Doesn’t time fly, eh, readers? Only last week I pointed out Apple’s big plans for iTunes, and here we are this morning with the Wall Street Journal letting slip a few more fragments about what some of those plans include: A 25-channel streaming TV service – take that, cable!
These plans follow last year’s reports claiming Apple delayed some of its Apple television plans while it attempted to reach deals with TV and cable channels. And with that in mind, isn’t it interesting that the WSJ report mentions a hitherto unknown quarrel between Apple and cable/TV supplier, Comcast.
“The technology giant is in talks with programmers to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks this fall, according to people familiar with the matter. The service would have about 25 channels, anchored by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and Fox, and would be available on Apple devices such as the Apple TV, they said.”(WSJ)
You can almost imagine you know what time it is.
The WSJ claims Apple will announce its new TV service in June, and will begin offering the system in September with 25 or more channels from ABC, CBS and Fox, but won’t feature NBC Universal content. Disney and HBO seem likely candidates, given Disney CEO Bob Iger sits on Apple’s board and the recent HBO Now deal.
Apple’s ambitions don’t stop there; we heard today the company is sniffing around with the intention of launching a few satellites. That’s not such a ridiculous idea. Apple’s connected devices need to be connected, and satellite broadband provision makes sense to Cupertino if it wants to sell its products in developing markets in which broadband infrastructure isn’t yet in place.
(I know satellite broadband has problems with jitter, latency and rain fade, but new technology improvements mean you should expect 100Mbps satellite broadband services by 2020, ThanesAlenia claims.)
Apple may also want to be able to offer satellite broadband because it knows bandwidth demand will climb exponentially once the Internet of Things truly takes off. The company will surely be exploring whether it can ship connectivity in the box with its products, rather than need to agree revenue sharing deals with carriers, who will otherwise attempt to charge customers for each device they need to bring online, which will impact IoT proliferation.
Returning to what seems to be Apple’s Next Big Thing (NBT) for 2015, the WSJ claims Apple will announce its Apple streaming television channels as well as the iTunes/Beats streaming music service in June for September launch. We will also get to buy, install and run apps from the App Store at last. (Wouldn’t it be amusing if the company also introduced Apple TV-exclusive iOS versions of popular Nintendo games?)
Given Apple’s recent fire sale on unsold Apple TV units, I imagine new models of that device may also appear – it seems remotely possible you may even find this becomes the set top box you get sold with your cable subscription (as was widely speculated upon some time back).
Apple’s work in this sector is a continuation of a mission cast upon the company by co-founder, Steve Jobs, who once said: “I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use… it will have the simplest user interface you could imagine.”
Strategy Analytics in 2012 claimed: "Nearly half of existing iPhone users would be very or somewhat likely to buy an Apple iTV soon after its launch.” We may never see an Apple television, but we may well see Apple create a good business around Apple TV and its music, movies and iOS app delivery set top box. Apple really is expanding.
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