Rumors that Apple would someday launch a branded television set date back to 2011. At the time, unnamed suppliers were claiming knowledge of 32-inch screens and analysts were predicting a release date of 2013. Word on the street was that Apple was meeting with TV executives to work out deals for content. By December of 2012, Apple executives were openly discussing their feelings about current television experiences.
By 2013, the rumor had died and much of the news of an Apple branded television set came in the form of concept images from creative artists. It seemed that the TV set rumor was being replaced with the iWatch rumor.
By the end of last year, new rumors were forming about Apple’s intentions with the television market. Instead of building a wide-screen TV, it appears that the company may now be working on turning its set-top box hobby into the next big thing.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has made a deal with Time Warner Cable, as well as other pay TV distributors, to add content to a revamped Apple TV. Unnamed sources claim that the iPad maker is looking to work with cable companies, instead of trying to compete with them for content. Apple would rely on cable providers for programming rights from media companies instead of trying to acquire them directly.
One source told WSJ that Apple was hoping to release the new Apple TV as early as June. However, another source followed up with information that the set-top box won’t be available until the fall.
If this rumor is true and Apple will pursue deals with cable companies for content on Apple TV, it will be disappointing. This version of Apple TV does not sound the least bit innovative or unique. Apple would do better to simply continue to work directly with media heads rather than strike deals with cable companies. Those of us who choose not to subscribe to cable don’t want another device that forces viewers into the overpriced and limited options. We want à la carte television viewing where we can pay for what we want instead of being stuck with 500 channels of mindless fodder.