People in 80 countries will get their hands on the all-new Apple TV in late October. But those customers will also be able to purchase the existing Apple TV for only $69. Apple’s 3-tier strategy eschewed in a new era of how Apple views and provides solutions for the living room, something that was previously a simplistic one-size-fits-all solution.
Apple is actually late to the game, as Amazon, Google and Roku have been providing multi-tiered solutions for quite some time. Google offers their Chromecast with simple remote, for only $35, while Amazon offers their Fire Stick and remote for $39. Amazon and Roku also offer up higher-end solutions, with voice controlled systems. Roku offers the most solutions, currently selling four different systems, starting at $49.99, with their top-end solution just reduced to $89.99.
With so many choices and tiered solutions, it would seem Apple may not have the upper hand. But it is Apple’s simplistic approach that may give it a decisive edge. Until it is explained, the USB sticks, vs set-top-box approach comes across as confusing. What is the difference? Why so many price points and different remote controls? Apple’s solutions all look relatively the same, and for a novice customer, just the physical layout of each Apple TV looking nearly identical makes more sense. Apple’s differences between its legacy $69 Apple TV and the newer $149 or $199 solutions, are significant, and can quickly lend itself towards consumers making an easy choice.
According to Parks Research, Apple TV had fallen behind Roku, Amazon and Google in the set-top-box market during 2014. However, these numbers may be shifted due to pent-up Apple demand. It was highly anticipated Apple would be releasing a new Apple TV in June, but that did not transpire. The likely result is Apple TV sales have been somewhat suppressed while the device features stayed largely static, and would-be buyers waited for the new device.
Apple TV has always been a major consideration in the set-top-box word, and with three price points and two different interfaces and abilities to choose from, Apple TV is likely to leap into first place once again. If Apple chooses to market and advertise Apple TV, as much or more than Amazon and Google do with their devices, Apple TV should quickly become top-of-mind for consumers looking at streaming solutions, putting Apple in pole position for at least the next year.
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