Millions of mobile users the world over continue to live in silos of the fragmented Android mobile world, kludged together with the legacy of the Windows desktop world. While Microsoft just launched Windows 10, showcasing how they have caught up to some areas Apple’s current OS X Yosemite, Microsoft will further illustrate just how far they have fallen behind during Apple’s OS X El Capitan launch which is only weeks away. While Windows is a large step behind OS X, it is Google and their Android hardware partners that are about to fall off the cliff, failing to keep pace with Apple’s iOS and ever unifying platforms at an alarming rate.
Google’s latest example of failure comes in the form of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5. Due to collapsing sales and Apple’s imminent launch of iPhone 6S, and 6S Plus, the Note 5 looks to compel millions of additional Android users to upgrade to Apple’s latest and greatest, if not settle for a year old, faster, cheaper, better real-life battery life, iPhone 6. Rushing the Note 5 launch, Samsung has now left their high-end cupboards bear for at least the next 6 months, and yet their latest and greatest are not even competing well against Apple’s year old iPhones.
Yesterday Apple released its September 9, special event invitation to select media with the message “Hey Siri, give us a hint.” Thousands of people instantly grabbed their iOS devices asking Siri to “give them a hint” to see if anything particular regarding the event came up. At times, Siri does say “Well, I hear there is something big happening on September 9,” but beyond the cute response, Apple's keeping Siri quiet. At times Apple has hidden hints within their invitations as to what may be coming. This invitation may also hold some clues.
Apple’s late summer special events have historically focused on the release of new iPhones. This season’s forthcoming September 9th event appears to be no different, but there is one product that appears ready to grace the stage which rarely makes an appearance anywhere, and it is likely to steal the show. Apple TV. Sorry iPhone, it appears you are about to be trumped.
When the all-new Apple TV arrives, likely introduced by Apple’s Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, it will not be as a feigned hobby. It won't have the same look. It won't have the same remote. It will not have the same interface, and it will host a slew of new features. According to a recent report by Parks Associates, Apple TV sales have slipped into 4th place behind Roku, Google and Amazon streaming solutions. Don't expect this to continue being the case after September 9. When Apple enters a market, they play to win, and not to be one of many participants on the stage. If rumors surrounding the Apple TV are accurate, the diminutive streaming set-top-box should acquire the living room’s top sales spot in a matter of days after its release.
An all-new Apple TV has been highly anticipated since it was a no show at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference this past June. Rumors suggest the revised Apple TV will be thinner and slightly wider, with iOS 9 acting as the software core of the device. A state-of-the-art A9 processor, Siri integration, an app store, Home Kit and possible Force Touch remote control are all said to be apart of Apple's new black box. But new high tech goodies come at a price.
During an Apple Watch special event in March, CEO Tim Cook announced Apple TV would begin selling at a price of $69. For years Apple TV had been selling at $99. The lower price not only saw an increase in Apple TV sales, but also paved the way for an all-new Apple TV to enter the market at a higher price point. The lower price for the current Apple TV also gives Apple the flexibility to continue selling it as an entry level option, competing with Roku and others in the sub-$100 market.
September 9th is coming, and rumors have marked the date for an Apple Special event. The stars of the event are to be the latest iPhones, iOS 9, the release date for OS X El Capitan and perhaps an all-new 12-inch iPad pro. An all new Apple TV is also expected to grace the stage, but whether the new living room device comes with gaming, an app store, or network streaming bundle is still fuzzy math at best. What makes the cut for Apple TV at launch is being closely watched, but perhaps the best feature for the device is almost a given to make the cut.
Global search will be Apple TV's new killer feature. Having the core of iOS 9 at Apple TV's core makes global search much easier to deploy, and makes content exponentially easier to find. Currently, if my daughter wants to find an episode of Word Girl, does she go to PBS Kids. But if the show is no longer there, does she need to search Netflix, or does ABC Family channel or Vimeo perhaps has Word Girl and her trusty sidekick Bob (a monkey btw)? Searching for content within network apps is a painful exercise. People simply do not think in terms of provider, then content. Rather, the content you want to watch is thought of first, and then how to find it becomes the big task. Apple's global search will be a welcome change.
Earlier this week, Bloomberg rumored that Apple's forthcoming Apple TV revamp will not include what many see as a key flagship feature – a streaming network bundle. Interviewed on Bloomberg TV, Sr. Intelligence Analyst, John Butler, followed up the rumor stating he believed Apple has underestimated how long a process it would be to forge network TV contracts. Dressed in suit and tie, topped off with sharp looking glasses, Butler looks and sounds most credible, but do John Butler's claims really match reality?
On February 9, Dish Network launched their over-the-top internet protocol service, called SlingTV. SlingTV's base package includes 23 networks, costs $20 a month and has accumulated roughly 250,000 subscribers. How has Dish Network been able to put together an impressive bundle of popular networks, but Apple, working on an over-the-top solution for years, been unable to negotiate a workable deal?
2012, 2013, 2014,.... 2015? Will Apple hold its fourth consecutive special event in September this year? Answer: Yes! If there is one major difference between Tim Cook and Steve Jobs it is that Cook brings us predictability with Apple special events, whereas Jobs kept us continually guessing. We were never quite sure when something was going to happen — and Jobs certainly enjoyed that aspect of his unpredictability.
For the past three years, Cook has led the charge at a special event in September, followed by one in October. October is a magic month on Apple’s calendar as it is the beginning of the new fiscal year. Therefore charging sales early in the fiscal calendar is important to ensure a good fiscal year and avoid the need to play catch-up later on. This means front loading the year with new items to sell. Typically, September events have been where Apple announces the newest iPhone. In October, some other do-dad makes the stage. Last year it was Apple Watch and Apple Pay.
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.