Besides the new iPhone and possible iPad Mini, no would-be product has gathered as much ink in recent months here as has Apple’s mythical iTV. Rumored for years, Apple’s entry into the television set business was supposed to happen within the next few years. However, just weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal said the project was dead. Instead, the Journal reported that Cupertino would concentrate on releasing a set-top box for all televisions and forgo developing an actual TV.
Now, Apple’s own Eddy Cue, the senior vice president of Internet software and services, has chimed in and has publicly said an iTV won’t be arriving anytime soon, according to Fortune.
Cue’s comments came during a meeting with Pacific Crest’s Andy Hargreaves that also included Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer.
According to Hargreaves’ note to investors, Cue’s comments boiled down to this:
Relative to the television market, Eddy Cue, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services, reiterated the company’s mantra that it will enter markets where it feels it can create great customer experiences and address key problems. 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. 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.
We still wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple eventually release a television. However, don’t expect to see it anytime soon.