Rumor: Apple’s Revolutionary Television Product Delayed Once Again



Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) long-rumored plans for a new type of television product have apparently been put on hold once again. According to insider sources cited by The Information, Apple’s plans to create a device with a unified, Internet-based television service that offers both live and on-demand programming has been delayed due to ongoing negotiating difficulties with content providers.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Apple has been in talks with Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) since 2012 over the possibility of creating a streaming-television service that would work through Apple’s TV set-top box. The Wall Street Journal’s sources also noted that Apple had entered into negotiations with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) earlier this year regarding a streaming-television service for Apple TV that would travel on a separate, less-congested part of the network in order to avoid issues such as buffering or other video degradation problems.

However, according to Apple employees that spoke with The Information, little progress has been made in the negotiations, because the cable companies are “dragging their heels.” The Apple employees noted that the pending Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger has also further complicated the talks. On the other hand, the television programmers and cable company representatives denied that they were stalling the talks and suggested that “Apple has bit off more than it can chew.” According to The Information, the content providers said that the type of service that Apple wants to create would involve getting permission from “multiple types of right holders.”

Besides offering an expanded television streaming service, the next-generation Apple TV — or an entirely new device — is also rumored to feature other new types of content, including support for online video games. In a research note obtained by Apple Insider earlier this year, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that the revamped Apple TV might include a gesture-based control system based on technology gained from Apple’s acquisition of motion-sensing tech company PrimeSense. Insider sources cited by 9to5Mac suggested that the new Apple TV would even get its own App Store.

While the cable companies and television programmers blame Apple’s naiveté and various licensing issues for the holdup, it is also likely that the content providers are afraid that a new Apple TV will affect the traditional television market in the same way that the iPod and iTunes affected the traditional music market. “Cable companies remain reluctant to leave an opening for Apple, which they fear could displace them as the brand that customers associate with television delivery,” noted The Information’s report via Apple Insider. “And they also remain committed to their own new devices and experiences.”

Rumors about a new type of Apple television product have been around since 2011, when it was revealed that former CEO Steve Jobs discussed the idea with biographer Walter Isaacson. “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud,” said Jobs, according to the Washington Post. “No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”

Since then, analysts such as Kuo and Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster have predicted the arrival of a new Apple television product. Although he declined to offer a specific release date, Munster reiterated his belief that Apple is still planning on releasing a new type of television product during an appearance on CNBC in July of this year. Unfortunately, although The Information’s sources affirm Apple’s plans for a new television product, it appears that the product will not arrive before next year.

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