updated 11:19 am EDT, Fri August 24, 2012
Company could still be having trouble with content deals
Plans for an Apple TV set (or a more advanced set-top) may still be some time in coming, suggests Pacific Crest's Andy Hargreaves. On Wednesday the analyst met with Apple's CFO, Peter Oppenheimer, and its senior VP for Internet software and services, Eddy Cue. Hargreaves pressed the idea of a "more significant move into TV distribution," according to a new memo. In response, Cue repeated a frequent company position that Apple will only enter markets where it thinks it can create good customer experiences and solve major obstacles.
"The key problems in the television market are the poor quality of the user interface and the forced bundling of pay TV content, in our view," Hargreaves writes. "While Apple could almost certainly create a better user interface, Mr. Cue's commentary suggested that this would be an incomplete solution from Apple's perspective unless it could deliver content in a way that is different from the current multichannel pay TV model.
"Unfortunately for Apple and for consumers, acquiring rights for traditional broadcast and cable network content outside of the current bundled model is virtually impossible because the content is owned by a relatively small group of companies that have little interest in alternative models for their most valuable content. The differences in regional broadcast content and the lack of scale internationally also create significant hurdles that do not seem possible to cross at this point."
Apple has been rumored as working on a TV set for some time, and earlier this year the rumors accelerated, even hinting that a product could be announced as soon as late 2012. Talk suddenly quieted down however, which could mean that Apple is running into hurdles and/or postponing efforts in favor of other projects. Many reports have, on the other hand, said that a TV wouldn't arrive until at least 2013.