Apple has no idea what they’re doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing

Aimless. Backwards. Confused.,” Yoni Heisler writes for BGR. “These are just a few adjectives which, to a frustrating extent, seem to perfectly encapsulate Apple’s glaring lack of vision in the TV space. Apple certainly understands that TV (and by extension, the living room) is important, but the more I see what Apple is doing with the Apple TV, and the more I hear Apple executives excitedly drone on about their comically boring TV strategy, the more I become convinced that the company has absolutely no idea what it’s doing.”

“Broadly speaking, I don’t believe that the higher-ups at Apple grasp, on an even basic level, what makes for a compelling TV viewing experience,” Heisler writes. “Power and leverage within the TV space is quickly being usurped by players like Netflix while Apple remains embarrassingly stuck on the sidelines.”

“What did we witness last week at Apple’s special media event? A whole lot of nothing. Just an app called TV that lets users browse through third-party apps from the likes of HBO, FX and others. Yawn. This is not the future of TV,” Heisler writes. “For a while, it seemed that Apple was aiming to release a lightweight TV subscription service but those plans have reportedly been put on hold due to disputes over pricing and disagreements over what channels would be included in the bundle. Meanwhile, AT&T beat Apple to the punch, recently announcing an internet-only TV service that boasts more than 100 channels for just $35. Not to be outdone, Hulu earlier this week announced that its impending TV streaming service will include channels such as ABC, ESPN, the Disney Channel, Fox Sports, Fox News, National Geographic, FX, TNT, TBC, CNN the Cartoon Network and more.

“In today’s world, content is king while interfaces, truth be told, simply need to be good enough,” Heisler writes. “Content aside, the shamelessly horrible design of the Apple TV 4 remote is even more proof that the higher-ups at Apple simply don’t get TV. Are we really supposed to believe that Apple understands the TV viewing experience when its remote is nothing short of a case study in backwards non-functional design?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: One more time: Which Apple VP is in charge of Apple TV among other chronically glitch-prone services that are uniformly saddled with Microsoftian UIs?

Therein Apple’s problem lies.

A jovial, fun-loving nature wrapped in unbuttoned shirts is no substitute for execution, quality, taste, and signed contracts, Tim.

Beloved by all, yet failing the company. It’s a conundrum that needs to be solved.

It’s quite possible that without Steve Jobs’ help, Eddy Cue couldn’t get ink in a stationery store. — MacDailyNews, November 5, 2015

Apple’s new ‘TV’ app won’t include Netflix or Amazon Video – October 28, 2016

Hulu inks deals with Fox and Disney, adding ESPN, Fox News and more to forthcoming live service – November 1, 2016
Google signs up CBS for planned web TV service to debut in early 2017; close to deal with 21st Century Fox – October 20, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue alienated cable providers and networks with an assertive negotiating style – report – July 28, 2016

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


  1. The remote is pretty bad alright.. You can’t tell which end is up.. not even a texture or color code.. and in the dark (yes sometimes the lights are off) it’s hopeless. Comcast/Xfinity X1 remote is motion sensitive, lights up.. it DELIGHTS… like Apple used to. As for the new app.. It’s clearly a beta.. and a weak one at that. It’s like Apple is always promising something then dribbing and drabbing out incremental stuff like getting into the new building will REALLY change and improve things. They seem to have gone into full on navel gazing mode and forgotten the customer to a large extent. Mac Pro’s need a refreshed machine badly. The new Microsoft Surface (and I hate Microsoft) has a cool factor I gotta say even it is too expensive and not quite there.. it’s got some cool shit on it. But mostly Apple needs to double or triple down on content and LET THE CONTENT PROFESSIONALS CREATE STUFF PEOPLE WANT TO SEE.. They want to run Apple TV like software.. stop it. It’s content.. it’s shows and movies that need to be created on the time frame and schedule that the creative companies control. I say create a separate production arm (as has been suggested before) like Apple Studios.. buy something like Paramount.. get the professionals on task, hire the BEST (Apple can afford it) and establish dominance in the space. Netflix is eating everybody’s lunch in Hollywood out of sheer aggression. Apple could stand a little more testosterone.

  2. There have been many botched releases, or lack there-in, but the biggest “failure” is related to “the TV.” Either Steve was using hyperbole (hard to imagine a man close to the end to want to be remembered by a lie), or the current Apple management was/is unable to bring to fruition Steve’s statemt that “I’ve finally cracked it (TV).” I tend to believe the later as SJ was not only a visionary, but he was a powerful persuader and the TV flopped b/c no one at Apple has the same market push/pull. It’s “hobby”-time now and going forward for the ATV.

  3. Pleasing content companies will not work, Apple should design the best hardware for the end user sell it and leave it at that. See Sony for what happens when you design for content people. (you lose money)

  4. Oh Apple has a vision in the TV space. They just can’t get the TV content gatekeepers to go along with it.

    Apple is going to need to acquire either a network or a content producer to increase their leverage in the industry. Just like Apple acquired Beats so that Dre and Iovine could convince the labels to get on board with Apple Music, Apple needs to get some TV people on staff to bridge that divide.

  5. They haven’t a clue. The new TV app speaks volumes got that.

    They slept on the original atv to focus on their bread and butter product like dying legacy companies are wont to do and let it whither and die.
    The boat has sailed on this. And the best model so far has been seen and it’s a TV with no middleman. Iys the Chromecast model.
    Apple needs to release a simple dongle and call it a day. That’s the way forward. That’s what will allow innovation and the best experience for the consumer.

    Once it gets boggled down by a big entity and monopolized by the biggest players then we’re F**cked.

  6. I really like ATV4. As someone who also has TiVo and Roku, the ATV4 is a better platform for streaming. Easier to navigate, find content and switch between apps. Granted, the remote could be better. I reverted to putting a white sticker on it so I immediately know the correct orientation. Apple is biding its time. Buying Netflix or Time Warner isn’t the answer. Meanwhile, we have access to plenty of content on ATV, including HBO, Showtime, and, oh yes, iTunes.

  7. I pulled the plug after 18 years with Dish. I have Netflix and CBS and they work very well. It’s just the content of TV is so poor, I find myself watching it less and less. I like to participate in some sports, but watching them is like watching paint dry. It’s painful watching so much sophomoric content.I am surely in the minority but I just wanted to bitch. I don’t care if Apple et al get it right or not!

  8. There are at least a couple issues here:
    1) Apple’s problems with the Apple TV.
    2) The media oligarchy’s absolute refusal to allow à la carte programming choices.

    Note the use of the word ‘BUNDLE’ in the article. Those monstrosities have to end. That’s what Apple has been striving for! It’s the 21st century, as I keep reminding myself. WTF are we doing with this bundling shite still being foisted at us, even on the Internet? I blame the bundling nonsense as the #1 reason the Apple TV (or any other TV streaming device!!!) is not a satisfying experience.

    How do 21st century humans take media streaming into their own hands? There are ways. Many ways. And they all contribute to the decline in media profits. If only the decrepit media oligarchy geezers would die off and let the future arrive already. À la carte is the solution to what everyone wants in 21st century media.

    I’m preaching to the choir. I know. But like propaganda, repeating sane solutions over and over again may drill into delusional brains and give them the wonderful *clue* they require.

    1. Yeah but we should all be happy it hasn’t worked. All it would do is transfer the power and clout to another big entity. We are just breaking free and cutting the cord from the time Warner/Comcast duopoly and now we want to hop into to just bed a different megacorporation who controls the content as a middleman?
      The very thing that’s made the internet as innovative as it has is that it’s not controlled by any one entity like Apple or whomever has the deep pockets to wield it.
      Do we want to wait on Apple or anyone else to dish out updates whenever it feels like it, or let be wide open with individual apps at the developers control.
      I think it’s dangerous and just hope for a universal protocol to stream to your television without wondering if it’s a Chromecast, Roku, ATV, Alexa, Fire. Its become less consumer friendly. Screw that. If you have a Spotify app, you should be able to stream it to any device without having a middleman to wade through their own INTERFACE. Screw that too. Thats why of all the different models, the hands-off approach by the Chromecast model is what I’ve seen. As the future.

  9. I disagree. Providing content packages is one thing. Combining into a good user experience is something else. Apple is doing the latter, and I don’t particularly care who achieves the former as long as somebody does a good job of the latter.

  10. With so many dissenting voices, none of whom have any insight, it seems we’re on our way to a new ‘beleagured Apple’ phase. Whiny kids thinking that badmouthing Santa will force him to reveal what they’ll get for Christmas.

  11. Moving picture content is currently way too expensive. $30 a month for all the moving picture content ever created is a fair price. The service should be offered worldwide and the creators should get paid per stream just like the streaming music business.

    If this can’t be inked then the players need to be hauled in front of a court and found guilty of collusion. The creators and distributers should be penalized billions of dollars for gouging the citizens for so many years. Anything over $100 a month for boring, non-broadcast content with ads is outrageous.

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