol.

    Not sure what Apple might do, but I’m never going back to paying for television.

      1. You guys are so much braver than we have been paying a hefty cable bill every month. There’s only a handful of channels beyond local channels I’d like to get. Ala carte would be nice but something tells me they’d jack the system so that those fewer choices, if they were available, will cost you the same or more overall anyway. D’Oh! Jobs was right the system is in need of a vast overhaul but then anyone with cable already knew that.

        1. I think we were paying 80-90 a month for service. Not premium but just under to get the networks we actually watched. When our contract was up we didn’t renew and went to digital broadcast. We rarely watch that. 95% is Netflix and iTunes. I will never go back. We were just annoyed with having to constantly fast fwd through commercials and paying for channels that we would never watch. May seem petty but now we watch exactly what we want when we want without all the mess.

        2. I was paying $150 a month for cable + some package that gave me things like NatGeo, The Science Channel, and Animal Planet, and extended cable channels like SyFy and The Western Channel, and a ton of crap I couldn’t possibly have cared less about. Oprah? Please. I wasn’t even getting HBO for $150. Taht $150 included 30Mb/s Internet down stream.

          I dumped the TV part and bumped Internet up to 50Mb/s. So now cable is $100 for just Internet and I love the speed. Makes work so much more enjoyable, let alone downloading entertainment content.

          With the $50 left over, I decided that I could afford a mobile LTE wifi hotspot. Very helpful at times. So Instead of television, I radically increased my Internet capabilities.

          The thing I miss is being able to switch on cable news when something bizarre is happening like the Chris Dornor situation, but other than that, I don’t miss TV at all.

          Now if iTunes stops carrying BBC America content, I have a small problem that will only last until my Doctor Who addiction fades.

    1. “cable” television is on life-support, cut my Dish Network three years ago. Like TM, I use my 50″ plasma as a dumb monitor for tv, MLB-TV, my movies and music and AirPlay from iOS devices…have a cheap Radio Shack OTA antenna in case I need to follow any severe weather in my area.. I’ve noticed a lot of people making similar arrangements.

            1. Self censorship based on a deep respect for others is a higher calling. The world you would die for misses one critical component: responsibility. Every freedom we have needs to have an integral responsibility attached.

            2. While your comment makes sense, we don’t need to place censorship to tend to the needs of the lowest common denominator AND minority such as you. I’m not trying to be harsh it’s just true. Read my first sentence in this comment over and over until it makes sense. Thanks 🙂

      1. MDN’s compulsive masturbator strikes again.

        Can anyone explain why he uses profanity?

        1 Maybe he’s an angry fat boy?
        2 Maybe he’s just poorly educated?
        3 Maybe he actually believes he’s being smart?
        4 Maybe its time for him to have another wank?

    2. I cut the cable 16 years ago. I detest the non-targeted ads with no relevance to me, the substandard programs available, the schedules and the unsatisfactory cable box/remote. I rent what I want when I want and use a lot of AppleTV / NetFlix / Hulu when I have time to watch.

    3. Just love my Apple TV and the ability to use Airplay through it but I still need my Cable service for HBO, Food Network, Sci-Fi, and Discovery Channel etc. So once you can get all that through Apple TV I will be the first in line for canceling my cable service.

      PS: How can you stand watch TV on your iPad all the time? That’s way to small, unless your on the road all the time it doesn’t make much sense to me.

    4. I agree with some of what you said but Apple only rattled the “box”. They are in a bigger position to turn the whole living room on it’s ear. They need to make A SDK for the ATV for developers and content providers. They need to look at the mistakes that Nitendo made with the Wii U and the look at the successes with the Xbox 360. Taking all of this in consideration they will make the ATV better. In my opion they are not in position to make an iTV. They need to stick with the ATV for now and it will make any flat screen into a smarter TV.

    5. The halo effect to having cut the Cable 1.5 years ago is the end of the nonstop commercials on on TV brainwashing my kids to want more junk.

      I asked my son what he wanted for his 11th birthday this year. He says; nothing really, maybe some socks.

      Love it!!!

      1. I think you would find that kind of immersion and ‘holograms” off-putting. Who wants to watch a Princess Leia type hologram floating in the air sans backgrounds and sets, etc.. Personally I think standard 2D presentation is still the finest way to tell a story. And I have shot fantastic looking 3D movies. Now we are entering the HFR era (high frame rates) with directors like Peter Jackson (48fps), James Cameron (60fps) and Doug Trumbull (120fps!) on board. Yeah it can look more “real” but is hyper-real truly the goal over the standard 24fps fantasy gauze or veil in which it is easier to suspend disbelief? You can take a good thing too far. Romantic comedies sure won’t benefit!

  2. Other than physically turning things on, and getting my TV and Satellite box out of standby I can actually control everything (including Apple TV) via my iPhone or the remote for my Amp. I still prefer physical buttons though. Having to look down or swipe between multiple screens is a pain.

  3. I would love to see a HDTV from Apple in the near future. I have a Sony 32″ LCD HDTV that is starting to show it age. I have heard that the TV makers are looking into making OLED TV’s, but they say those will cost in the thousands of dollars. I don’t see me buying any of them in the near future. I guess I’ll have to look at a LED-LCD set in the near future, unless Apple comes out with a better unit.

  4. There is no clear avenue to revolutionize TV.

    As it is, our viewing options are becoming much more fragmented and frustrating than ever before.

    With the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Cable channels, network aggregators, such as DTV/Dish/Cox/Comcast, etc. Media suppliers being purchased by distributors, foreign entities, premium networks producing exclusive content, web distribution producing content…

    How do you tell my 80 year old mother how to watch what’s out there?

    So I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. As far as what Apple is able to do, they can only build a nice TV, which others are already doing. Solving the problem is like trying to merge planets. I mean, herding cats is easier than this one.

  5. Hey MDN. Go suck a dick for more dick money. You suck ass for putting the unpausable bandwidth-hogging adds on your website. I am done with you and your gay know-it-all remarks, and I hope others agree. I am sure they will.

    J Bone

  6. I agree with some of the article. I fell Apple should continue to explore the iTV but do not release it untile it will be a real competitor to the TV market. The thing that is at hand now is the set top boxes and game consoles that are out and/or coming out. The should concentrate on the ATV for now because it has a lot of potential to turn this part of the industry on it’s ear. First they need to make an ATV SDK to make apps. It must be opened up to developers. Apple can out do the Wii U with the ATV and the othe iOS devices used as the hand controller. Content providers will see this as a viable system and content providers will make subscription base apps like the magazines and periodicals that is in the iBook store. This will open the door for use to pick and choose channels that we actually watch and discarding the channels we do not need. This will bring us back to the time when there was only 13 channels on the TV. The channels we need. Go get them Apple only you can do this!!!!

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