Apple’s so-called TV ‘strategy’ continues to be an embarrassing joke

“Last year, I wrote that Apple’s TV strategy was an aimless disaster and that company executives, at a fundamental level, appeared to have no concept as to what makes for a compelling TV viewing experience,” Yoni Heisler writes for BGR. “Many months later, the sad reality is that Apple’s TV strategy remains a disorganized and embarrassing mess, with little evidence that change is on the horizon.”

“What’s particularly damning is that Apple doesn’t even seem to understand how viewers consume TV in today’s streaming-centric landscape,” Heisler writes. “Unfortunately, the examples of Apple’s incompetence in the TV space are not in short supply. First off, let’s start with Planet of the Apps.”

MacDailyNews Take: Uh, let’s not. What a derivative, amateurish mess!

“It’s not a good look when a retail-oriented company like Amazon can swoop in and deliver easily accessible and award-winning content while Apple can only muster up a show that was universally panned,” Heisler writes. “The good news is that change may be coming soon… Apple recently hired Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, two seasoned TV executives who actually know what they’re doing…”

Read more in the full article here.

Eddy Cue
Eddy Cue
MacDailyNews Take: Eddy Cue. Can’t get the deals done. Can’t recognize blatantly bad TV from the pilot, much less at the pitch stage. Puts TV content into “Apple Music.” Needs Tim Cook to hire people who can actually do his job (first Jimmy Iovine, now Erlicht and Van Amburg). Inexplicably continues to get paid tens of millions per year. Boy, the photos Cue possesses must be doozies!

Apple’s so-called TV ‘strategy’ continues to be an embarrassing joke because it’s run by an embarrassing joke.

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

We’re embarrassed for Apple, but, don’t forget what Tim Cook told us last fall, “And now, with the TV app, there’s really no reason to watch TV anywhere else.”


Thanks for the laugh, Tim! — MacDailyNews, February 16, 2017

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.MacDailyNews, November 3, 2016

Apple poaches Sony TV executives to lead major push into original content – June 16, 2017
Hulu and NBCUniversal ink expansive agreement to bring top channels to Hulu’s upcoming live TV streaming service – May 1, 2017
YouTube to unveil virtual cable bundle for $30 to $40 a month – February 28, 2017
Stalled talks with Ron Howard highlight Apple’s content confusion – February 16, 2017
Apple vowed to revolutionize television; currently prepping an unremarkable 4K Apple TV instead – February 16, 2017
Apple TV: Still not ready for prime time – February 15, 2017
Apple hires Amazon’s Fire TV head to run Apple TV business – February 8, 2017
Apple’s new TV app shows just how painfully behind Apple is – December 14, 2016
Are you ready for 4K TV? Apple TV isn’t. – November 28, 2016
Apple has no idea what they’re doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing – November 3, 2016
Hulu inks deals with Fox and Disney, adding ESPN, Fox News and more to forthcoming live service – November 1, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue: Nope, we don’t want to be Netflix – October 20, 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: Nope, we don’t want to be Netflix – October 20, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue alienated cable providers and networks with an assertive negotiating style – report – July 28, 2016
Here comes á la carte programming – without Apple – July 13, 2016
Apple TV 4 is a beta product and, if you bought one, you’re an unpaid beta tester – November 5, 2015


  1. The best thing about this year’s WWDC was that there was no Eddy Cue on stage. I’m surprised that a company that would fire Scott Forrestal would keep Eddy hanging around. He doesn’t have much show for his past 10 years at Apple.

    1. Well, he did manage to act like a high school kid and piss off Rihanna fans during the basketball playoffs, so you can imagine why a guy like that doesn’t have all that much time to be thinking about corporate issues.

      1. the really astonishing thing to me about the incident is that Cue is head of Apple Music and Apple has been spending great effort and millions to court people like Rihanna and her fans.

        Apple Music actually has a special profile page on Rihanna!

        (Imagine the Marketing guy from a distributor trying to sell Wonder Woman merchandise yelling at Gal Gadot in a very public venue … )

    2. Why are you surprised.
      Scott was competent and could do his job and was ambitious.
      In other words a threat to Tim, Eddy is non of those things.
      The Dilbert principle at its finest.

      1. Agreed.

        I would add Scott threatened Jony Ive probably the most and got into a redesign war over FLAT iOS7 and Skeuomorphism LITE, continuing and refining Steve’s vision.

        And Jony won …

    1. What happened to the idea that Steve Jobs had that prompted him to claim he “cracked” it? Maybe it’s time Apple reveals the idea if they’ve been following it, otherwise what the heck have they been doing not following Steve’s plan.

      With each new AppleTV news I’m getting the impression Steve’s idea was like something you would ‘realize’ in a dream, wake up to write it down, go back to sleep and when getting up in the morning to read it, realize the idea was garbage.

  2. Part of me wonders how much better off Apple with be with Scott still around…

    Yes, I know from what I’ve read that he could be a jerk but at least he seemed to work in the same way that Steve Jobs worked…

    Maybe Apple would have been better off with him?

    1. Scott’s position at Apple was entirely different to Cues’ and you are completely off topic. And yess, I do wonder how you cross the street.

      1. don’t want a fight with anybody but I think he was talking about Forstall’s involvement in UI etc.

        the Apple TV OS and UI and Remote are pretty bad (besides the lack of content. )

        also Scott seemed to have stood up to people including Ive which nobody today seems to want to today without Jobs. (Jobs rejected Ive’s ideas on occasion including the initial iPhone designs).

        I don’t have insider info to the rumours about Scott Forstall’s ‘friction’ with other staff so can’t comment on that.

        btw: The Mac seems to be getting better as Ive (who wasn’t at the Mac Pro meeting earlier in the year ) seems to be hands off…

        I do think though that Federighi if given a free hand is pretty OK. I think the Apple TV is under Cue’s control though and both Federighi and Cue apparently have the same rank , both SVP.

  3. I have a very good Apple TV strategy. Get a roku.
    Apple TV hardware is incredible, but the software is so windows, I mean, like windows, a thing you used to do in one step before, with every new version they add a new additional step to the same process.

    Apple, bring back Scott!!!!!

  4. What I want is this:
    Log in on an Apple TV, Mac or iOS device and be presented with a build a bundle menu.
    Pick x number of channels for x Dollars. No pre-arranged bundles.
    Once you subscribe to your custom bundle it is now available on all Apple devices.
    You get billed on iTunes and there is no contract.

    Sporting events are optionally available on a pay per view basis. I should not have to buy ESPN to watch Michigan vs Ohio State and a handful of other games.

    That should not be so fucking hard, except a cartel of companies that own almost all channels want you to subsidize all or none of their shit sandwich.

    1. All good points,and hell yes I want this too, but this would literally explode the TV industry (which is a good thing) I feel that maybe the only one capable of pulling this off is no longer with us.

    2. What your describing is what many people want. However, this method would cost much more to consumers. In theory it’s sounds nice, until the first bill comes. Because they might eventually be forced to give you this, but you can be damn sure they will make you pay out your asses for it.

  5. Indeed.. one of the most embarrassing project at Apple… in every way one looks at it.. from hardware: no 4k, most un-ergonomic remote( except for the touch pad) to inconsistent, fragmented UI of Apps: every app is in its own ui universe.. no consitancy and confusing and inefficient, no centralization , no centralized organization of favorites.. no alerts/notifications for favored new content! the list of stupid and poorly thought out UI goes on and on…. and to top them all off the karaoke and app planet BS….

    Tim.. please remind us again… why does Eddy Cue still have a job there ? Most Everything he touches turns into a convoluted stupid mess… wasn’t iTunes enough evidance .. now Apple TV and promoting movies and tv shows through Apple Music (lol ) with another half ass UI implementation…. etc…

    I have said this years ago…. A chain is as stong as its weakest link… and imo Eddy is one of the weakest links …

      1. When you think of Apple manufacturing 100 iPhones per second, and the logistics and supply chain involved, then you’ll know why Tim is there. He didn’t make the products, but he made the product that makes the products. Eddy on the other hand…?

  6. I had thought AppleTV was stuck in limbo due to the networks not being able to cut deals with Apple. I can’t be bothered. I’ve been using my Roku 3 lately to watch Viki and Dramafever and whatever videos offered on Amazon Prime Video. I have a nice digital roof antenna that pulls in all the NYC metro-area stations crystal-clear. I spend plenty of time watching Youtube documentaries, science channels and such.

    I don’t think Apple has a chance of cutting any decent deals with the content providers, so a Roku or an inexpensive Android streaming box is good enough to get all the content anyone would need.

  7. Eddie looks to be the victim of too much rich lazy living and 5 martini lunches. They would do well to do to him what Office Spaces did to Milton and keep him in the basement with his red stapler and well stocked liquor bar. At this point he’s just a drunken embarrassment with little to show for his effarts for Apple. They keep him like an errant relative who has no place else to go. Time to cull the useless office herd and make way for people who can actually get things done.

  8. The comments about Cue’s performance have been largely negative over the years. I can’t remember a post where readers were saying things like, “Give Eddie a chance. The guy is good. He’s a negotiating genius, etc.”

    Someone at Apple, I guess Tim Cook, needs to bite the bullet and give Eddie a gentle push out the door. Apple needs someone with a vision and ability to close deals. With all of Apple’s money, influence and technology you would think some savvy guy or gal could accomplish whatever they put their mind to when it came to TV.

    Does Eddie ever give a lecture where he lays out his vision for Apple’s role in the media? Does he have an overriding philosophy guiding him, or is he tactically-oriented focused more on how “his” basketball team is doing? He does seem pleasant enough but not someone you would take seriously in a meeting. In fact, he seems a little goofy to me.

    Perhaps Cook needs to modify his management team?

  9. Who Cares about Eddie. where is the 4K version of the ATV. the rest of strategy might form if they actually released an ATV that completed with everything else.

  10. We know how Steve would have done it.

    Find one seminal channel/network to come over to his preferred model — the one that just works — and suddenly we will all love them much more.

    And, they would benefit from our viewership, and the ads would make bank. Yes, ads.

    1. What happened to the statement, that Jobs mentioned, he had tapped into a solution to cut the cable companies and that this soon would reach the masses. Job claimed he had figured it out. Obviously – once again Cook has fkkkd up again. Its been documented that Cook was told about these last plans days before Steves passing.

  11. Trouble is she attracts attention by saying there is no hope of change on the horizon then totally contradicts that statement by saying that things may change with the new recruitment of 2 serious industry first graders. As such it is simply writing to fill space rather than well considered debate.

  12. I’m assuming that Apple really doesn’t want to do a proper TV service. They likely make a lot of money selling TV episodes and seasons from most of the networks. If they did a streaming service with a DVR like PlayStation Vue (terrible name, decent service), they might cut into their iTunes sales.

    1. you make a interesting point for thought.

      ( I note that even Netflix last I checked– if you factor in expenses — loses money , it’s ‘cash flow negative’ as they way so I wonder what are the Apple numbers… ).

  13. I too wonder when or if there will be a 4K version of ATV. I was hoping we would have heard by now. We still have no 4k and can’t bring up all of our movies in iTunes by using the ATV app. I sometimes wonder if the development team ever uses the product. Eddie certainly doesn’t.

    1. Apple probably doesn’t want to announce a 4K ATV before that have an associative service that might go with it or something that one-ups everyone else and doesn’t look “me too!”. Right now ATV looks too much like everyone else. More differentiation is needed.

      1. Maybe Apple is planning to leapfrog everyone and support 8K that upscales 4K content and having a mode to ‘minimize’ the current video to a 4K window while simultaneously displaying 3 other ‘areas’ that support other functions. For example an area that looks up details on the video you are watching, having a constant task/weather/personal notes area and a health/security monitor area all displayed and updated simultaneously.

        1. Leapfrog into a market that does not even exist?

          8K would be a seriously stupid move – plus a move Apple would never ever take. Why has Apple waited on certain advancements — because first off they are software company who needs to wait for hardware to catch-up to their inspired dreams. Once the technology has proven itself and the software to make it all easy for anyone to tackle – Apple then takes other technologies – yes even older ones and applies it to hardware 1) to keep prices not down and affordable but to profit from – for the company of course and 2) informing us that its reasons are to prolong the life of the product and comply to the over all digital hub.
          This alone is the best news Apple will have all year. The iMac Pro soon to come just as the 4K creation content blossoms to its fullest. Question arises – do you really need more than 4K – I think perhaps in some sectors of the industry – yet Apple brings this technology of 4K to the masses not exclusively to Hollywood film markers. Got it?

          1. I don’t think I said anything about releasing the ‘leapfrog’ device this year. I was thinking closer to 2020 when NHK will be broadcasting the Olympics in 8K.

            Not hard to extrapolate considering Apple sold a 5K monitor in the past. Why not a Apple branded 8K tv to go with the ‘new’ ATV box if not embedded in the 8K tv? Seeing how Digital TV is interactive in Japan makes current US cable companies look very behind the times. Apple doesn’t have to wait, that’s partly the reason the perception that Apple is a ‘follower’ now stems from.

        2. ATV remains a test pilot for Apple.
          No need to invest further research and efforts in a product barely earning your company a chance at profit. I would not be surprised if Apple abandons ATV like it did servers.

          1. True. I think Apple continues to hang on since the hopes for the ATV are now the remnants of Steve believing he had “cracked” tv. Unlike the servers, giving up on ATV would also in a way be saying Steve was ‘wrong’.

            1. You confuse and conflate Steve being wrong about “cracking it” because of your blind devotion to Clueless Cook and Clueless Cue dropping the ball and have no idea how to get it done. Period.

              Have you not been reading MDN’s constructive critiques on ATV for years now? …

            2. How did you arrive at me personally supporting Cook blindly or otherwise? I simply gave my guess as to why Apple continues to try to this day with ‘new’ versions of ATV.

            3. OK, so you are saying Apple is clueless to know how to get this ATV done and YOU are blaming it on Steve being “wrong”.

              Excuse me, then WHO is to blame?

              Based on your previous Apple defender posts I assumed you are simply at it again. Am I wrong? …

            4. I am saying, as you may have noted in a reply earlier in this stream, that Apple may not be following Steve’s “cracked tv” plan and it is about time they either reveal what exactly what his plan was or finally get on the ball and follow it already. I didn’t claim Steve was wrong as you seem to indicate but I will agree that I think Apple is clueless with their ATV plans. I said that Apple is simply dragging ATV development on because it would give the impression that Steve was wrong if they stop.

              I am playing the devil’s advocate and trying to show another facet to arguments in MDN. If you have been around long enough you would note that I lean less towards defending Apple than questioning them though I try to keep a balance.

            5. OK, fine. While you’re playing semantics and word games I will simply say Steve “cracked it” and Clueless Cook and Clueless Cue have no idea how to get it done.

              They need Scott …

            6. No particular word games. Sorry you misinterpreted what I wrote.

              I agree with you that Apple would benefit from Scott returning. One thing that made iOS distinctive and so easy to adapt to for new users was their skeuomorphic design. I was quite disappointed when they changed.

            7. And I agree with you skeuomorphic design made the OS much easier to use especially for those new to Apple as well as beautiful to the eye. Scott would also hold Jony’s personal tastes in check to satisfy customers …

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