The Apple TV is a solid product, but it doesn’t do a whole lot
more than rival streaming set-top boxes on the market. But
there were big plans for the device, according to a
new Bloomberg report. Some of those plans are still on the
roadmap, like an upgraded device that can stream 4K content.
Others, like a skinny bundle of TV networks that could replace
a cable subscription, seem like a lost cause.
Apple just hired former Amazon Fire TV chief Timothy Twerdahl
take over Apple TV marketing, freeing former marketing head
Pete Distad to make content deals for the device. This move is
a promising one, indicating that Apple knows the TV needs some
But Bloomberg’s unnamed sources, who include current Apple
engineers, say Apple had a slate of plans that fell through:
- A coaxial port to stream live TV to the set-top box, which
was scrapped after Apple couldn’t work out deals with cable
- A personalized home screen, something akin to the TV app
but with totally customized recommendations
- A bundled gaming controller
- Voice control for the TV itself, not just the remote
The biggest missing piece is support for 4K content, which is
becoming more prevalent. Bloomberg’s sources say Apple could
have future-proofed the fourth-gen version with a faster
processor for streaming 4K, but didn’t want to sacrifice its
high margins by paying more to make the device.
Apple reportedly wanted to include a coaxial port in the
fourth-gen TV for live streaming.
Up next: 4K and originals
So now Apple is turning its attention to content to
differentiate the TV. The skinny bundle is an unlikely option,
though Apple has other ideas. This spring, the company is
two original shows on Apple Music. It’s also in talks with
content makers and production companies to distribute their
work or outright buy them, according to a Thursday report from
The Financial Times.
Apple reportedly had serious discussions with Ron Howard’s
Imagine Entertainment to distribute Imagine movies and shows
with an exclusive window. “The discussions fizzled out” after
CEO Tim Cook and software/services chief Eddy Cue got involved,
the FT said.
This isn’t the first content deal to fall apart—Apple
reportedly was interested in
acquiring Time Warner, which would have brought HBO and CNN
into its fold, but that didn’t work out either. Now AT&T is
nearing a merger with Time Warner.