Mar 022012
 

Apple will announce its third iPad on March 7, but there’s also been a good amount of chatter about the possibility of a new AppleTV to compliment Apple’s iPadHD (hint: Not the name of the device. Trust me.). The most often-reported feature of this new device is a faster processor, a low-cost version of the A5 called the A5X. The bump would allow 1080p content to be displayed, whereas Apple’s current set-top cube only supports 720p. I don’t think this alone justifies the introduction of new hardware, however.

When you think about how Apple versions its products, they fall into 2 rough categories: the iPhone/iPad and their “desktop” offerings, or, if you like “iOS” and “OS X” devices. iOS devices get roughly annual refreshes and OS X device refresh frequencies run about the same (200 – 300 days, with the exception of the languishing Mac Pro). When Apple releases an iOS device, it comes with one or two “killer features” that differentiate it from its predecessor. In the case of the iPad 3, it will be a “Retina” screen, a faster processor and possibly the incorporation of Siri. The iPhone 4S had Siri, a faster processor and a much better camera. OS X updates are typically more subdued: a bump in processor speed, pre-installed RAM and HDD/SSD’s at the same price point (or less). The AppleTV is on a “tweener” cycle: the last one was released in September 2010, the original in January of 2007. With a new Apple TV, you’d expect a couple of new features that would justify the upgrade. With apologies to HDTV enthusiasts, an improved processor and the ability to display 1080p content by itself does not rise to what Apple has traditionally considered worthy of a new model. In my mind, that leaves three options for what we’ll see, if anything, related to the AppleTV on March 7: hardware, software and content (or perhaps some combination of the 3).

Hardware

In addition to a faster processor, I think the options for the AppleTV’s hardware are rather limited, especially if we assume the device is going to keep the same form factor (which I think is likely, given how “leaky” the supply chain is with anything related to Apple’s hardware – witness the myriad iPad 3 photos leading up to its release). Siri is a distant possibility, but I’m not convinced that Siri is something Apple will ever port to its set-top box (put that in same bucket as my dissing the likelihood of an Apple Television). I think options like FaceTime, DVR functionality, motion control or any of the other possibilities floated in the blogosphere are pipe dreams.

Software

AppleTV 5.0 could introduce any number of UI changes, as well as the introduction of new services based on new partnerships. A major software update, available to all ATV 2 owners, could be enough to float the release of a more limited hardware update, sort of like how iOS 3 was co-released with the iPhone 3GS.

Content

The New York Post reported that Apple has been hounding content providers for partnerships for a new streaming television service. Although the source isn’t Wall Street Journal-level, it’s safe to assume Apple has been in ongoing negotiations with providers even before the debut original AppleTV. Currently, Apple’s marquis partners have limited to Netflix, a partner everyone and their brother has on their devices, including every “Smart TV”. Sure there are other fringe services like MLB and Vimeo also available, but I’d rate Apple’s current partner quality a C-; GoogleTV, Roku and just about everyone else has access to a wider swath of non-iTunes content than Apple does. I don’t think the addition of a Hulu Plus or HBO Go will make new hardware more likely. If additional access to content is what floats a new AppleTV, it’ll have to be a major deal involving multiple partners. Otherwise, it won’t share the stage with the iPad 3.

My prediction is that Apple is much more likely to announce something that can be applied to all its current AppleTVs in the way of software and/or partnerships than it is to announce new hardware, but some combination of the three is possible.

Update: Well, it looks like I was probably wrong about what justifies a hardware update. The new AppleTV has a faster processor that allows 1080p content – and it looks like that’s about it. I haven’t seen much on the updated UI, but hopefully it’s something that can be updated on existing ATV2’s. Win some/lose some.

Update 2: From the illustrious MG Siegler, via Twitter: “Old Apple TV does get new UI update. But it will be limited to 720p still”. And the update is being referred to as “5.0”, so at least I got the version down.

Feb 082012
 

I’ve gone on record about how much sense it makes for Apple to graduate from making a set-top Apple TV to Apple making an actual TV. Several times. But the evidence keeps piling up – if by “evidence” you mean “totally unsubstantiated rumors and bullshit ‘supply chain checks'”. But after much digging, I’ve finally uncovered some data that makes a strong case for Apple to make a television.

*source

This is for all of you who haven’t been tracking the recent financial performance of TV manufacturers, a group that apparently includes Gene Munster. Every one of the top five have experienced a drop in sales in their most currently reported quarter compared to the previous year. Seems like a business you’d want to get into.

Some people contend that this is only evidence of a market ripe for the kind of breathtaking innovation that Apple brought to mobile phones. I contend that these people will never be involved in the decision-making at Apple, Inc.

Jan 112012
 

John Biggs from TechCrunch is telling us how Samsung “can have it all” :

“So you have two superlatives: biggest phone manufacturer and biggest TV manufacturer. Add in some tablets, some washing machines, and some acceptable software and you have a real and vibrant ecosystem. The next year will bring plenty of efforts to bring streaming media into the home, but the guy who is already there will win.”

So this is what it takes for a “real and vibrant ecosystem”? Someone should tell the other guys who were “already there” (Palm smartphones, Rio mp3 players, and a long list of etcs.) that the game is rigged and they should have won. Apple’s success has come on the backs of products that were not “already there”; it came from executing flawlessly – mostly in markets where they had no prior presence.

The only thing Samsung’s “already there” status tells me is that history is pretty decent indicator of future performance.

Aug 302011
 

I don’t think Apple will release an HDTV, but I’m in the minority. My reasoning, as reductive as I can present it: regarding media, 90% of Apple’s value to consumers is content. This content can currently be accessed through the AppleTV set-top box.

Steve Jobs used the term “bag of hurt” to describe the BluRay format; I think he might use similar language to describe the HDTV television landscape, but to hear “making an Apple-branded TV” spout with certainty from the ballwashers of some analysts, you’d think Apple could just shove the existing AppleTV into a high-end HDTV. But that won’t work, and I’m going to swallow a little vomit to explain why.

The GoogleTV Didn’t Suck

I know, I know: I busted this thing’s balls when it appeared on the market, and in the end it panned out just like I – and a number of other people – knew it would: on a greased rail being shot off the TigerDirect clearance rack. But those who ignore their history are doomed repeat it, so let’s see what it did right, where it went wrong and think about what  the GoogleTV’s failure could mean for an Apple HDTV.

The list of things GoogleTV does that AppleTV doesn’t isn’t long, but there are a couple of ambitious features that, on their face, make it a better TV-integrated device.

An Integrated UI

When you’re watching TV, you can use the GoogleTV remote (the 2-hands Sony version or the “LOL” 2 hands + lap Logitech version) to not only control the TV, but access the GoogleTV options. These options are overlaid in such a way that you can still see what’s playing on current channel. The “type to search” interface allows you to looks for any media content – whether it’s on TV now or available for sale, rental or on the Internet.

Not TOTALLY shitty

Some of GoogleTV’s functions allows you to use picture-in-picture – say to Tweet while you’re watching House. If you’re a DISH Network subscriber, you also get access to your DVR functions. All these functions co-exist with your HDTV without the user having to change inputs (related note: how is it possible for the high-speed HDMI standard to be so fucking slow to change inputs). This “always on” capability is one major way GoogleTV distinguishes itself from Apple’s offering.

The Internet

In my opinion, this feature isn’t as much about capability as it is about scale. The AppleTV does offer access to non-cable content such as Netflix, MLB/NBA TV, YouTube and Vimeo, for example. GoogleTV offers access to any content that isn’t tied down (which ended up being part of its demise, but more on that later). In addition to Apple’s non-iTunes content, GoogleTV offers access to Amazon, Napster, Pandora, not to mention network offerings from HBO, TNT, CNN and Cartoon Network, to name a few. The Chrome browser also comes baked-in to the GoogleTV, so you can surf the web right from your television.

So What the Fuck Happened?

So you have a device that plays nice with your cable box, providing you with access to its content along with a buttload of Internet video and music content and the Internet itself. Why did the GoogleTV faceplant?

Price

The first and biggest obstacle. When introduced, the set-top version of GoogleTV, the Logitech Revue, retailed for $299. Sony’s bundled TVs, which are already at the high-end of the market price-wise, added a premium to the HDTV’s and Blu-Ray players that baked-in GoogleTV’s functionality. $299 is a fair price for a Blu-Ray player/DVR/cable box, but not for something that lays over all of these devices and provides nothing but redundant functionality, a web browser and some connected content.

Access to Content

Definitely the biggest misstep Google made when crowing about the value of the GoogleTV prior to its release. Imagine this: access to all those network and cable stations you could only get on your laptop’s browser before! Imagine ABC, Hulu and Comedy Central on your HDTV: the way it was meant to be viewed! Now imagine the networks and cable companies slamming its doors on the dicks of people (yes, they were all men) thinking they were going to bask in free episodes HDTV – one by one. Far be it from Google to actually secure any of the relationships that would have been required to keep that from happening. Those episodes of Lost that cost millions apiece to produce want to be free!

Google promised me free Hulu, but all I got was this lousy t-shirt

Apple Didn’t Make It   

It pains me to say that the GoogleTV UI/UX didn’t totally suck, but it did suffer from the characteristic lack of polish that comes from having engineers outnumber designers on your campus 400 to 1. It’s basically Android on a TV. Inconsistencies, glitches and some flat-out labyrinthian UI quirks doomed a product that was already crippled on several other fronts.

#FAIL

How Does This Apply to an Apple HDTV?

To ask the question (as I have) another way: what’s the difference between Apple building the AppleTV UI into a high-end HDTV and stamping their logo on it and Apple continuing to produce the  AppleTV the way it does now as a standalone device? To my mind, the only things that could justify such a move would involve at least one of the following:

Integration of the UI

An Apple HDTV could work just like Sony’s GoogleTV. For that to happen would require Apple to mesh its UI with your cable provider’s, on the same plane as Apple’s own iTunes content to make it a “input one device” – the device you turn on to watch TV. It’s not out of the realm of possibility.

A Feature That GoogleTV Didn’t Have

DVR integration, broader access to cable channel and network Internet content or a blow-your-mind UI that ties it all together. Again, not out of the realm of possibility.

A Reasonable Price

This is a little bit fungible, especially if Apple hits it out of the park on the first two items. There aren’t too many things hardware-wise that you can do to really differentiate yourself in the HDTV market, and this is a mature, saturated, commodity-good market as it is. Remember: in relative terms, the AppleTV at $299 was a flop; at $99 it was a success.

If Apple can break new ground with the “iTV”, I could imagine a universe where it makes its own HDTV. But when I break it down to the fundamental question: “What can Apple do with an HDTV that it can’t do with the AppleTV?”, I do not see it happening. Sorry, Gene.

Jul 252011
 

Handicapping Apple products is now considered to be a national past time. Unfortunately for the overwhelming percentage of prognosticators, they don’t know how badly they suck at it. Because a new wave of asinine Apple product rumors roll in every new moon, it’s tough to dissipate the stink from the last one before the next is upon us. As much as I’d like to think tech bloggers and analysts are that stupid, it’s far more likely that the culprits are playing loyal enthusiasts (and the freetards who hate them) as part of the quest for the almighty pageview.

As someone utterly immune to and sometimes inspired to respond to such ridiculousness, I’ve decided to call out some of the latest rumors casting stinklines across the interwebs and drag them into the light of logic – well, my logic anyway – in the hopes that you, dear reader, will find the moronitude of said rumors to be self-evident.

A New iPhone to Address the Pre-Paid Market

Because I’m a U.S. consumer and purchase my phones with a fat brick of a contract that brings the up-front cost down, I’m not sensitive to the fact that most other countries don’t operate that way. The truth is that the pre-paid smartphone market is both growing – because more mobile phone purchases are smartphone purchases – and largely unexploited. This would appear to be an opportunity for someone like Apple to significantly grow their global market share – you know, that number that means a lot to Android users – by producing a lower-cost version of the iPhone.

The thing is: Apple already makes a lower-cost version of its current smartphone. Every generation of iPhone provides a buying opportunity for prior generation hardware. As of now, you can get an iPhone 3GS for around $450. That price will likely go down when the iPhone 5 is announced. So it’s entirely possible that Apple will make the 3GS more widely available as a cheaper alternative for the pre-paid phone crowd. But there are also some problems with thinking the 3GS is going to be Apple’s global pre-paid phone. First, it assumes that Apple will continue to produce them in mass quantities. It also assumes they’d be willing to drop the price of the phones below $300 or so. Both of those strike me as cutting into the possibility of it happening significantly, but I think the most biggest detriment to the argument is that the 3GS will be 2 generations removed from currency, which I don’t think would reflect well on the Apple brand. So why not the possibility of Apple releasing a “stripped down” version of the iPhone with – or about the same time as – the iPhone 5? No friggin’ way.

For this to be the case, there has to be failure on one of two axes that make successful Apple products: price and features. A”stripped down” version of the iPhone 5 is what? The iPhone 4? If that’s the case, there’s no way Apple offers it for below $300. Does it share the form factor of the iPhone 5 without some killer feature? It’d have to do without a shitload of killer features to bring the cost below $300, at which point it’d again reflect poorly on the brand.

Earth to pundits: Apple makes healthy margins on excellent hardware vertically integrated with a superior platform. While I’m sure the pre-paid market is a goldmine for some companies who can subsist on razor-thin margins, Apple is not – nor do they want to be – that company.  And speaking of non-margins…

The Apple-branded television

I honestly can’t understand the resilience of this one, but it’s an absolute zombie (a plodding Romero zombie, not the wicked-fast Return of the Living Dead kind). I tried taking apart an enthusiastic analyst; I even tried smug allegory. Apparently there are those who still believe in it, so I’m going to boil my objection down simply: what advantage does Apple gain by having a TV with an apple on it versus any TV hooked up to an AppleTV? Margin? If Apple releases a 42″ TV at an Apple margin, the cost of a Vizio + an AppleTV is guaranteed to be hundreds less. So what does Apple do then? Discontinue the set-top box? Not likely. For pundits who don’t “get it”, Apple’s success in studio and broadcast media is and will continue to consist of 9 parts media, 1 part hardware. The value of the hardware has already been captured in a set-top box; further integration would only add a cost barrier while decreasing consumer choice. The only way to add value to the proposition is to add content, which is where Apple will focus, but not by…

Purchasing Hulu

I’m inclined to think this one sprang from a collision of the “Google is rumored to be talking to someone, so Apple must be talking to them too” and the evergreen “Apple has so much cash; they have to spend it on something” streams. Aside from Apple already hosting a bunch of Hulu’s content, Apple already has a model for a streaming media relationships. Look at what Apple did to Netflix on the AppleTV. They managed to keep all of their content, but Netflix didn’t even get their splash screen on the AppleTV interface. That’s the kind of relationship Apple will have with Hulu, if it even has one. Personally, I don’t think Apple’s interest in a catalogue consisting of 90% decades-old TV shows and movies I’ve never heard of is that high.

Update: Macworld’s Dan Moren wrote an article on why Hulu would be an attractive partner for Apple. Even though I agree with very little of it, it does present the most compelling argument I’ve seen on the issue. The best part: Macworlder Chris Breen takes his coworker’s argument apart in the comments section.

So there’s the view from my comfortable naysayer’s perch about things I feel have little to no chance of happening despite the increasing number of articles appearing to the contrary. Comment are open to those who think I’ve grown too pessimistic about Apple’s ambitions (as well as to those pointing out my poor spelling and/or diction).

Apr 132011
 

A long time ago, a small Cupertino company discovered that the more elements of the computer (and later the consumer electronics) experience they controlled, the more people would be willing to pay for the fruits of their labor. They developed their own computer, smartphone, media player and TV set-top box operating systems, designed the boxes they came in, strongly controlled the components that made them up, and dominated their purchasing experience. The company enjoyed decades of nosebleed-margins, accolades from followers, envy from producers of lesser goods, best-in-class reviews and were the darlings of customer satisfaction surveys across the land. Their products were held up as examples of what technology could be.

One day, the company decided to get into the television manufacturing market, a low-margin commodity good that had dozens of major brand competitors that had been in the market for decades. The Cupertino company already made a modestly-successful and arguably best-in-class TV set-top box that allowed viewers to rent, purchase or stream media. Some of their would-be competitors were already working with another major tech company on an operating system that provided similar, but inferior capabilities. Others manufacturers had their own deployment of integrated “apps” from providers of video and music streaming services – both paid and free. Despite all this, the logic of “we have a buttload of cash from doing all things that aren’t this successfully – what else are we going to spend it on?” proved too compelling for their normally shrewd and trend-leading CEO, so they plowed headlong into one of the most established markets in consumer electronics, second only to radio.

One of the paragraphs in this story make sense. One of them is the analyst’s equivalent of petroleum jelly and a JCPenny catalogue lingerie section.

Oct 142010
 

Yesterday, Apple announced an event that will provide a sneak peek at its newest operating system, which may or may not be named “Lion”. With the downplayed and down-priced release of Snow Leopard in 2009, Apple has raised popular expectations regarding what new features will appear in 10.7. Sure, there will be the usual complement of eye candy improvements and maybe some marginal workflow streamlining, but the marquee feature has to be something big. Based on the pace of Apple’s proliferation as the digital media company of record, the scheduled construction of its North Carolina server farm and the likely release date of 10.7 (I’m guessing middle of 2011), Lion – or whatever its actually named – will decisively position OS X as the standard for digital content management.

In a nutshell, Apple will make iTunes the center of users’ media universes. Whatever content is purchased through Apple will be available to be streamed to any Apple device – maybe even any browser. So whether you’re streaming locally through Airplay or remotely through Apple’s servers, your media is always accessible. The capacity for ubiquity could extend far beyond iTunes. You can already sync things such as Notes and Dock Items via MobileMe; think about being able to sync all your application preferences, preference panes – even the contents of your Home folder – instantly. As I pointed out a while ago, Apple already has a number of the components in place necessary to realize this digital content ascension. By baking universal media availability into its operating system, Apple will fully realize of the original “digital hub” vision Steve Jobs alluded to when introducing the original iMac.

Oct 062010
 

It’s not like Logitech didn’t have the benefit of seeing Apple’s media event, where the latest version of its AppleTV was announced for $99. So one wonders what features their new Google TV appliance, the Revue, can offer to justify its $200 premium over the AppleTV.

The ability to do an internet search on your TV? Not really, but integrating current TV listings into your search results does have some appeal. How will this be done? The Logitech site videos depicting the Revue “in use” is a little vague. You can see what appear to be TV shows in the search results, but they’re generic, reflecting neither network nor show affiliation (unless “In Regina’s Kitchen” on station KLON is a new hit Food Network show I’m not aware of). I get the DISH Network implementation – they already have a tuner with which to integrate. And on that topic, who will want to buy into DISH’s offering if they can have the same thing without being married to DISH?

So for $299, you get the Revue box and a keyboard (no, not a remote) to help you watch TV. I don’t know anyone who can resist hitting the couch or recliner with a full size keyboard in tow. There is a trackpad integrated into the keyboard, so I guess you don’t have to bring the mouse too. If you want the HD camera or the mini-keyboard, Logitech offers them as options.

Bottom line: the Revue costs 3 times more than an Apple product in the same space and as much as a dedicated HTPC, which has more flexibility and the same requirement for peripherals. Unless this thing does something it’s not advertising, Google’s first foray into the living room is going to be a laugher.

Aug 312010
 
I don’t usually do predictions, but for the Apple-shaped Guitar Sound Hole Thingy event tomorrow, I’m going to make an exception because it’s rumored to include my favorite Apple non-product: the AppleTV.

The Potential

The reason the AppleTV holds such a special place in my heart is because of its potential. In the land of the cloud, Apple is a media giant. It’s the de facto standard in electronic music distribution and a major supplier of movie, TV show and podcast content. They’ve also got a foot in Audiobooks and a major educational presence in iTunes University. So why hasn’t the AppleTV caught fire the way all of their other devices have?

The Problems

In a nutshell, the AppleTV is primarily a way to enjoy content you buy or to view content once (or however many times within a 24-hour window) that you rent from iTunes. Secondarily, it’s a device that allows you to view video content you got somewhere else. The difference? Apple only allows you to play video encoded in MPEG-4 or H.264 – so re-rip it (the content), hack it (the device -with the excellent ATV Flash or similar tool) or suck it. Ownership is the major distinction between Apple’s offering and subscription services like Netflix, which allows streaming from any browser, iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad (WiFi or 3G). Although content available for streaming is much thinner that Apple’s library, the entry-level streaming accounts priced at $9/month are very attractive option for consumers wanting to supplement – or eliminate – cable. You’d think that paying once and owning content would be superior to streaming content and paying in perpetuity, and you’d be right if the studios and networks weren’t still dicking around with the definition of “own”.

With the exception of music, Apple’s media presence is unleveraged because studios and networks are still making money with their current models.  In what probably cost Steve his liver, Jobs dragged the album-peddling studio dum-dums kicking and screaming to a distribution model that saved their businesses from piracy. With the successful access to content and its subsequent freeing from DRM, the success of Apple’s iPod was assured. Now we have another army of dum-dums: the studios and networks, which have different problems with a common theme. People want their movies and TV shows regardless of what device they reside on. They don’t want the movies they bought for $16.99 to come with a coupon to download the digital version of what they already own for $1.99, and have that copy cement-shoed by DRM. They don’t want to be locked into a timeslot to view their TV Shows, slogging through horrible program options and hours of commercials on the good stuff. The problem is that content providers are still making money with a model that doesn’t give a shit about what people want. So studios continue to layer copyright protection and people continue to flock to torrent sites to get their media.  Apple has been aggressively lobbying media outlets – particularly networks – to loosen their restriction on their content, but the it has been very slow going. Apple has made some progress with the “Authorized Devices” provision on content purchased from iTunes (you can share movies and TV shows with iTunes on up to 5 computers and unlimited the iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads they sync with), but the restrictions on video content need to be shaken loose if any set-top device is going to work – even one from Apple. And dealing with the networks and cable providers is even more facepalm-inducing than dealing with studios.

As the guys at Three Guys and a Podcast point out, networks have a deal with the cable companies: when you carry our content, you carry our stable. We’ll give you a couple of studs, like ESPN and a couple gluebags, like Lifetime (note that the examples given reflect a slight bias on the part of the author). Sounds a lot like the record studios, doesn’t it? Except this model is much more insidious. When you’re dealing with a cable company, you’re dealing with multiple networks, each with their own demands. Compound this with different geographical markets demanding different price points (imagine what they get for CMT in Nashville?) and the market power of the particular cable provider. As complex as this is, I’m sure I’m simplifying these relationships by orders of magnitude. You may think “Good luck unraveling a la carte network pricing in our lifetime”, but one should never underestimate the influence of a man who brought an end to DRM for music.

So because the AppleTV is primarily a device that plays content you buy from Apple, its fortunes track the restrictions placed on that content. While they are not particularly onerous now, when compared to the current state of music ownership, it’s enough to render the device a failure relative to the monster successes that douchebag analysts and tech bloggers are used to seeing from Apple.

The Predictions

A lot of people predict a refreshed AppleTV tomorrow. There’s a lot of speculation in the blogosphere about what this will look like, but most of them focus on 2 things that I have a problem with from a common sense perspective: that the AppleTV’s form factor will become somehow smaller or “sleeker” (a pundit term for what makes Apple products too expensive and port-barren) and that the device will become less expensive – in the $99 range.

1. Form factor. I can’t see a reason to change it, but a good one to keep it: it now shares the same footprint as the Mac Mini. I’m sure there’s some manufacturing advantage to having 2 different devices sharing similar dimensions.

2. Price. Apple doesn’t price marquis products at $99. If it does, it’s after a few generations at a premium point.

Of course, if Apple’s design assumptions for the device were predicated exclusively on streaming content (made possible by a revolutionary set of agreements with studios and networks), that would eliminate the need for the local storage currently contained in shipping ATVs. This in turn would probably change the form factor and lower the price. It’s possible that this thing was redesigned in advance of any game-changing content agreements.

The one thing I do agree with is that the device will receive an iOS (read app-centric) UI overhaul. Right now, Apple has 3 major UIs and only 2 of them are developer friendly. The ATV now essentially has a click-wheel iPod UI and no developer inroads. Bringing the ATV into the iOS fold allows Apple to better focus its UI effort for two UI genres instead of three and to open more virgin soil to developers via the iOS SDK.

I like to hedge as much as the next Apple blogger. If I had to commit to a prediction for the AppleTV (or, *sigh* iTV), I’d say yes to #1, although I don’t think the agreements with content providers are yet to a point where a storage-free device is optimal. I don’t agree with #2: that price is an analyst’s market-jerking wet dream and little else. I think the device’s move to iOS is a no-brainer.  Of course, TMA always has hope for that “one more thing” that will blow the roof off of yet another media paradigm.

An AppleTV that replaces Tivo, hosts content that can be played anywhere via MobileMe and has a la carte subscriptions by channel or network isn’t too much to ask, you know.

Update

So the event has come and gone and the iPod line has gotten its fall color. As far as the AppleTV, it looks like I got Apple’s pricing dead wrong. Like analysts, I could use the backdoor “if they made it smaller, they could drop the price”, but honestly I didn’t see it falling to $99. Market-jerking, indeed. Also wrong: iOS. I do think this is the future, though, especially if Apple wants to make it more than just a media terminal.

I also think Steve has to be pissed that rentals are the only option for (the device still called the) AppleTV. I think he had more ambitions for his network deals. Although $.99 is a throwaway as a rental, it’s for a TV show and you get squadoosh once your rental expires. If the offerings don’t include Showtime and HBO offerings, that’s a loser for me. I’ll snap me up some Weeds for $.99 in a second though.

Aug 252010
 

Excellent, succinct summary on why Apple’s attempts to repackage TV is failing. Anyone who has scrolled through their shitty, sluggish channel guides for 20 minutes before settling for an underwhelming, commercial-riddled half hour of brain death should be able to relate.

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