Is a TV guide Apple’s next big thing?

“Apple’s TV efforts have undergone several plot twists in recent years, but its latest strategy finally appears close to being ready for prime time,” Buster Coen writes for TheStreet. “According to a recent report from Recode, Apple has focused on developing a TV guide that will allow users to navigate programming more easily via the Apple TV user interface. The company would reportedly explore the possibility of a single sign-in for the many services that a user may be subscribed to, such as Netflix and Time Warner’s (TWX) HBO GO.”

“This news comes off of The Wall Street Journal‘s recent report that Apple was exploring the possibility of developing a skinny bundle last year, before tabling the idea because of failed negotiations,” Coen writes. “The idea was promising, but the Journal reports that Apple executives were too cocky in the negotiating process, remaining stubborn about their pricing and bluffing network executives into thinking that Apple had already made deals with other networks. As a result, Apple was unable to pull together the skinny bundle that it wanted.”

“However, the company still recognizes the need for innovation in the TV sector to boost flagging sales — hence the TV guide,” Coen writes. “The proposed TV guide will certainly make it easier for users to find their desired content, but whether it will be enough to compel people to go out and replace their current set-top box with Apple TV is another story.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Content discovery is one of the most vexing problems with “TV” today.

Apple won’t be buying TiVo, they’ll be killing them – along with every other DVR-maker out there. — MacDailyNews, August 17, 2012

Apple and a TV guide alternative – August 5, 2016
Apple’s new TV plan is a TV guide – August 4, 2016
TiVo releases $49.99 over-the-air DVR for cord cutters – August 25, 2014
TiVo founders unveil $49 Qplay; aims to present unified interface for hundres of sources – February 25, 2014
Why doesn’t Apple just buy TiVo already? – August 17, 2012


  1. I don’t believe for a moment that report that appeared in the Wall Street Journal about Apple being cocky, etc. Apple isn’t cocky, they have a clear understanding of the service they wish to offer their customers and that service is not the current cable blend of 10% stuff you want to watch combined with 90% stuff you wouldn’t give a dime for linked to a package price that creeps up every month or so until you spend an hour on the phone while they try in a thousand different ways to up sell you. Apple believes you only want the 10% and you want to pay a reasonable price that is what it is and stays that way over time. That isn’t cocky. That’s customer oriented.

    And it’s why in the not-too-distant future, those cable guys will be reduced to providing network access to contact provided by everyone else.

  2. Why does a content service have to cost the user any money? Why can’t it be supported by ads? Why can’t these ads reflect users’ profiles, instead of just generic, one-fits-all messages? Why can’t products be easily purchased with one click or a verbal command?

    Apple has a lot of information about users. They could charge a premium over other ad networks by smartly mining this info. For example, almost everyday I ask Siri what the Cubs score is. They could use this data and push ads regarding any Cub related business such as Cub paraphernalia, tickets, etc. Then, all that is needed to purchase the product or service is a verbal command or fingerprint, etc. I’m sure advertisers, companies, etc. would be thrilled with this model, instead of the ancient method ads are currently strewn across the landscape.

    It should be noted that I am not an expert in this field and some of the above might already be in play. I mentioned a few years ago that Android was listening to my voice if I had YouTube open in a browser. They would take my verbal ques and deliver an appropriate ad on the TV. For example, if I mentioned that I needed a vacation an ad for a local travel agency would appeared. If I said I was hungry for tacos a Taco Bell ad would appear. I only tested this once and it scared the crap out of me, so I never again used YouTube while watching TV. This is also another reason why I switched to the iPhone. I’m wondering if Apple’s differential privacy will be able to alleviate any privacy issues.

  3. Most on-line TV guides offer variants of a grid style of timeline. If Apple can come up with a significantly better alternative, then they could be onto a winner. I would guess that a system that learns your preferences is the way they would go.

    For an example of how it’s likely to work, I would suggest taking a look at the Apple News app on IOS. You tell it which news sources particularly appeal and what topics you prefer and it offers selections tailored to your tastes. The more you use it, the more it seems to know what sort of news you prefer.

    Apple News has recently become my go-to source for news every morning and I think that Apple could do something similar with TV. It’s a shame that Apple News isn’t available on OSX too, I miss it when I’m using my iMac.

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