For all the glitz and glamor and of course over the top brags that always accompany Apple announcements the TV app, which is still months away from actually launching will arrive not as an innovation but as a reminder of a loss on Apple’s part. Apple fans and industry watchers have not been waiting for Apple to introduce an app that suggested viewing options from iTunes and third-party sources for the last 3 years. They have been looking for an Apple product that would deliver live TV and local networks. The proposed service was the nonstory that wouldn’t die last year and replaced the actual Apple-branded television set as the top thing that Apple fans wanted and were not going to get. If Apple eventually finds a way to make the deals needed to deliver a fully integrated and one of a kind live TV solution it would be an important innovation.
The TV app is not going to change the way people watch TV. It might though help to mainstream TV everywhere apps. TV everywhere apps have failed to truly capture the attention of many because to most consumers they fall in a gap between “I already have this channel” and “I can’t use this app because I don’t have cable” The problem is the advantage of TV everywhere apps is that they allow viewers to save money on extra receivers from their provider. And by avoiding using extra receivers in a household that will cost the providers money. What provider is going to say “Hey do you love FX, ESPN and The History channel? would you like to watch programming from these networks on TV without paying 10 or more dollars extra a month for an HD box? Then go get and Apple TV or a Roku!” What Apple has done between the universal login and the development of the new app is give those who want to stream on demand titles a much simpler way to access the content they already have access to without popping in and out of apps.
Will iTunes dominate?
Along with all of the various app partners which include Hulu, HBO and TV everywhere apps is iTunes. Apple would never leave its own product out of the picture. But what we wonder is will there be an obvious bias towards the iTunes content over everything else. Amazon certainly makes it easy to find ways to get content from Amazon in its searches even with the new integration of search partners. Apple is unlikely to develop a new interface app that costs it money.