Apple TV is coming! Apple TV is coming! We've heard the battle cry from analysts to rumor soothsayers en masse for many years, and yet only minor revisions have come to Apple's diminutive hockey puck-like set-top box. This fall looks to be far different for a variety of reasons, but filter out the noise and there are three areas Apple TV will require in order for it to become the must-have living room entertainment device.
Many cord cutter's dream is an a la carte network service. Yet with Disney and Comcast/NBC owning bundles of channels, each making money off multiple cable TV subscription sales, cutting off their $15 a month bundled channel fees, only to sell EPSN for $4.99 a month makes little sense. Apple has run into this bundled juggernaut for years, gaining zero ground. It appears the only way for Apple, or any other cord cutting solution, to win channels is via mini-bundles, similar to that of Dish Network's Sling TV service. If Apple can deliver roughly 20 of the highest rated channels, and sell it for $30 a month or less, Apple would not only gain millions of cord cutting subscribers, but move millions of additional cable/dish customers to their streamlined package.
Apple TV is now $69, and while Apple executives plays coy with its sales, Apple TV continues to consistently sell. It is no longer a product in hobby status as Tim Cook recently stated at Apple’s March special event, “This is only the beginning.” What comes next is not crystal clear, but it is not all that difficult to figure out either. During Apple’s quarterly financial conference call Cook stated he would not speculate on where Apple TV was headed, but also stated that HBO’s success can give others pause for speculation. Beyond a bundled network TV solution, could Apple have a special wrinkle up their sleeve for Apple TV?
Rumors have been floated for years that the next generation Apple TV would incorporate Siri, have an all-new menu solution, contain an App store, and perhaps even ship within an Apple branded TV display. New features are always welcome, but incorporating more abilities comes at a price, and Apple may have tipped their hat with the current Apple TV price of $69.
April 10, 2015, Apple Store Pioneer Place, Portland, OR, 8:15 AM. Most all Apple retail locations state-side open at 10 AM, and at least in Portland, OR, no lines exist – yet. One lone guy was pacing the front doors, wanting to get a look at Apple Watch, but if he tried to use Apple’s Concierge system after 12:00 AM last night, he was out of luck at least in this region. Many were unsuccessful in using Apple’s Store app to schedule an Apple Watch appointment, as it appears Apple’s system was apparently overloaded.
If you hadn’t noticed, Apple is on what can only be described as a never-ending tear of success, and their enemies seem incapable or inept at stopping them. But this does not mean other tech players aren’t trying to wear their big-boy pants — they just continue to come up short at competing effectively. Perhaps the worst offender is Microsoft. Under former CEO Steve Ballmer, the Redmond software giant became very good at making lofty promises, delivering failures, demonstrating vaporware or throwing an occasional chair. Today’s Microsoft, run by Satya Nadella, is now a softer, gentler software vendor, but has yet to be any more effective at defeating the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and soon to arrive and dominate the wearable market, Apple Watch.
Nadella showed initial promise by downplaying the consumer electronics market, turning his focus on enterprise solutions. Old habits die hard. Microsoft is once again is pulling out their Fisher Price "My First Marketing Playbook" in another attempt at capturing the consumers eye with Surface 3. Will a cheaper Surface, whose best feature is the 5 seconds of switching between a poor tablet and so-so ultrabook, backed with a massive advertising budget, be enough to derail Apple’s best laid plans?
Tech journalists who lined up at Apple's special event to get their hands on Apple Watch walked away stunned by Apple's all-new MacBook. It is widely being hailed – or harped on – as Apple's new one-port wonder. The fact it has only one physical data port is apparently quite jarring to many tech journalists. Those stunned by Apple's move may also drive a Honda Prelude, think sushi is all the rage, and are still trading Pokemon cards. The verdict is in: This is not a computer for those still living in the '90s.
Giving benefit of the doubt, perhaps the media is simply not doing their job. Rather than talk to what one physical port represents; which is that a single USB port is fine for 95% of everyone's workflow, because we live in a wireless world. Instead, they've taken the easy road, simply mirroring thoughts they think the masses might make. It's a safe, lazy position, one that identifies with the reader in stead of talking to the bold realities of where technology is today.
In January we released information regarding an Apple Special Event for February 24. However, that event has now materialized for March 9th at 10 AM in San Francisco at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Apple has just sent out invitations to select media.
Interestingly, this is a Monday, not a Tuesday which Apple has traditionally held events. For more information on what will be announced, you can review our information here.
Rumors continue to heat up that a new MacBook Air is just around the corner, as European dealers noted Apple has stopped restock shipment requests for the popular laptop. In addition Apple has approved the lowering of exiting U.S. supplies in order to clear channel inventory.
This can only mean one of two things: Apple is discontinuing the MacBook Air or they have an updated version that is to ship soon. We highly doubt this will change will include a rumored 12" MacBook Air model as such a shift would demand a special event to kick off the new laptop. Instead we can expect Apple to update the current 11" and 13" MacBook Air models with the latest Broadwell chipset from Intel. Pricing is likely to remain static unless Apple has seen softness in demand and needs to stimulate the product line.
If rumors come true, expect Apple to send out invitations tomorrow for a Special Event to take place on Tuesday, February 24th. Recently Apple has given short notice between announcements for Special Events and the actual event itself. While seven day is cutting it close, the reasons make sense. First, this Special Event would coincide with what would have been Steve Jobs’ 60th birthday. Second, we needed to get beyond the long-holiday Valentine’s Day/President’s Day weekend in the U.S. Any invitation sent out before then would have had less impact. Announcing tomorrow makes sense in that there will be few, if any, distractions.
Why Apple would hold a Special Event in the middle of the quarter is two fold. First, Apple would spend some time reviewing Apple Watch and showing us a bit more how it works and why we all need one. Apple would also reveal more specifics on pricing, so people can know what their desires will cost them. Second, Apple would use the event to introduce a new 12" device. There has been much speculation that a forthcoming 12" device could be a MacBook Air (to replace both 11" and 13" models) a MacBook Pro or an iPad Pro (here and here).
The 2015 Super Bowl was awesome, and most of the ads were of good taste and unexpected twists. With the usual sporting event, commercials are the time that one grabs some food or makes the inevitable lavatory break. However, during the Super Bowl, most quiet down and focus in on the commercials. For well over a decade Apple has forgone advertising during the Super Bowl. Not since its Hal commercial in 1999 has Apple partaken in the biggest one day sporting event the world knows. But Apple’s decision is a wise one.
Today’s media is more polarizing than ever. Pete Caroll and the Seahawks went from superheroes to less than mortals in one play. Carol’s play calling, should it have worked, would have pegged him as a coaching genius. USC, Seattle and beyond. But now? Now he should be fired? He’s horrible? Social media and Pete Caroll are on fire. Like Pete Caroll, ads — especially Super Bowl ads, where expectations for greatness are extraordinary — are immediate targets of the media, circling like ravens waiting for one small trip up to dive in and take their spoils. Why would Apple want to partake in an event which leaves them having zero control? It is completely anti-Apple.