My Take on Apple TV

Since the death of one Steve Jobs and release of the Steve Jobs book by Walter Isaacson rumors have been spreading like wildfire about a new television to be released by Apple sometime in 2012.

In this book, Isaacson quotes Steve Jobs: ‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told Isaacson. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ 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.’

So what will this be?
Personally I think you only have to look at the iPad or iPhone to understand where this may go and I think I might have some ideas on this. If you look at televisions today they are the slave to the incumbent lazy broadcasters and cable providers, basically every TV has a receiver that scans for channels and if you have cable it works a little the same albeit with a set top box. Nothing has changed for decades and TV manufacturers are stuck in loop of releasing the same tired systems and upgrading them with silly things like hacked on 3D (does anyone seriously think the whole family wearing 3D glasses would catch on?)

I think when Apple releases the new television it will revolutionize the industry and force TV networks, cable suppliers and television manufacturers to change the way we receive our channels, much like music producers were forced kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Channels as Apps
I think it will work like this, you buy the Apple television and it comes with all the free to air TV apps (think channels as Apps), you download an app (channel) and that is included in your lineup, each app (ABC as an example) has a list of shows that are regularly updated that you can subscribe to and add to your list of shows to watch when you want to watch them. You simply ignore the ones you do not want and they do not appear in your lineup. Newly released (upcoming) shows are showcased on your TV Dashboard.

A family may have multiple accounts for different family members (restrictions included) and each login displays a different lineup on the TV Dashboard. This will allow owners to filter access for different users within their family.

Subscription Style Apps
Just like you pay for subscriptions to your favorite magazine and now some apps, you pay for subscriptions for TV/cable style channels, as an example Fox Sports may cost $4.95 per month and you will receive notifications of any Pay per View events from that channel.

I think everything will be in iTunes and you will be able to sync watch this across multiple devices such as your iPad, iPhone, iMac, Laptop etc.

The Cloud
Everything will be stored in the cloud, so you take your TV with you on the road or in your hotel, by having everything stored in the cloud access is just a few clicks away.

Location Based Advertising
I have written about this multiple times in the past, but location based advertising is the only thing that will save free to air TV networks and will be a worldwide trillion dollar industry. This will mean if you live in Queens/New York you will not only see national chains advertising on your channels, but also local pizza stores, cafeterias, nightlife and local tourism operators, finally giving the networks access to small business again (watch TV now and advertising is almost entirely from the big boys).

Advertisers will be able to login and see what space is available to advertise their products and services in there own area or areas, they will be able to create ads using web based systems and ad templates and book spots, pay for commercials by credit card and Apple takes a chunk and distributes the rest back to the networks. It would almost make an ad agency/ buying group cry.

I also think this will create a wave of new Tv shows, basically anyone can create a channel and obviously the success of these will depend on subscribers and social word of mouth, but how exciting would this be? Local realtors could create a channel on their local market, local tourism operators could create channels on local areas and attract their own advertisers, you create a channel that becomes popular and advertisers will follow.

I know this is fairly well departed from anything I have seen written on the web, but I truly think that this model would work if it had the power of Apple, then perhaps Google as a competitor behind it. Current free to air TV networks would get a lifeline – even though I think they are the last ones to deserve this and it would open up a world of opportunities for the little guys.

Then the only thing left for Apple to conquer would be the car stereo and you would easily see how they could change this tomorrow.

Your thoughts?

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  • Bill
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 10:51 am 0Likes

    Peter, great take, I’m off to start developing my local TV app and signing up agencies. Want to be first out the gate with this one 🙂

  • Jens Raun
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:00 am 0Likes

    Hi Peter,

    I think your logic is right! I have no doubt that Apple – if they “play their cards right” might end up being a major player in the TV area. The concept of paying for TV apps certainly makes sense to me and I can imagine small businesses – including real estate agencies – establishing their own channels/apps.

    Jens Raun (an “Apple freak”)

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:23 am 0Likes

    Thanks guys, thought I might get some – what planet are you on? – type responses.

    I just think if Apple do it, it will be revolutionary, or at least attempt to be, I am not sure how TV networks would view this. But essentially APple will market this as a complete media center, so even if TV networks are sparse to begin with, it would still be useful.

    Maybe they have something completely different in mind, but I think this model would work a treat!

  • respighifan
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 11:44 am 0Likes

    Please god, no…the fact of the matter is that Apple overcharges for what it gives the consumer – its margins are grotesque. How it gets away with it is through the slick marketing and the like. They now have 80 billion dollars cash on hand, and the non-thinking apple press and ifans simply ignore any fault with the corporation to justify the expenditures.

    It is much akin to behaviours we observe in religious devotees, who may be “happy” but have given so much away that they refuse to acknowledge any fault in their leaders or their church, a typical cognitive dissonance response.

    So fine – let Apple join the free market and compete, they have a hell of a lot to offer – but god help us if the ifan ludicrousness (“Apple’s changed my life! It’s just magic!”) starts to permeate even further into mainstream thought.

  • Anthony Lowe
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:06 pm 0Likes

    Well thought out!
    No doubt Apple will have some other surprises up there sleeve.
    I just hope it does not create too many channels to follow initially – i suppose the normal drop off of unpopular ones will occur.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm 0Likes

    What a brilliant read! I’m gobsmacked as it makes so much sense – just that it took the greatest ever online brain Steve Jobs to be the architect.

    Puts his *thinking cap* on 🙂

  • Lynn
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm 0Likes

    That could be really expensive. $5 a month for just one channel. I could only subscribe to 6 channels then to equal my $30 a month cable bill.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm 0Likes

    Hey Robert, it might be my idea and not Steve’s 🙂 He might have thought of something completely different, maybe better 🙂

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm 0Likes


    I hear you, but we have control we do not have to buy anyones products. I like Apple but they do have their shortcomings and expense and closed development are just two of them!

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm 0Likes

    Hi Lynn

    Yeah maybe, but I have about 500 channels and yet watch about 5 consistently and some of these are free to air 🙂 $5 was just an example

  • Craig
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 2:39 pm 0Likes

    It will all depend on the content they deliver. So I can imagine in the US it will have change to succeed, but if in Australia they want us to wait a month for latest shows to be delivered, then no chance.

  • Kaan Ristic
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 2:43 pm 0Likes


  • Robert Simeon
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm 0Likes

    So what you are saying mate is Well at the end of the day it’s all mine! Apple management should employ you immediately!

    This article has been resonating in my mind all day!

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm 0Likes

    Makes sense to carry the iPhone model over to a TV but it’s a big task, would be a killer product though.

  • andy del vecchio
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 5:46 pm 0Likes

    Cool Pete..
    …and if you could use your iphone as the remote control…now we are talking!

  • Raphael Manzi Delstanche
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 8:20 pm 0Likes

    Limpid. Crystal clear logic. Channels like Apps. The only issue is pricing: If we go 0,99 c/ app then 20 great channels of YOUR choice is a HUGE deal. I prefer indeed 20 of my selected favorites channels than 100 I am paying for because they are part of some package. Now it may de facto operate a complete reform of 2 industries at least: broadcasting and advertising. Broadcasting may disappear or change and a new form of producers offering directly content to ”content banks”. New Reservoir Dogs talents will emerge not having to pass by main stream Hollywood. As for advertising: proximity and inventiveness. The beauty is: Steve’s philosophy is generally pulling up, not pushing down. General quality will improve -MUST improve- Why to buy a whole album for 1 good song and 11 mediocre? Same logic applies for all. …Thanks Peter, cool paper.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted November 26, 2011 at 8:29 am 0Likes

    Raphael, I think many channels will be free, including current free to air. This may also be possible across the globe giving users hundreds of free channels, I am sure current networks in Australia will cry poor and be protected for a while, but the internet is a wonderful thing and soon enough people will work around it .

  • Tim Bonnefin
    Posted November 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm 0Likes

    There are already products that use the iphone, (as well as android) as a remote via its wifi, I have just purchased a new Lg bluray HDD recorder as an example. Apple TV in your suggested form makes very good sense, just needs thinking outside the square a little 🙂

  • Alan Foster
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 3:27 am 0Likes

    Just want to say I really enjoyed all of your posts—an actual civil discussion about a company we all enjoy watching. Real thoughts. Real names and on the Internet of all places. Wow.

  • Jason Baggett
    Posted November 29, 2011 at 5:26 am 0Likes

    Peter, I think your article is not far off at all. It will take something of this magnitude to revolutionize the TV industry. I love the part about the whole family wearing 3D glasses. I never got the fascination with 3D, and I sure don’t want to have to wear some silly classes to watch TV. Also, I’ve longed for the day when I don’t have to have multiple boxes and remote controls. I want an all-in-one solution that I can control through one interface.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm 0Likes

    Jason thank you for your kind comments, I too long for a day when everything is just easier and I dont have to wade through a bunch of $%$##& to get to what I want.

  • Allan
    Posted December 1, 2011 at 11:03 pm 0Likes

    Good Ideas Peter,

    It all makes sense and I think the local/targeted advertising really nails it.

    Also, in your family ‘profiles’ it would be great if you could update details on your consumer info and get more targeted Ads/Offers, like updating you are interested in a holiday in QLD, buying a new fridge, looking to buy a property in …

    I see the daily deals sites & online shopping going this way, I know Cudo, Our Deal etc already advertise on TV (thanks to been either owned or in partnership with networks). Put in credit info once and then be able to easily spend your hard earned cash by just pushing the ‘buy’ button on your remote, no phone numbers to write down or jumping on computer to visit the website. Hungry for Pizza? well yeah I guess I am a little… just push the green button and order.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 4:56 am 0Likes

    Allan thank you for your kind comments. I really didnt elaborate on this but those are great ideas too and gold for advertisers.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm 0Likes

    Peter, have you seen these latest changes to YouTube?

    Wondering if they read your article. 🙂

  • tbunt
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm 0Likes

    Allan, I like where you are going with your ideas and as many have said it does seem to make sense.

    I think produces of these channel apps might go the same way games have gone by having a paid version without advertising and a free version with advertising. By doing it this way thay will make money either way and everyone gets to watch.

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