Apple TV Sure Seems Ready for Improvement

I write about Apple TV a lot, so news that its marketshare is shrinking seems such a great pity to me.

Bottom marks

eMarketer claims Apple TV’s market share is at the bottom of the U.S. connected TV market, behind Chromecast and Roku, with its share shrinking.” They claim just 11.9 percent of connected TV customers use an Apple TV – that’s down on the 12.5 percent share it held last September.

I don’t think Apple plans to allow this decline to continue. I think it has new models in development, but I don’t think the company can wait until fall 2017 (two years after its last product shipped) to introduce these things.

What happens next

Here’s what I think the company plans for Apple TV:

  • 4K support
  • A faster processor, enabling new sophisticated new apps
  • More Live TV and TV app deals
  • Exclusive content deals
  • iTunes Movies — think Netflix!
  • AR

I’ve written more about this here.

The critical thing to understand is that Apple TV is big enough to pack powerful processors inside, and while other streaming devices may bring you TV, they aren’t yet going to be able to match the company on future immersive experiences.

HomeKit

I also think Apple TV will become more central to the smart home. I see Apple’s AirPort technologies being rolled into its HomeKit brands, and I see the company extending what Apple TV can do, with the possible addition of mesh-based Wi-Fi extenders that also act as smart speaker systems. I think Phil Schiller’s relatively recent statement that the company doesn’t see why you’d want an Alexa competitor in your kitchen when you could just use your iPhone was an attempt at dissembling. Why? Because in your smart home not every family member will have an iPhone – but every home may use an Apple TV and a few low cost smart Apple speaker systems.

What now?

When I look at these plans I don’t think Apple TV’s long-term future looks bad at all. Any weakness in current sales represents pent up demand as we all hope for upgrade. Though lack of 4K support in the current product is inhibiting as 4K content becomes more readily available. (And an optical out port wouldn’t hurt, either) – perhaps we will learn more in spring.

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

5 Responses

  1. Scott says:

    I’m confused. The processor in this device is more powerful than the others so maybe they mean graphics processing? Of which I believe the only one with a more powerful graphics processor isn’t even listed as it’s an Nvidia product. iTunes Movie Rentals? – They have had this for years and years. Was this a typo? Live TV is offered through apps, or add on hardware, or through local providers just like the other platforms. Do the other platforms have any exclusive content, do they offer Augmented Reality? To me the only necessary things Apple needs to do is bring down the price and start delivering 4K, though their upscaling is amazingly impressive.

    • Jonny Evans says:

      The processor: I’m comparing this with a Playstation or an Xbox — that’s the competitor there
      iTunes Movie Rentals: You’re right — I was in a hurry (had to take a dog to the vet), I meant an all you can eat movie service, or (if they don’t want to battle the Netflixers) a 4K video service.
      Live sports and more TV app integration — I don’t think you get me there.
      Every platform has some exclusive content — you will see more such demarcation. The only challenge with this is that you’ve swapped different channels to get content for different devices to get content. I think that model needs work.
      AR — I’m not sure of the Apple picture for AR — I can’t help but see an Apple TV (with Mac like processor) as a hub for this.
      I agree about the upscaling. I think the price will change.

  1. February 8, 2017

    […] it’s easy to pigeonhole Apple TV as a media consumption device, it can be much more than that. Apple TV already runs as a HomeKit hub, and it remains to be seen in what ways Apple can extend […]

  2. February 8, 2017

    […] it’s easy to pigeonhole Apple TV as a media consumption device, it can be much more than that. Apple TV already runs as a HomeKit hub, and it remains to be seen in what ways Apple can extend […]

  3. February 8, 2017

    […] it’s easy to pigeonhole Apple TV as a media consumption device, it can be much more than that. Apple TV already runs as a HomeKit hub, and it remains to be seen in what ways Apple can extend […]

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