The Apple ‘iTV’ unicorn: Does it even exist?

“A year ago, when Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, began to raise expectations that it was about to launch a new TV product, the company’s existing set-top box was par for the course in a market of humdrum streaming devices and clunky smart TVs,” Tim Bradshaw writes for Financial Times. “But now it looks in danger of being left behind by the more radical steps taken by its rivals.”

“As well as the Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4, which both sold 1m units in their first day on sale this month, Google has released its $35 Chromecast, which allows smartphone-toting couch potatoes to transmit wirelessly whatever is on their small screen to the big one. It works with most devices that can run Google’s Chrome web browser,” Bradshaw writes. “Apple offers something similar with its Airplay feature, but it is limited to its own devices and its Apple TV receiver is three times as expensive.”

MacDailyNews Take: Apple TV costs less than a decent restaurant’s dinner for four. At certain price point, “three times as expensive” doesn’t matter – at least not to the type of customers that Apple wants. Google, as usual, can have the rest. They’re cheap. They buy less content or none at all. They’re not quality, valuable customers.

“This week, Apple paid about $360m to acquire PrimeSense, an Israeli company that provided some of the technology behind the previous Xbox’s motion-sensing device, Kinect. ‘Some sort of living-room appliance is in Apple’s future and gesture technology could be critical,’ wrote analysts at Jefferies in a note to clients this week, calling PrimeSense a ‘global pioneer and leader in gesture technologies,’ Bradshaw writes. “However, Jefferies analysts also described Apple TV as ‘the Unicorn,’ as it had been rumoured for so long without ever being seen… Perhaps PrimeSense and other deals can help Apple raise its game in the living room but for now, many watchers of the company still doubt its TV unicorn exists.”

Read more in the full article here.

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


  1. Apple has not announced any plans for an Apple TV but analysts have been spreading rumours about an Apple TV. This particular analyst is now complaining that Apple has so far failed to deliver something that only analysts have promised.

    When analysts get it wrong, they bizarrely try to insist that it’s Apple’s fault. We don’t see this sort of nonsense with other predictions. The comet Ison was widely predicted to be a spectacular sight in the December sky, but instead it appears to have all but vanished as it passed the Sun. I haven’t seen astronomers blaming the comet, instead they accept that sometimes they can’t predict things with certainty.

    1. Your post makes so much sense it would not be understood by analysts, who can’t even conceive of the concept of them being wrong.

      I am bemused though, for I tried it once, using the “map is not the territory” idea, saying to a group of experts that if there was a river drawn on a map and you went to the physical location only to find that there was no river how would you correct the issue.

      The rest of the time was dedicated to looking at how a river could be built to make the map be correct.

      That’s certainly a head shaker. I love the comet analogy, thanks for using it.

  2. Tim’s “great new products in the pipeline” claim that investors now completely ignore. For good reason. Maybe the new Mac Pro is more than tweaks and usual upgrades but the customer base for the new “truck” is so small – due to completely missing a decade long opportunity to revolutionize the corporate and government markets for real computers – it is greeted with a shrug by Wall Street and completely ignored by the legions of customers enamored with gadgets. So, the beat goes on and will until…

      1. Nor should Apple care what Wall Street thinks of it. Wall Street is irrational and Apple could never win at that game.

        Apple’s wisest strategy is to do exactly what it’s currently doing, run a sound and successful business and play the long game. Wall Street only plays the short game.

      2. A lesson that Apple learned at and after the rollout of Macintosh is that doing things to please Wall Street has long-term negative effects on the company. The night before Macintosh rolled out, they were still debating how to price it; Apple would have made a decent profit at $995, but they finally decided to make an almost-obscene profit at $2495 in order to please Wall Street. This decision was the root cause of the rise of the entire Windows PC ecosystem, because Microsoft and PC manufacturers understood that Wall Street is focused on the next quarter’s result and nothing else, not on long-term growth of a business. However, Apple really didn’t internalize that lesson until the Return of Steve, at which point it started being a much smarter company.

    1. No sense trying to change your diatribe so I’ll just say hi while I can before you go the way of Zune Thang, PeePeePeterson and others of the MDN bloodbath.

      I am an investor, and I do not ignore that when Tim Cook says that there are great new products in the pipeline there are indeed. I also realize that great new products, in the Apple style, can take 5+ years to develop. It’s not like ordering a great new hamburger that takes 30 seconds to cook and prepare.

      Of course Apple has missed the opportunity to revolutionize the corporate and government markets. It’s not a realistic expectation to be able to penetrate those markets when real super innovative companies like Blackberry and Microsoft have already done that and have such an iron clad grip on that market. You know you’d be much better off spending your time praising the CEO’s that do it right rather than try to shoot down Tim Cook. I’m sure the level of appreciation that most have of you here would be much better focused if you promoted the fantastic work of CEO’s that do it right in your opinion, say like Steve Balmer and Thorsten Heins for the government sector. Remember telling people what to do right is as important as telling them what they are dong wrong. Oh toss Wall Street into the corporate government cesspool.

      Now insofar as your comment about legions of customers enamored with gadgets completely ignoring Apple, well I’d venture to say that you are way off the mark, or in terms that perhaps you may understand: You are so full of shit making that statement and I won’t even back that one up with a reference. It’s your free will if you wish to remain that blind, but like the boy who cried wolf, pretty well everyone around you here can see.

  3. This idea that apple should never cater to the “wrong audience” or the “Cheap Customer” has given nearly every other copycat or OS, or device the open door to surpass and dominate the markets Apple worked so hard to create. WtF? Can Apple for once TRY to capture that crowd??? Yes the masses who usually tend to be the youth and trend setters of culture? The Very people you want to grab while young and create brand loyalty with for a lifetime? No, Apple is too GOOD for that.. right…

    Next, set top box??? Samsung, Sony and many other smart TVs exist.. already built into the TV,, have for years!!, Hate to break it to you but you can buy a Samsung TV that hears your commands, Voice Recognition, changes channels, records from cable, has access to the web, everything Apple tv can do, Netflix, youtube vimeo, everything, while also accepting USB jump drives with ANY MOVIE format, music format, and or photo format you have… Who doesn’t have hundreds of movies already downloaded?? or personal video from a camera? drop them on your jump drive, plug it in and you’re watching anything you want. No need to stream OR pay. I have an entire 4TB hard drive full of media set up. So where does that leave apple? Hoping their customer WANTS to pay to stream everything… Thus, no TV service in 2014.
    BTW, ever try to stream a video from your phone to a TV via Apple TV over Wifi? it takes about a half hour to load and play a 3 minute video. and stalls all the time..
    So we Apple fans are waiting and waiting.. for Apple TV that actually does something special. Sorry, but my aapl should be at $1000. it’s not because Apple has no new anything since jobs died. Just refreshes. Seems apple is waiting for their old devices to break so that people need to refresh.. Sad but true.

    1. In which markets that Apple competes in are they being dominated? The only metric where others surpass them are in volume. Volume is meaningless if you don’t make any money. The crowd are idiots. There is no point selling cheap products for prices at which you’re barely breaking even.

      As I’ve generalised before, if Apple make $200 dollars on something, if they cut the price by $100 to sell more, they’ve got to double sales to me at the same profit level. Sure there are savings, they could use cheaper components, but ultimate, the lower the price the more you’ve got to sell. You don’t want to get stuck at the super high end selling products tens of times more expensive to a handful of customer, but Apple aren’t there.

      Yes, TV’s come with media functionality built in, but none of them have taken off to the point where they’re defining a new market. I doubt there would be many more or less TV’s sold if they didn’t have a particular media streaming feature built in. You can get things on your tv’s using usb drives, etc, etc, but people at large don’t. I can, but I don’t, my family don’t, people I know don’t. It’s not simple enough for people to be bothered with.

      1. it’s pretty frigging simple using the usb hub on any of the millions of samsung TVs.. or WD Data centers or Sony TVs… more.
        Next, Right now, we are SUFFERING with Apple TV and the UTTER CRAP offered on everything from ITUNES to Netfilx.. Utter
        c— movies. or Iron Eagle IV from 1987… Content is king, Ease of use, and FREE FREE FREE my friend… That’s what people want.

        1. If that’s what they want then why aren’t they doing it? I know it is relatively simple, I’ve done it, but I can’t be bothered. I just shove everything into iTunes then watch it on my TV, iPhone, or iPad with ease.

  4. Apple may have a TV product, but I doubt it results in anything with both a screen and an Apple logo. Apple is about cleaning up rats nests. Look at the back side of a home theater set up. If Apple does something in the TV world, it will cure the interconnectivity issues, IMHO. Screens are largely commodities. Apple doesn’t go there.

    1. The customers don’t care about the cables, it’s content and price.. everyone I know wants content for free, yes, free, and when they can’t get that, they want it cheap… Everyone hates their cable bill and wants apple tv to replace it,
      with on demand a-la-carte selectivity. And why? to try to beat their cable bill with internet only… Right now Apple TV and iTunes store just represents another bill, rental fee, or pay per view hassle. Samung wants to sell TVs,, they know everyone is shooting their own video, or ganking and downloading content off the web, thus the USB hookup. So Apple TV has to provide and economic reason that beats free. Good luck with that. So cool fanbois will pic up an apple tv, and be happy, but nothing that is sweeping the industry. Remember, Samsung sold you the TV, the product they wanted to, because it did what you needed it to do. Play your movies, TV shows, and personal content. Until apple products accept external USB jump drives, and content, or sd cards, anything, there will be no industry sweeping apple tv .

      1. The customers don’t care about the cables, it’s content and price..

        If Apple listened to what customers thought they wanted, Apple would have invented precisely none of the groundbreaking products they’re known for today.


  5. I’m constantly seeing articles about how Apple’s TV initiative is failing or falling far behind. I have no idea what these people are talking about. I never heard Tim Cook say anything about some mythical AppleTV. I only know about the one consumers are currently buying and they seem to be selling fairly well. I don’t think they have has much programming as a Roku, but Apple could easily acquire more programming if it wanted to. I’m just not happy PLEX isn’t supported but considering the low price of these streaming boxes anyone can afford both.

    I still don’t see how Apple is going to get past those networks no matter how great a product Apple designs. Apple would really have to manage to cut some costly deals to stand out from any other company’s TV offering. I’ve already got more movie and TV programming than I can watch in a lifetime so I’m not looking for some radical breakthrough by Apple to change my life.

  6. Hang on without Apple Tv I discovered I can beam anything (excluding iTunes to a degree) from my iPad to my Smart TV at about £1.30 for the app which is 20 times cheaper than ChromeCast. (Meanwhile the author didn’t say how much more XBox and PS4 are than Apple TV I note). But the point I am saying is that as long as you have your own network you can send staff from your iPhone or iPad directly to your TV (I discovered this accidentally by the way) without any extra tech. So if Apple wants to make this available it is there to do it, its purely a political decision not to do so. So hardly a difficult upgrade to introduce if they see fit to do so and rather cheaper than buying gaming consoles or even a Chromecast for the sort of customer Apple is interested in anyway.

  7. Another thing that analysts stupidly refuse to understand is that most people with any kind of income have at least two TVs in the house, sometimes more. Apple TV (the box) easily co-exists in a market with game consoles, because people are not about to buy a game console for every TV in the house just to have internet video.


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