Apple’s needs to drain their Apple TV product naming swamp

“If you instantly know the difference between Apple TV, Apple TV app, and Apple TV+, then remember there’s also Apple TV Channels, Apple TV 4K, Apple TV HD, and the Apple TV apps for Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Mac, and TV sets,” William Gallagher writes for AppleInsider. “What words are being overused here?”

MacDailyNews Take: Phil “Number (Hold the 9) Pro Max XS XR SE Plus” Schiller: “Uh…”

Apple TV 4K and its Siri Remote
Apple’s current Apple TV 4K and its Siri Remote (which hopefully will die a violent death sooner than later)
Apple TV+ is home to the biggest directors and top stars
Apple TV+ is a streaming service that’s home to Apple Originals
The all-new Apple TV app
The Apple TV app

William Gallagher for AppleInsider:

Counting the different services, the different hardware, and the different apps, we make it that you can use the words “Apple TV” to mean about eight different things…

We do regularly find ourselves having to explain how to get Apple TV+ through the Apple TV app on Apple TV.

MacDailyNews Take: All of Apple’s “Apple TVs” explained in a 1,300+ word piece here.

One major product naming goal is to concisely and instantly convey to potential customers what a product is and does. We find that goal particularly humorous when trying to explain Apple TV, Apple TV+, and the Apple TV app to normal people who don’t have time for obtaining doctoral degrees.

The process involved in product naming can take months or years to complete. Some key steps include specifying the branding objectives, developing the product name itself, evaluating names through target market testing and focus groups, choosing a final product name, and marketing it with clarity. Obviously, with “Apple TV,” Apple hasn’t bothered with any of this.

Every day, we thank Jobs that there is no line of Apple TV TVs.


  1. Apple’s entire TV strategy and execution is a mess, imho.

    I like the hardware but agree its time for the next generation remote interface. One that is more user friendly. The app UI may also be running its course.

    The Apple TV app is an abomination – I try it every once in a while in hopes that I will finally get it, but I always stop quickly shaking my head. The hybrid version of buying channels individually and using a streaming service like YouTube TV makes no sense. And why the hell would you show me content from a service I don’t subscribe to? Such a horrible experience. Oh, and Netflix doesnt participate.

    Apple’s content strategy is just confusing. Either provide all of the content, like YouTube TV or don’t provide any. I’m not going to jump from YouTube TV’s superior interface to Apple’s confusing piece of garbage. Using Siri is a mess – try explaining why it works depending which app you are in to my wife…

    Apple TV+ just does not have enough content that interests me – hopefully after a year that will change. What I have watched I liked a lot – but thats only 3 or 4 shows, so far.

    Every time Apple goes deeper into TV, they make it worse. I hate to say it, but I kinda wish they would just go away so as not to tease and confuse me with hope.

    I use YouTube TV, Netflix and HBO Go (free for life from ATT with my cellular plan)

    1. Apple TV app is not trying to be YouTube TV.

      I know it’s confusing, hence the article above.

      YouTube TV is an over-the-top internet television service (live TV, on demand video and cloud-based DVR).

      The Apple TV app streams content from the iTunes Store, the Apple TV Channels a la carte video on demand service, and the Apple TV+ original content subscription service.

      1. Hey Phil, it’s not so much confusing – I’m a fanboy, after all. Its that the strategy is just plain wrong. For a brand that made its name on building the best user experiences, you would never know it with their TV execution. Their strategy is all over the place – which is not really a strategy, now, is it. And Channels is similar enough to a streaming service that you can say its the same thing, only not as good. Either Apple is my primary TV provider, or not at all. Piecemeal isn’t going to cut it the way pricing works these days. About the only piece that makes any sense is TV+ which is similar to HBO Go or Showtime. But unless I get it for free, I am unlikely to subscribe after the free trial. The bundled model still makes the most sense. And I don’t see them unseating Netflix, any time soon.

        And iTunes – really? Dinosaur. As someone else pointed out TV has become bloated like iTunes, before the separation.

        Its not all Apple’s fault – the fragmentation of content, studios and services will take 2 or 3 years for their to be a shakeout. Hopefully there will be only 2 left standing and the choices will be easier and more comprehensive.

        Rocky road ahead.

        1. iTunes? Did this post come from a TimeMachine? iTunes was already killed with the release macOS Catalina. I haven’t been able to access my own music since upgrading.

        2. Well, I’m 61 and have no problem figuring out what to watch and where on Apple TV. I can even find my iTunes library in iTunes – sorry, Music – using macOS Catalina. There’s the Apple TV app, and then the others. Not much different than a Smart TV with a cable box. Except, no app for Xfinity as Comcast is Comcast.

          Then again, I didn’t get my first computer until I was 14, and there wasn’t anyone or an internet to tell me how to do anything.

          1. I have no problem finding things, either. I just don’t use Apple’s TV App, except when using TV+, maybe once or twice a month. Otherwise the App is useless to me. It does not fit with my style of TV watching in which I jump from Netflix to YouTube TV to HBO Go (through AT&T TV). The interface simply doesn’t work, especially if you want to watch live TV and local stations.

            That it was revealed yesterday that Apple is buying more content to add to TV+ just confirms what we already know – Apple’s ability to “tell stories” is no better than anyone else’s and their grand vision for TV+ was flawed. But they will continue to tweak and build it incrementally so that hopefully someday they will have a cohesive offering to manage my TV content. Will that be buying more studios, Disney+/Hulu, Netflix or something else? Dunno, but they’ve got their work cut out for them. I don’t have it, but I wonder how Amazon Prime’s experience is?

  2. I’ve often been non-plussed about “apps.” Forgive me Steve, but there’s an app for this and that and what I really need/want is a central place to go for content. It’s part of the “naming” problem.

    iTunes was once a format for entertainment/leisure that worked very well and then it got fat. It there a great reason why a redesigned iTunes-like “browser” wouldn’t function well for “entertainment/leisure,” that would include TV, music, books, news, photos, radio/podcasts, etc? Yes, it lends itself to bloat, but my browser functions just fine and it alleviates the wearying app-detritus.

  3. Who wouldn’t be able to figure this ou…. wait, is this just another old guy clickbait article?

    Ok, nothing to see here. 🙂 The comments likely read like “That’s right! Those darned kids won’t stay off MY lawn either!!”

  4. AppleTV+ could be called Apple Video Entertainment (AVE).
    So among available programs we could distinguish the AVEs from the AVE-nots.
    Or something like that.

  5. I like the names, I’m the one that suggested the original name to Jobs, and then explained to Tim how all the TV variants work in perfect harmony.

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