Allow me a moment to climb out onto the Limb of Prognostication. It’s a bit like the Cone of Silence, but with less silence. We’ve devoted plenty of digital ink to Apple’s seeming mess of Apple TV but a future in content has begun to show through the fog of forecasting.
First up, Apple TV may not sell as many units as Google Chrome, Amazon Fire, or Roku, but Apple doesn’t care. Apple TV’s price tag and gross margins make it the market leader in revenue and profits. Apple is ever the long game thinker. Here’s what’s coming.
Over The Hill
One can argue, and somewhat successfully, that Apple’s Apple TV efforts are anemic to the point of being over the hill; a phrase that denotes outmoded technology, old and past one’s prime. On the surface, that may appear to be the case. But it could also mean over the horizon, just beyond where one can see clearly what is coming.
Here it comes.
Word on the streets indicates Apple may be building toward a perfect storm when Apple TV meets content which meets an Apple television. A 4k Apple TV? No. 8k Apple TV. And an 8k Apple branded television. And Apple developed content. Another word on the streets says the company is willing to spend $1-billion to develop original content exclusively for viewing on Apple’s own devices.
See? The picture just got a bit more clear, did it not?
Maybe we’ll see some of this in layers; for example, a 4k Apple TV before an 8k Apple TV, but you get the picture. Apple is slow walking television because the industry is in upheaval and needs a direction before Apple jumps in to make it all feel better about itself.
Remember, Apple is a hardware company. No, don’t be fooled by analysis that Services is the next big thing. No hardware means no Services revenue and profits. And hardware means Apple TV and the aforementioned Apple 8k television. I’m thinking true quantum dot displays, but lets save that for a more geek ridden day.
The key here is to recognize how a perfect storm can develop.
Apple TV means apps as channels. 4k Apple TV means more apps, more channels, and by this time next year, more Apple developed content that you won’t be able to view anywhere else except on an Apple product. Add to that 4k Apple TV an Apple-based streaming television service with built-in DVR ala Google’s YouTube TV, and suddenly the competitive landscape has changed, no?
What about movie theaters? From a tight relationship with Disney, Apple has some clout with content producers. Yes, it’s the clout that a big wad of cash that’s sitting around doing nothing can bring, but clout nonetheless. Word on the proverbial streets says Apple is working on a plan to bring new movies– those released to movie theaters recently– to iTunes and Apple TV; perhaps within a few weeks of their release to theaters.
Again, Apple has money (tens of billions). And customers (hundreds of billions). And distribution capability like no other. Movies shoot their wad in the first few weeks of theater releases anyway, so what better way for content producers to soak up some more of that gravy train (I bought some mixed metaphors on Amazon Prime Day, too) than to release movies on Apple TV and iTunes before they age for network television.
What we’re looking at here is a perfect storm just over the horizon.
- 4k Apple TV
- 8k Apple TV
- 8k Apple television
- Apple-branded content
- Early movie releases
- Apple streaming network TV
- Exclusivity to Apple hardware
This is how Apple will attack television and it won’t be pretty for competitors.