Wait a minute. Apple TV is already here, better than ever, packed with thousands of applications, and the next best thing to a cable TV subscription, right? What is Apple doing wrong? It all boils down to the basics. Input #1 vs. Input #2 on your television. Oh, and Apple’s stubborn refusal to bite the bullet, go the extra mile, cut app developers a little slack, and be willing to take a smaller slice of a bigger pie.
iCame, iSaw, iBought
Apple TV is anything but a barren wasteland. You know, like television itself. There are thousands of apps, TV channels as apps, more apps coming, and some of them– like the Papa John’s Apple TV app that inspired this missive– make money by selling you things.
Ostensibly, Apple gets a cut of whatever gets sold within an app; as high as 30-percent commission on iOS and Mac app downloads, but there are some products that just don’t have a 30-percent markup or margin to share with Apple. Tough cookies for those products and retailers, right?
How about a change of perspective, Apple?
Why Apple TV hasn’t taken over the television industry is obvious. Cable TV occupies Input #1 on your television, and unless you’re cutting the cord to spite your face, the best Apple TV gets is Input #2, and that position means many TV watchers put Apple TV in second place most of the time. What would get Apple TV to Input #1 as a replacement for cable TV subscriptions?
An Apple-branded internet TV package or two, perhaps on the order of Sling TV (which you can get as an app on Apple TV). If Apple had a skinny package and a basic package and an extended package of network TV channels it would be easier for Apple TV customers to drop their cable TV package and move Apple TV from Input #2 to Input #1, so to speak.
That change in position would open up the Apple TV floodgates for more applications– ostensibly, apps that could run picture-in-picture within a streaming TV show or movie, and make it drop dead simple to shop and buy online– everything from pizza to clothing to technology whatever can be sold with a video and a credit card in the good old iTunes account.
Think of the advantages to having, 1) Apple streaming TV package as Input #1 sans a cable TV subscription, and, 2) Apple TV applications that display products for sale, all available for purchase with your Apple iTunes account and credit card. Retailers could have their own apps that display and sell various products. I’m thinking Target, Macy’s, Best Buy, and any of the thousands of retailers that inhabit the shopping mall. Products would be displayed as streaming videos from Apple TV apps, easily purchased via your iTunes account.
Why hasn’t Amazon done this already? They sell everything online already. Picture this scenario– fire up your Apple TV Amazon app and shop ’till you drop on your own floor. Home Shopping Network and QVC could have their own streaming apps, too.
Apple’s problem here is greed. The company wants a huge chunk of a small pie, instead of a smaller chunk of a very, very large pie.