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Don’t expect big TV deals even in next Apple TV update

June 5th, 2015


If you play TV detective, Apple either will unveil next generation Apple TV hardware when it kicks off its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) Monday or it won’t. And the company will or won’t unveil a new streaming TV service.

Apple declined comment.

The latest reports strongly suggest neither will happen, at least not until the fall or early next year, though you can never rule anything out with absolute certainty. It’s a fair assumption that talks between Apple and various players in the media industry are ongoing.

The consensus is that any revamped Apple TV hardware simply isn’t yet ready for prime time, and that the launch of a streaming TV service is being stalled by the lack of progress over pricing and content rights negotiations.

Here’s what we know for sure. Apple has just struck a deal with CBS to launch a $10.99 a month streaming Showtime service on the current Apple TV and other Apple devices starting in July.

Back in March, Apple also became the first company to partner with another premium channel HBO on the similar $14.99 a month HBO Now service. With Apple’s period of exclusivity ending, HBO Now is coming soon to Google’s Chromecast and other Android devices. (The service is also currently available on Optimum Online.)

We also know that Apple TV hardware, the box Steve Jobs famously referred to as a “hobby” back in the day, hasn’t had a major update since 2012 and would seem to be long overdue for one.

Also in March, Apple dropped the price of Apple TV from $99 to $69, amid strong competition in the streaming space from Amazon’s Fire TV devices, Roku’s devices and Chromecast. At the time, the price drop suggested that a replacement for Apple TV would be unveiled relatively soon. Now it appears such a device will be delayed by at least a few months.

There’s certainly been widespread speculation that any souped-up Apple TV box will include a more robust processor, fresh apps, a new touch-based remote control and voice search support via Siri. Apple would be playing catch-up since Amazon and Roku have already introduced voice search on some of their TV devices.

“It makes sense for Apple to use WWDC to announce updates to their TV strategy and try and get their developers working on apps and services for any new TV platform that are developing,” says industry consultant Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies. “However, I do not believe they will be shipping any new Apple TV or related technology until the fall and they may decide to use that time for any real updates on their TV plans.”

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