Will Apple update its Apple TV streaming device in the next year or is the streamer on its way out as a product altogether? I’m going out on a limb and saying maybe it’s done. Why? In ten years it has not been heavily marketed, has a very small presence in Apple stores, and even worse, it essentially shares a name with another Apple product, Apple TV+. If you Google Apple TV the streaming device essentially only shows up in advertisements. The headlines are all about Apple TV+. To get a page of results about the little box you have to search for Apple TV streaming device. The streaming device has been around a LOT longer than the streaming service. Reall? Yeah it’s been around so long Steve Jobs introduced it and then updated it.
Search for Roku and see what happens. It will not return a page full of results about the Roku App. And the market share helps explain why. In the US, Mexico, and Canada Roku has 53 percent of the market for connected TV devices while Apple TV has 7% putting it at a distant 4th behind Samsung, and Amazon’s Fire TV platform. To its credit, in the Asia Pacific region, it has 8% of the market and a fifth-place ranking.
The device has just never really registered with the consumers even when it was the only recognizable name in the business back before Roku graduated from hobby shops and Amazon and Google got into the game. And that is not for a lack of high-performing hardware. The current devices have an easy-to-use remote with touch sensitivity and tactile control built into the same hardware, a large app store, a pretty interface, and the ability to play games from Apple Arcade.
But its not just the fact that the device has never caught on that I find suspicious. It is the fact that now Apple is giving them away, sort of. Verizon is running a promotion that includes the latest iPhone and an Apple TV just thrown in too. Is that Apple’s way of getting the device into the living rooms of consumers for a big push or a way to clear out the warehouses?
Apple has spent the last few years integrating the technology that made the device unique into other hardware. Roku products can fully handle Apple’s Airplay feature, an innovation that launched long before Chromecast was a glint in Google’s eye. Look at all the TV’s that now support the Apple TV protocol. They include TVs powered by Roku OS, Samsung, LG Vizio and numerous others. The Apple TV+ app is also becoming omnipresent. Both features used to be exclusive to Apple products.
Designers and production professionals will continue to look to Macs, iPhones, while no longer commanding camp-out dedication, are still hugely popular and iPads are the best-known tablet brand hands down. And you don’t see Apple dropping iMovie onto Android phones and Windows PC’s.
Maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree here. But I just don’t see it unless Apple just doesn’t care that it is not at the top of the list in that category. But if we get half way through 2024 without an announcement and say Verizon drops the Apple TV throw in you can call the goose cooked.