Apple is used to winning. When the company decides it wants to do something new it expects to simply march into a new category and dominate it, as we saw with smartphones, tablets and, most recently, smartwatches. One product category appears to be eluding it, though: TV.
Yes, Apple has the recently relaunched Apple TV, but this is a device that is broadly limited by on-demand offerings.
What Apple really wants to do is smash the powerful cable and satellite providers like Comcast and DirectTV in the US, and Sky in the UK. If Apple could control directly which live TV channels people get, that gives it not only a bigger slice of the TV pot, but would also give it more negotiating clout with broadcasters and content providers.
Despite persistent rumours that the company is trying to move the pieces into place to launch a live subscription TV service, it has now been claimed that the company has suspended plans as it just can’t make it happen.
The Price Ain’t Right
Bloomberg reports that Apple and the American TV companies can’t come to an agreement over (surprise!) money. It says that Apple wants to charge customers around $ 30-40 for live TV delivered over the internet – around half the price of a traditional cable subscription.
Sadly for Apple, the economics of it don’t appear to work for the TV companies, who are used to cable providers charging roughly double for the same service.
What’s interesting is that this revelation, and apparent confirmation that this is at least something Apple wants to do, comes from none other than CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves, who owns many of the channels that Apple would like to get its hands on.
So plans have been suspended, as the company continues instead to focus on apps and on-demand for the time being.
This is the latest in a number of difficulties for the product category that Apple CEO has said is "stuck in the 70s". Previously, Apple has been rumoured to be working on a full-size TV set, rather than just a set-top box, but it has yet to emerge. (We don’t think it was ever particularly likely.)