By Chand Bellur
September 4, 2020 at 4:36 p.m.
- Apple TV, the app, is a portal for streaming video from a variety of sources, including Apple TV+.
- The Apple TV app is available on virtually every Apple device in addition to Windows computers, smart TVs, and third-party streaming devices.
- Despite Apple’s atypical openness with the service, subscriptions have been lackluster, regardless of widespread availability.
- LG recently pushed a software update, adding Apple TV to select 2018 flat-screen TVs.
What is Apple TV?
While Apple was laser-focused on milking every last cent out of the iPhone, many products were neglected. The Macintosh, a once stable and robust machine, succumbed to cheap keyboards, fragile display connections, poorly designed Fusion drives, and defective batteries. Similarly, Apple TV, once Steve Jobs’ pet project, was delegated to the B team for many years.
Due to neglect and carelessness, the Apple TV marketing message became muddled and confusing. Consumers don’t really know what Apple TV is. Is it a device, an app, or a service? It’s all three.
For the purposes of this article, Apple TV is an app available on multiple platforms. The app is a portal containing all of your video options — streaming services, network channels, premium channels, and iTunes purchases. You can use Apple TV for free; however, it’s best to subscribe to services to get the most out of the app.
Apple’s own streaming service, Apple TV+, is available within the Apple TV app, which you can run on an Apple TV unit. Apple users are accustomed to this kind of lock-in. The nice thing about Apple TV (the app) is that you don’t even need to buy an Apple device to use it.
This strategy is a continuation of Apple’s post-Jobs perestroika. They made Apple Music available to Android natively and virtually every device, via the web. Apple TV is a similar strategy. It turns out, if your service is available on more platforms, you can sell it to more customers. It seems like a straightforward concept; however, Jobs’ narcissism and myopia would have never allowed this to happen.
Apple TV Comes to Select LG TVs
Apple’s expanding service deployment depends on reaching as many potential customers as possible. The company no longer cares if you use the Apple TV app on a Samsung Smart TV. Apple TV (the device) only achieved 2% market share after over a decade.
The hope that their TV device could somehow be widely adopted enough for Apple to remain closed evaporated. Apple TV (the device) is a complete flop, forcing Apple to embrace a more open strategy. If the Apple TV device were successful, they would have locked in users.
LG recently pushed a software update to select 2018 flat-screen models. Although the TV runs on webOS, Apple TV (the app) is an easily portable client app. Apple TV doesn’t contain the content, after all. It just references content from several different providers.
Openness Good for Services, Bad for Devices
Although Apple opened up iTunes to Windows users almost two decades ago, the company is typically closed and proprietary. If you want to install an app on your iPhone or iPad, the App Store is your only choice.
Even with a successful device, such as the iPhone, worldwide domination is impossible. Most people on the planet don’t own an iPhone or Apple device. Apple can still profit from these potential customers by offering platform-independent services.
Steve Jobs’ fondness of closed ecosystems stems from narcissism. If you conquer the world, and everyone uses your device, closed is much more profitable. The problem is, Apple still has yet to achieve a monopoly on devices. Despite the iPhone’s remarkable success, iOS only accounts for a 14% global market share.
Apple devices are too expensive for most people. If you can get a free smartphone that runs every app you need, why spend even $399 on an iPhone? Given Apple’s premium status, it’s unlikely the company will ever reach Windows or Android’s market saturation.
Tim Cook accepts what Steve Jobs could not — Apple will never rule the world. That’s Amazon’s future, because they sell to everyone. It’s too late for Apple to pivot into caring about lower-income consumers.
Apple’s problem is that selling services openly could signal to customers that you don’t need an Apple device to enjoy the Apple lifestyle. This, combined with a few glaring product defects, could see consumers shrugging off Apple for less expensive products.
Apple Service Revenues May be Hyped
Bloomberg recently released a report clarifying Apple’s service revenues. Apart from the App Store and iCloud storage plans, the company actually earns very little from services. New offerings, such as Apple Arcade and Apple TV+, do not realize significant revenues. Nonetheless, the multinational corporation shuffles hidden profits from overseas tax havens to construct record-breaking quarterly reports. The best Apple product is the stock. Like any Apple product, its hype will eventually evaporate.