Apple has an event upcoming March 25 that it is promoting as though it will launch affordable consumer space travel. But what it is expected to be about is the next step of the companies push in the TV world. Apple has gone from sort of dabbling in TV with the introduction of the first Apple TV designed to play movies saved on Mac computers, to devices designed to stream established services and allow users to purchase titles from iTunes. Along the way there have been predictions by those hoping to get clicks that Apple was in fact going to release televisions. That never happened. Another big guess people made was that Apple was going to put out a live TV service akin to Sling TV. That also never happened. Now the scuttlebutt is that Apple is rolling out a full fledged streaming service to rival Netflix and Amazon Prime. There are some bullish predictions concerning apples big announcement next week. In an article on CNBC one analyst says that Apple will have a one hundred million subscribers in 3 years. I find that a bit hard to believe. It took Netflix a decade to get where it is now. And I don’t see Apple rolling out something that looks more or less like other services that are already on the market especially considering that so many major media companies are putting together their own services. Warner and other companies are not trying to sell their content to other distributors anymore. They are trying to create exclusivity. As are established players like Netflix.
Netflix and Amazon were first able to build an audience by offering people access to a large library of content. Apple so far has not indicated in any way that they have Partnerships that will allow them to provide one. And the fact that both already have a major beachhead likely means that Apple is not going to try and re make the wheel. What Apple is probably going to do is continue to improve on the wheel in a way that makes it more stylish and efficient for those who use it.
Starting Apple music was a very logical step considering that Apple already let the world in selling music. iTunes had already changed the way people purchase music and it was a logical growth segment to get into music services. Despite how popular services like Spotify or serious satellite radio or Pandora are, Apple already had a big place at the table when it came to streaming music via iTunes Radio stannous and the aforementioned purchasing service. The library streaming content business looks a lot different than the music business did a few years ago. Netflix and Amazon have a decade head start on Apple and Hulu is only getting bigger and more powerful with its relationship to Disney. Plus Apple has been working to blend as many services as it can into the “TV” app it offers via mobile devices and the Apple TV streaming box.
So what is this big event about then? I think it will feature a number of things.
- First off I think that there will be some kind of big Improvement to Apple TV in general. Possibly a new model or at least some kind of major upgrade to the TV operating system. It might even get a price reduction in order to get more people to buy it. There will definitely be some sort of upgrade to the TV app. Maybe they will change the name of it even.
- They will also announce new Partnerships. Mac Rumors has been reporting that Apple will put Airplay on Roku devices. I don’t know if I would necessarily expect Apple to integrate Airplay on existing Roku devices but it could at least start integrating it into televisions powered by Roku from companies like TCL, Hisense and Sharp. This would be in line with previous announcements at CES concerning LG and Samsung TVs. Apple has been making a real point to get more integrated with rival services such as Apple music being available in Alexa now.
- The presentation will feature a lot of big names involved with these projects and previews of some of the shows that it will be working on. A billion dollars has to go to something right? So you can expect the rollout with Hollywood stars touting the projects.
- But here is what I really think Apple will be talking about. I think they are going to introduce a major upgrade to the music service that ties in original content TV shows. Along with that I think Apple is going to offer some sort of way to get discounts on existing services for customers who subscribe to their beefed up service. They are probably building a better way to integrate all of these major streaming services together in one interface with maybe a discount for people who upgrade to whatever service they will be pushing at the event. Apple may be giving people what they’ve been wanting for a long time which is a way to create a new bundle with services that they can pick and choose from.
- Apple may also announce the integration of more cable replacement services into its TV app. It wants it app to be the first place people look to for content.
- Expect new partnerships with major providers along the lines of what it did with Spectrum. Their partnership allows customers to sign into all of their TV everywhere apps instantly. This could be another big game for Apple because nobody has mastered TV everywhere.If Apple is able to tie all of these things together it will have a compelling product offor. It may make its device a much more compelling device for cord cutters and position itself to be the middle man that people using streaming deceives for everything from cable to podcasts use to get there. No company has done this fully and effectively yet. And if Apple cracks it, it could be on the way to something big.