Rivals leaving Apple behind as Apple TV remains stuck in a test pattern

“Since well before Steve Jobs died in 2011, Apple executives have been saying TV entertainment needed a wholesale reinvention and Apple was just the company to do it,” Shira Ovide reports for Bloomberg. “Fast forward to 2017, and America’s entertainment is being reinvented. But Apple is barely involved… Perhaps the most surprising thing is Apple doesn’t seem to have a vision for what it wants to do in entertainment even after all these years. This is emblematic of Apple’s waning ability to invent the future.”

“To see how far Apple hasn’t come, it helps to flash back to just after Tim Cook became CEO. He dropped hint after hint that the company was working on something big in television. ‘Many people would say this is an area in their life they’re not really pleased with … the whole TV experience,’ he said in a 2012 interview. ‘This is an area of intense interest for us,'” Ovide reports. “Five years later, Cook is still proclaiming great interest in shaking up entertainment, but he doesn’t have much to show for it. Here’s what Cook said last week when he was asked about Apple’s position in television and Apple’s recent debuts of TV-like web video programming. ‘We’ll see how this goes, but it is still an area of great interest,’ he said. His rhetoric is getting stale.”

“Eddy Cue, the Apple executive in charge of digital media, recently said Apple was trying to ‘do some different things’ in entertainment. But it hardly seems that way,” Ovide reports. “After 10 years, Apple TV is pretty much the same. Meanwhile Amazon, Google and others are leading the way in revamping how people interact with TV sets by speaking to them or mixing live television programs with libraries of older shows and movies.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s plainly evident and very, very simple: The Apple executive in charge of digital media is the wrong guy for the job.

Tim Cook still seems to be unable to do what needed to be done years ago; affixing bandaids where excision is required.

Eddy Cue
Eddy Cue
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.MacDailyNews, June 30, 2017

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’s so-called TV ‘strategy’ continues to be an embarrassing joke – June 30, 2017
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. We recently cut cable tv and purchased five streamers…four Amazon Fire TVs and one Firestick. Only ATV4 in our house runs HomeKit net. Gave away our ATV3s. All other tech in our house is Apple.

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

    In other words a daft alcoholic old slovenly buzzard way past his date of expiration. Eddie needs the drop kick treatment out the front door posthaste.

  3. I have an ATV4 and a Roku Streaming stick for travel.

    I prefer the physical shape and size of the Roku Remote but also prefer the functionality of the touch controls.

    I like the form factor and price of the Roku stick for travel but find the interface clunky and awkward much like the recent disastrous Hulu facelift on ATV4. But at $30-40 I can live with a few extra clicks and ugly titling effects on the road.

    In contrast, my expectations for the ATV4 are substantially higher and for the most part it delivers.

    Most of my issues with ATV4 have to do with remotes and game controllers. App vendors support gamepads but do not permit the remapping of the buttons to the traditional FPS arrangement.

    The remote that comes standard is too small and slim and therefore easily lost is upholstered chairs and couches. It is also symmetrical in all three axes with unlit buttons making it too easy to hit the wrong control in the dark.

    I’ve also cut the cable cord except for the cable broadband modem that I retained because the only alternative is higher speed fiber with a ridiculously low bandwidth cap.

    As far as my hopes of having one overarching TV interface? Failure. Netflix in not searchable from the home screen and each TV app does things differently.

    And then when you’ve learned it they update it so you have to find your shows again. This is where the queue of recorded programs on the Cabke DVR has it beat. All the shows you chose are in one place.

    But even so the ATV4 comes closer to what I want than the other offerings. To keep me coming back Apple needs to:

    Offer 4K with HDR I don’t need it right now but some do.

    Fix the remote or encourage more stridently a standard for remote and game pad makers and app makers.

    Get Netflix and Amazon to permit there services to be searchable from anywhere in any app.

    Allow a rental fee to be applied to a movie purchase.

    Make Siri work better.

  4. The problem is that there are far too many services and with more and more of them offering exclusive content the simple fact is that unless you just don’t watch those things whatever you do subscribe to is going to start getting expensive quickly. In the UK if you want to watch premier league you basically need Sky, or BT (for far fewer games), add in netflix, amazon (you could offset that and say you’d be paying for prime anyway), it’s easy to spend a lot of money very easily. If you want the football you get a sky box which comes with a load of channels. Streaming is then an additional option. Unless you can access any service on any device it doesn’t really matter if one thing is marginally better as it will still be a fragmented market.

  5. No cable here. And no Apple TV. I have an antenna, a DVR, Netflix and a Roku. They offer more stuff to watch than I possible can if I want to have a life outside my TV room.

    I refuse to pay the exorbitant charges of the near-monopoly cable company in my area. They an keep their ESPN, house hunting shows and crazy food shows and I will keep my money to spend on more enjoyable pursuits.

    Apple TV?? Please…… They should have canned Apple TV and spent the money on a new mesh router system. Eero is on it’s 2nd generation. Apple doesn’t’ even have a horse in the race. Pathetic. But, they are keeping VPN’s out of China. Gosh, all this makes me want to go out and by all the new Apple equipment, NOT!

  6. After iPods and iPhones and iPads, no one was going to let Apple just walk in and reinvent TV. However, other companies have disrupted TV, which suits Apple just fine.

    I have so many Rokus, I can barely count them all. Let’s see 4 TCL Roku tvs. 3 Roku sticks. 1 Roku 4k box. 3 AppleTVs.

    I like the TCL Roku TVs. They’re fairly quick, but the interface is a mess, and it requires you to reorder all your channels, just like having to reorganize your iPhone’s apps, but far more clunky. Each and every tv. I sent Roku a suggestion that all your logged in accounts should automatically sync their channel interfaces.

    The sticks are infuriatingly slow, and they poll the remote all the time, running the batteries down.

    The AppleTV’s play 4k just as well as the Roku 4k devices I have. Can’t see any difference. Yes, I’m playing on 55″ 4k TVs, side-by-side in my livingrooom. I watch two soccer games at a time. I don’t particularly care for the AppleTV remote, but the interface is far better than the Roku’s. You have to actually use the devices to find out what you prefer, but I prefer the AppleTV.

      1. New TVs I buy are TCL, with the Roku built-in. It’s a bonus. The 3 Roku sticks I have are for old TVs in guest bedrooms. The 3 AppleTVs are for the living room, and the 2 bedrooms my family uses.

        So, I have as many AppleTVs as Roku sticks. The new TCL TVs with Roku-builtin are bonuses. There’s nothing wrong with the Roku, except the interface being clunky, and the sticks having flaky remotes that run down their batteries. I actually have to use my iPhone with Roku app, since that’s always charged.

        Lastly, the Rokus are cheap. The sticks I got on Black Friday for $25 each. The TCL TVs have the Roku built-in, and TCL’s are quite cheap. I’d have more AppleTVs but I’m waiting for the newest ones. I have probably 700 movies on a 8TB drive, recorded from my ElGato EyeTV. With the AppleTVs I can stream them all over the house.

  7. I picked up a Blu-Ray Player for a vacation where we would have quite a bit of hotel time…. mainly because I could pre-load a USB stick with several programs to watch there. It also streams about everything I wanted, from Netflix to Hulu to Amazon and more on the Opera TV Store.

    Aside from being able to access my media library and Airplay to the Apple TV, there isn’t anything that could keep me there.

    If a stinkin’ Blu-Ray player can stream content better than an Apple TV (and with a remote control I can use/tell which side is up) there is something wrong.

    Please Apple, fix the Apple TV.

  8. Apple TV in the LR, Roku TV in the Call Room at the Hospital and a Roku Premiere + in the Bedroom.

    Am currently running DIRECTV NOW instead of Sling which I used for a season. I want a la carte as I only use a couple of channels but they make damn sure you pay up.

    What is happening with “skinny” bundles is essentially cartel like behavior- they do not care if it comes over a cable, via your internet or off of a satellite- you are going to buy a bundle damnit or go without. The Anti-Trust laws could put an end to this shit but Agent Orange will not do anything as he is too busy trying to keep his ass out of jail.

  9. From MDN’s quote: “Meanwhile Amazon, Google and others are leading the way in revamping how people interact with TV sets by speaking to them or mixing live television programs with libraries of older shows and movies.”

    LOL. Yeah, I wish Apple TV had a way you could speak to it… (Sheesh)

    Why quote idiots, MDN?

  10. With the current fragmented and chaotic mess of tv services and products available, who is going to “just walk in” to settle things in the end. One answer is that there will never be one way for viewers to settle on.
    Of course you can bet that Apple is aware of the current mess. In the end, no one else is more capable, for a number of reasons, of just walking in. I believe that there is our answer.

    1. I’ve found the Amazon Fire stick to be the best of the bunch in terms of cataloging shows across and integrating access to 3rd party apps to allow a much broader search. Originally I thought that the search covered only the Amazon Video library and any Amazon Subscriptions to premium/specialty channels. I’ve discovered since then that at least for current shows on the major networks it will actually ‘forward’ you to the correct App to view the show. If you don’t already have the proper App it will prompt you to download it.

  11. I have an Apple TV4 and I’m quite happy with it. I have no plans to buy and use anything else. That doesn’t mean I don’t have problems with it:

    First, readability. Too much white text, and too much text that doesn’t contrast well with the background.

    Two, the remote, which obviously did not go through user testing. It’s easier to use the touchpad by accident than on purpose, so I chucked it away somewhere. I forgot where.

    Three, the new TV app. It’s confusing.

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