On the surface, it appears as if Apple isn’t doing much with its Apple TV hobby. A little analysis shows that Apple is just being Apple and that means a slow walk. Slow walk? Maybe slower than slow.
‘Slow walk‘ is the third-person singular simple present tense of dragging one’s feet, or a request or expectation being delayed. Dragging once feet might seem to be reluctance, but slow-walking is more intentional. Apple is slow-walking Apple TV.
Damned Lying Statistics
Among streaming television boxes in the U.S., Apple TV must be the worst. No, not the worst in usability. They’re all cumbersome creatures with far too many clicks to get to a wanted TV show. No, not the worst in selection. They all vary in programming but are similar– Roku, Google’s Chromecast, Amazon’s Fire TV, or Apple TV. It’s not even a quality issue because once you hit HD most video looks pretty good, and there isn’t much content yet for 4k TV, movies, or videos. It’s coming, though, hence the slow walk from Apple.
People who make guesstimates about numbers which do not exist publicly put Roku in the marketshare lead, just ahead of Google Chromecast, which, in turn, is just ahead of Amazon Fire TV. Apple lags way behind in fourth place. Can Apple ever catch up?
Actually, Apple might be exactly where it should be because Apple TV looks to be where iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Watch already are. The industry segment leader.
Wait. What? How is that possible? If Apple is fourth among the leaders, then how is it leading? First, all the competitor’s streaming TV solutions are priced way less than Apple TV. In fact, so far less that Roku, Chromecast, and Fire TV devices combined are about the same price as Apple TV, so it looks as if Apple could be leading where it counts.
This is an old story, right? Apple leads in revenue and that means Apple likely leads in profits. What we don’t know from the numbers guesstimators are a few other, well, numbers that help to determine an industry leader from a laggard.
Among all four streaming TV device makers, what is the customer usage? From personal experience and my own private survey taking of friends, family, and co-workers, Chromecast and Fire TV suck (usability wise) and though they sell more in numbers are not likely used as much. Roku is similar to Apple TV in many respects, and even has a model that does 4k streaming video. All we need is 4k streaming video to become popular enough.
Hence, the Apple TV slow walk.
Another number seldom discussed among competitors, members of the technorati elite politburo, and certainly not among the numbers guesstimators, is how much revenue each streaming TV maker makes from, well, streaming television shows, movies, etc. Apple may make more money on hardware, but the company isn’t exactly a slouch among downloads.
Why is Apple doing the Apple TV slow walk toward 4k video, HDR, and all the goodies and channels offered by competitors? Because right now it doesn’t matter who leads in sales because Apple already gets the lead in revenue, probably in profits, too, and likely does better than others in streaming media and channels as apps.
4k video and an enhanced Apple TV merely is another rung on the ladder. Apple isn’t in any hurry because it’s not exactly behind the times.
Slow walking new technology is what Apple does.