Tablets of yesteryear were plastic bricks. Today, most tablets look like an iPad. Even Apple’s little hobby, Apple TV, has competitors copying Apple. Why? Where were they a few years ago? Apple figured out how to make some money on Apple TV. Let the copying begin.
Follow The Yellow Brick Road
Do you know when Apple TV debuted? The first version was announced in late 2006 and shipped in early 2007; a few months before the iPhone launched.
In terms of capability, the early Apple TV models didn’t do much but cost too much. Apple’s Steve Jobs called it a ‘hobby.’
Step by step Apple improved the form factor and added features and dropped the price tag and CEO Tim Cook said Apple TV made a billion dollars in revenue last year.
Guess what happened next?
Competitors are coming out of the woodwork following Apple’s Yellow Brick Road to capitalize on the trail blazed by Apple TV. Google’s original Google TV was a failure. Then Chromecast. Next up is Android TV.
Amazon wanted in on the Yellow Brick Road money trail and just launched Apple TV Plus. No. Wait. It’s actually called Amazon Fire TV (but the feature set make it seem like a mild hardware upgrade to Apple TV, hence the Plus).
Apple created a market for TV add-on pieces that stream movies, TV shows, and music from the cloud or a nearby Mac or Windows PC. And, you can stream video and sound from your iPhone or iPad.
Apple did not sell a billion dollars worth of Apple TV hardware. Instead, it sold a billion dollars of TV shows, music, movies, and other goodies through Apple TV. That’s not a shabby business, and it’s probably difficult for Apple to call it a hobby and keep a straight face.
What’s The Problem, Kate?
All this Apple leading and Google and Amazon and others following is old news. It happens all the time. The only real issue I have is that nobody is blazing any new trails.
That includes Apple.
I like my Apple TV. I’ve tried Chromecast and Roku. I’ll probably get a good look at Fire TV (Will buys everything). But so what? They’re all simply means to an end and none of them solve the real problem we face.
TV on demand. All of it. All the time. Anytime. Anywhere.
Until Apple or someone else solves the Balkanization of the industry and delivers TV on demand the way God intended, well, everything else is just a hobby.