The Apple TV is admittedly a better bargain at $99, but it still isn’t really whetting my appetite. There are a couple of rumored new additions that could help that change, however. According to some, Live TV and PVR capabilities are next in line for Apple’s favorite living room hobby.
A new licensing partnership between Apple and Rovi Corp, a company that makes interactive television guides, is the reason for speculation about live TV coming to the set-top device. Piper Jaffray’s resident Apple prognosticator, Gene Munster, predicts the arrival of more TV-like features to the Apple TV thanks to the new partnership.
Munster thinks this is another step towards an all-in-one Apple TV, according to Business Insider:
We believe this announcement is further evidence that Apple is developing live TV and DVR features for its Apple TV product, and will likely launch an all-in-one Apple Television in the next 2-4 years.
Recent speculation by Apple analysts suggests the company might be working on a 7-inch tablet to stay competitive with the incoming Android crop of devices sporting a similar design, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Our own Om Malik agrees, and for good reason, but I think otherwise.
While it is true that a 7-inch device would keep production costs down and allow Apple to drop the price of its devices further still, Apple doesn’t have anything to worry about yet in terms of being priced out of the market it essentially created. PC World recently compared prices between the Apple iPad and the Dell Streak, and found that the iPad came out the winner. Likewise, it will probably undercut the Galaxy Tab, though carrier subsidies on contract will make the Tab cheaper initially.
Apple doesn’t provide a means for distributing content via the App Store out of the goodness of its heart. It wants a cut of any profits other companies make there, which is why it takes a 30 percent slice of revenue from purchases made using its iTunes infrastructure. Now, Jobs and company hope to extend that model to newspaper subscriptions, too.
The iPad is a great e-reading device, but it falters when compared with the Kindle in that there is no consistent means of subscribing to periodicals. Some apps feature in-app purchases to get around this (i.e., the Times), some, like Zinio, handle it outside of Apple’s iTunes store framework, and the iBooks app is missing such a system altogether. According to sources familiar with the matter, though, Apple is about to remedy that with a new subscription scheme tailored to digital newspapers.
Apple is celebrating a big milestone today, as its Mac OS X operating system turns 10. That’s 10 years since the first beta of the successor to Mac OS 9 was introduced. On the Mac side of things, OS X played a key role in the reinvention and reinvigoration of Apple, a company that had seen a lengthy stint of turmoil and trouble up to that point.
The first iteration of OS X, 10.0, was ironically named “Cheetah,” despite obviously being the slowest in the series now. After Cheetah came Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard and now, Snow Leopard. Each big cat nickname represented a major point update to the operating system (e.g., 10.1, 10.2, etc.). A screenshot below shows you what OS X 10.0 looked like, so you can see how far it’s come visually if you aren’t familiar.
Look back into Apple’s history, and it’s clear that it never partners with a company that could one day be a threat. Mistakes do happen occasionally, and Apple’s pairing with Google did prove to be a bad idea once Google “decided to enter the mobile phone market,” as Steve Jobs put it. Apple’s decision to include Netflix on the newest Apple TV is very telling when trying to anticipate where Apple is going with video and the iTunes store.
Since the iTunes Music Store was announced in 2003 with only 100,000 tracks available for purchase, press and bloggers have been asking, “when will Apple release a subscription model?” Each time a new music service pops up from Microsoft, RealNetworks and Sony, the question is asked again. Jobs repeatedly insists people want to own content, and a subscription plan doesn’t allow for that. The thing is, when he makes a claim like that, it suggests Apple has considered the idea and decided it will never go that route.
After each Apple press event, there is a visible track of turbulence online, in the technology market and on Wall Street that some cannot help but get caught within. There is no denying that when Apple decides to head in a particular direction, it will lead. And all that is left for the rest of us to decide is whether or not we will follow or get out-of-the-way.
When you continually take such wide strides in innovation, intentional or unintentional, there will always be casualties. In 2010 alone, Apple held no less than five major media events that in some way affected the way markets were defined and revenues were earned for a significant number of companies.
So is Apple TV still only a hobby for Jobs and company? Because if it isn’t, then I’m missing something from yesterday’s presentation when the new iteration of Apple’s set-top device was unveiled. The new Apple TV is smaller, cheaper and sexier, I’ll grant it that, but what else does it really have going for it?
Let’s start with rental only. That’s right, you can only rent content from the Apple TV, not purchase it. It makes sense given the device’s lack of onboard storage, but does it make sense for a buying public that’s only just now moving past the point of physical media ownership? All of a sudden, not only do you not have a disc you own when you pay for content, you also don’t even have a file. Instead you get a window of opportunity.