Now that official details have emerged about the Apple Watch, the rumor mill is churning out speculation about the Apple TV. The latest chatter says Apple is working to launch an online TV service that would let users stream content from about 25 channels to Apple mobile devices and the Apple TV set top box.
Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is in talks with programmers to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks as soon as this fall. ABC, CBS, and Fox are reportedly in the line up but NBCUniversal, which runs USA and Bravo, is noticeably missing from the loop.
“Some media executives said they believed Apple was aiming to price the service at about $30 to $40 a month,” the Journal’s Keach Hagey reported. “The company is aiming to announce its new service in June and launch it in September, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Where Does Apple Fit In?
We caught up with Jeff Kagan, an independent technology analyst, to get his thoughts on the news about Apple TV. He told us it’s hard to know when to get excited about the rollout, given the stops and starts over the years.
“The new thrill of Apple entering the TV space is not new any longer. In fact it's getting a little long in the tooth,” Kagan said. “However, Apple is still a force to be reckoned with and when they do get around to launching this I think it will get a big reception.”
Apple has plenty of competition in the streaming TV market. Beyond services like Netflix and Hulu that offer TV shows on demand, SlingTV has made a name for itself in the live steaming market. Sony is working to roll out streaming TV at a price point higher than what Apple is considering, according to the Journal. Where does Apple TV fit into the fray?
Is This Transformational?
“If we look out another five or 10 years, I think Apple could have a powerful position in the television marketplace if for no other reason than they already have a gazillion customers always wanting the next big thing,” Kagan said, noting that Apple will get plenty of attention if it launches a streaming TV service.
Of course, that doesn’t mean everyone will flock to it, Kagan said. He predicted some would love it and others would hate it. He said he expected Apple TV’s streaming market share to start off small but grow quickly, similar to how the Apple iPhone hit the market seven years ago.
“I don't think Apple will transform the TV space overnight, but because they have so many customers they do have the opportunity to transform the TV space over a few years,” Kagan said. “Just remember how the iPhone transformed wireless and the iPod transformed music.”