Why Apple’s dream TV keeps falling apart

“Three years after Steve Jobs said he had ‘finally cracked’ it, Apple’s vision for the future of television isn’t much closer to reality,” Zachary M. Seward writes for Quartz.

“Apple’s pursuit of TV has included talks with seemingly every major player in the industry. Sources confirm at least preliminary discussions with Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Disney, CBS, Time Warner, and Viacom,” Seward writes. “But the company is stuck between cable providers, which fear losing control of their subscribers, and content owners, which don’t yet see a viable business in the internet. Sporadic negotiations with both types of firms haven’t produced any deals that would allow Apple to launch the integrated television set and service that Jobs described before his death in 2011.”

“When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, it only needed an agreement with one American wireless carrier—Cingular, now AT&T—to break into the entire market,” Seward writes. “But cable companies are more regional, requiring a patchwork of agreements.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward W.” for the heads up.]


  1. If this is true, that’s it’s only held up by the other players, Apple could do essentially what it did with the iPhone. Pick on State or one region as the ‘launch area’ and work with the provider in that area to launcher the new device. If it’s as good as predicted, the desire for the device will prompt other carriers or content providers to opt in, too. Just like the iPhone it will eventually, and not after too long a period, be everywhere. Apple still hasn’t got every carrier in every country offering iPhones.

    1. I think the problem there would be limited impact for some time while allowing others (guess who) to see the hand they had dealt, copy the concept and still have most of the market free to attack, but likely on the cheap. That would put Apple into the classic first mover fix where unless you make a killer blow those who learn from your efforts actually have an advantage, that’s not Apple’s style especially when operating at the high end. They would simply whither without gaining scale.

  2. The future of TV is the internet. “Content providers don’t see it as viable”?

    Netflix, Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft and everyone under 40 sure do. I do not know anyone who watched live TV from a cable company. Cord cutters are soon going to be the majority. This is a repeat of what happened to telephone land-lines. Cable companies are going to be in the business of internet only, not cable packages.

  3. Surely “cord” is not relevant. Internet still has to get into your house. The point is about who the content providers are and how you access the content.

    It doesn’t matter whether Netflix or an “old media” TV company pays for a series to be made. “Internet” isn’t magically better, just because it’s the Internet. iTunes wasn’t supposed to be successful because all the young ‘uns were supposedly sharing peer-to-peer. We all know how that actually went.

    Aggregating the content is critical. Making it available in some incredibly easy manner is critical. The interface of Netflix is appalling. Choice is very limited. I don’t see anything on the Internet that can come remotely close to my flicking easily around some of my favorite cable channels and having a wealth of programs immediately and easily available.

  4. Why not look at partnering with DirecTV? They are a national player and, if the device is good, cable companies will panic as customers leave for DirecTV and open themselves up to Apple TV.

  5. Since we don’t know what Apple’s dream TV is yet how can he claim anything is falling apart. Rumors are not facts and with that said let’s wait and see what pans out. Tired of reading stuff that has no facts to back them up. Did Apple put any tech specs out on a new TV? Nope. Has Apple announced a new TV? Nope. So how can something that isn’t a reality falling apart?

  6. Well, looking at the above comments, we can see why Steve Jobs said it was an issue. Many parts of the equation, but solving which will make it work????

    We will have to wait and see.

  7. Upgrade the Apple TV to full iOS capability, setup the ecosystem with all video for sell as a App companies can load up like any other app, the content and cable are never going to ok tech advances beforehand, they will always be dragged kicking and screaming into the future. Apple build out Apple TV as a iOS powerhouse with those new A series chips.

  8. Look, the problem is Apple can’t get over the fact that the innovation they seek is not gonna come from the negotiating table. Comcast, Dish, or whoeverthehellelse DOES NOT WANT TO DEAL WITH APPLE -THEY FEAR APPLE.

    Does anyone really think the record companies would have done a deal with Apple over iTunes & the iPod had they any idea that their business model/cashcow was going to come crashing down around their ears a few years later?? Well, the video content companies DO know, thanks to history, and they will never accept any deal that makes sense for consumers, and/or especially if it looks like Apple will become their Dom as a result. Which is to say, they will not accept any deal Apple puts on the table.

    So stop dealing with them! The technology is already in place for Apple to upend the rest of the multimedia industry, just as it already was with audio. Apple didn’t invent the hardware player or the software organizer/accumulator for music, they just put iPod/iTunes/iTunes Store together in a way that made it all work right. They should do exactly the same thing with video. iTS already exists, AppleTV sort of exists (but not fully featured), so really it comes down to on board software that makes a difference. Rip discs & record video (over the air, cable card, or internet), store the files LOCALLY (thunderbolt external drive that attaches to AppleTV), push the video you legally own to any iDevice you also legally own to any place on the planet (AppleTV as secure Media Server).

    Bing Bam Boom.

    Out Tivo Tivo and out Roku Roku, with a healthy dollop of Apple interface goodness & security. Once that’s done, the studios and media companies will come BEGGING Apple for a deal, just to forestall what they already know is inevitable.

    Cook really needs to grow a pair.

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