While Apple expects to make plenty of new app and software announcements during next week's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), don't expect to hear any updates about its much-anticipated online Apple TV service. That's because negotiations over broadcast rights are taking longer than expected, according to reports.
One hurdle to securing those rights is Apple's reported interest in providing local broadcasts along with national network programs on its TV service. That would require the company to negotiate deals with numerous local stations across the U.S.
Set to kick off Monday at San Francisco's Moscone West conference center, Apple's 26th annual WWDC is scheduled to run through June 12. Among the sessions taking place over the five-day event are a "State of the Union" update about Apple platforms, presentation of 2015 Apple Design Awards, and developer updates about the Apple Watch, iTunes, HealthKit and Apple's smart home-focused HomeKit.
'Pins and Needles'
Many of the labs and presentations scheduled for WWDC, however, fall into the TBA -- to be announced -- category for now. Apple's online schedule for the conference features coy and mysterious titles such as "Pins and needles," "Patience is a virtue," "You'll be talking about this one" and "Oh no we didn't."
"We've got incredible new technologies for iOS and OS X to share with developers at WWDC and around the world, and can't wait to see the next generation of apps they create," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, earlier this year.
Developers attending WWDC, however, are not likely to hear details about Apple's proposed online TV service, which would compete with other so-called "over-the-top," Internet-based services like Amazon Instant Video, Hulu and Netflix. Apple had been hoping to launch the service this fall so it could broadcast the season's new network programs, according to a report by re/code earlier this week. However, complications in negotiating licensing rights are expected to delay the launch until later this year or next year.
Events on China, Women in Tech
One of the challenges in enabling Internet-based broadcasts of local television programs is that local market stations would likely require those shows to be available only within a designated market area, or DMA. There are currently 210 separate DMAs across the U.S., according to the National Association of Broadcasters.
Internet TV providers can restrict local program availability to subscribers within specific DMAs using spot-beaming. Both CBS and ABC already offer such programming, although only within a few markets across the country.
Among the other events set to take place during WWDC are a program devoted to apps development for the China market, a "get-together" about women in technology and a review of developments in health-related apps and wearables, including news about Apple's HealthKit and ResearchKit, an iPhone-based software framework for medical research.