Archive of Apple TV Rumors

While the terms of the Apple-HBO partnership behind the launch of the HBO NOW streaming TV service on Apple TV last month have not been disclosed, Re/code reports that some Apple TV content providers, including Netflix, Hulu Plus and MLB.TV, provide Apple with 15% of revenue generated from monthly fees for subscribers that sign up through the set-top box.

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Apple collects 30% of revenue generated from the sale of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch apps, including in-app purchases, so the commission for Apple TV apps is half the amount developers are forced to hand over through the App Store. While the difference does not make a difference for consumers, the lower cut could make Apple TV a more attractive platform for HBO and other cable channels.
"But it’s even more interesting to think about Apple’s tiers of fees as we enter a world where lots of people are going to be selling Web video subscription products via platforms like Apple’s. Whether Apple is charging 15 percent or 30 percent a month, it’s giving distributors a much better deal than the 50 percent that pay TV providers usually charge premium networks like HBO. That makes the platform even more enticing to cable channels that are thinking about stepping outside of the traditional pay TV bundle — and it puts more pressure on the cable guys to sweeten the deals they already offer."
The report adds that HBO is in negotiations to reach HBO NOW distribution deals with its existing pay TV distributors, enabling them to sell the service to their existing subscribers as an add-on. HBO is said to already have a deal in place with Cablevision and is reportedly in talks with Cox and Verizon as well. HBO NOW is exclusive to the Apple TV among streaming boxes for three months, at which point it should expand to other devices and platforms.
Disney is one of the partners Apple is working with on its upcoming streaming television service, and according to a new report from The Street, Disney and Apple are disagreeing over how many Disney-owned channels will be available in Apple's television content bundle.

Disney is pushing Apple to include most of its channel offerings, while Apple wants to offer fewer channels in an effort to keep prices lower. Disney's channels include ESPN and Disney Channel, along with several spinoffs channels like Disney Junior, Disney XD, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, and more. Disney also owns ABC channels that Apple feels are essential, like ABC Family, so Apple may be forced to agree to offer more Disney channels to ensure negotiations go smoothly.

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Disney is said to be asking for "the strongest deal it can get," according to one of The Street's sources, to avoid upsetting other cable providers and endangering existing revenue streams.
Disney likely would insist that Apple offer all of its channels to as many subscribers as possible. Many cable operators have "most favored nation" clauses in their contracts with Disney that could require ESPN to be carried as widely as possible. If Apple enabled its subscribers to pick and choose which channels to take, other cable channels could use that clause to cut back on lesser watched Disney channels.
Disney CEO Bob Iger sits on Apple's board of directors and was a longtime friend of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and the two companies have worked together several times over the years. Disney was the first company to partner with Apple to offer content like television shows through iTunes in 2005. Despite the disagreement over the number of Disney channels to be included in Apple's television service, The Street suggests that Disney is likely to remain one of Apple's content partners.

Apple is planning to announce its streaming television service and its content partners at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, ahead of a fall launch. Rumors have suggested the service will include approximately 25 channels and will be offered at a price between $30 and $40.

Apple's television service announcement may also be accompanied by the launch of a new Apple TV set top box, which is said to be in the works. The set-top box is rumored to include a full App Store, Siri integration, an A8 processor, and a dramatic increase in internal storage.
Following up on last month's claim that Apple is planning to show off a revamped Apple TV set-top box with App Store and Siri support at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, BuzzFeed now reports that the new box will not include support for 4K video streaming even though several services like Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube offer content in the high-resolution format.
“4K is great, but it’s still in its infancy,” said one source familiar with Apple’s thinking.

Enabling 4K video support in Apple’s first major overhaul of Apple TV in three years might seem like a smart bit of future-proofing — particularly given reports that the A8 chip in the guts of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is 4K-capable. But it’s arguably an unnecessary one at this point.
The report points out that 4K streaming is expensive for content providers given the bandwidth required, and the vast majority of Americans do not even have Internet connectivity at fast enough speeds to support such streaming. Still, those who do currently stream 4K content or hope to in the relatively near future are likely to be disappointed by Apple's decision to forgo support in the next Apple TV.

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Beyond existing Apple TV services and new third-party apps, the revamped Apple TV is also expected to support a package of streaming television channels if Apple can manage to reach agreements with the necessary content providers. Apple is reportedly in talks with ABC, Fox, and Disney, as well as Discovery and Viacom, to try to put together a "skinny" TV package of select channels that would reportedly cost consumers somewhere in the range of $25 to $40 per month. Apple is said to be aiming to announce the service at WWDC in June and launch it in the September timeframe.
For its upcoming streaming TV service, Apple is asking its content partners to take on the job of streaming television shows and movies to its customers, reports Re/code. Rather than hosting streaming content itself, Apple is requesting that its partners build out the necessary infrastructure and take on the related costs.
Apple is asking TV networks to handle the responsibility and cost of the streaming infrastructure associated with its Web video service, industry executives say. That issue is one of many unresolved questions about the proposed service, which Apple would like to launch next fall but can't until it lines up programming deals.
Negotiations for the streaming service are reportedly being conducted by iTunes chief Eddy Cue, who has told networks and potential partners that Apple wants to concentrate on software and hardware, areas where it excels, while leaving infrastructure concerns in the hands of people who are better suited to handle it.

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According to Re/code, the request isn't unusual because content that users stream from existing Apple TV channels and iOS apps is handled by the networks that provide the content, through partnerships with content delivery networks like EdgeCast. Though streaming services aren't overly expensive, at approximately 5 cents per hour per stream, the idea of dealing with the demand of an Apple television service available to millions has "given executives pause."

In addition to leaving infrastructure concerns to those with more experience, a source that spoke to Re/code believes that it's also possible Apple is hoping that if programmers provide the streams, Internet providers like Comcast and Verizon will be less likely to "penalize Apple's service."

Apple is rumored to be working with several partners on its upcoming streaming service, including CBS, ABC, Fox, Discovery, Disney, and Viacom. It may include around 25 channels, and pricing is said to be in the range of $30 to $40. The streaming service may make its debut in June at the 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference ahead of a fall launch.
Apple and HBO recently inked a deal that will see Apple becoming the exclusive launch partner for HBO's upcoming "HBO Now" web-based streaming service, and in an interview with CNBC, HBO CEO Richard Plepler explained why the company chose to partner Apple.

According to Plepler, the main reason why HBO opted to team up with Apple was due to the success of its existing cable-based service, HBO GO. 60 percent of HBO GO traffic comes from Apple devices, including the Apple TV, Macs, and the iPhone and the iPad. HBO GO apps have been available on iOS devices since 2011 and the service has been available on the Apple TV since 2013. Plepler also pointed towards the popularity of Apple devices as a deciding factor.

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Well, listen. They're obviously an extraordinary company with a wide range of devices, and those devices are proliferating throughout the consumer base. But also, as we look at HBO GO, which is our streaming service tethered to distributors, we saw about 60 percent usage on Apple devices so it made perfect sense for us to work with Apple introducing HBO Now.
HBO Now differs from HBO GO because it does not require a cable subscription for access. Instead, all of HBO's content, including TV shows, movies, documentaries, and more, is available to customers for $14.99 per month. Launching in time for the Game of Thrones premiere in April, HBO NOW will be exclusively available on the Apple TV and Apple devices for the first three months of its life.

Once that three month period has expired, HBO will bring the service to other platforms as well. Plepler expects HBO NOW will be popular with millennials, calling it a "millennial missile," and he doesn't believe the price, which is higher than other services like Netflix, will turn customers away. "We think we have a premium product," he said. "We have extraordinary content ... and it's the price of a movie ticket and a bucket of popcorn."

In addition to partnering with HBO for HBO Now, Apple is also in the middle of negotiations for its own streaming television service, which would provide a select number of cable channels to customers via the web, with no cable subscription necessary. Apple is said to be planning to price the service at $30 to $40 per month for approximately 25 channels, and is partnering with ABC, CBS, Viacom, Fox, Discovery, Disney, and more.

Apple may be planning to launch its new service in June, at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference, possibly alongside a revamped set-top box.
Over the past couple of weeks, rumors have leaked pointing towards an Apple-branded streaming television service that could include 25 channels for $30 to $40 per month with partners like CBS, ABC, and Fox. NBC and parent company Comcast are not part of the negotiations, and according to a new report from Re/code, that's because Apple has not approached Comcast about a partnership.

Earlier rumors about the streaming television service suggested NBC's absence from the upcoming package was due to a falling out between Apple and Comcast, but on Thursday, Comcast said that wasn't true in a letter that it sent to the Federal Communications Commission. Comcast's letter was a response to a filing from Stop Mega Comcast, a group that's opposed to a Comcast-Time Warner merging, and in it, Comcast said Apple had not even approached NBC for a content deal.

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Stop Mega Comcast's note, filed on Wednesday, said, "Comcast may be withholding affiliated NBCUniversal ("NBCU") content in an effort to thwart the entry of potential new video competitors." The note cited a recent Wall Street Journal report that said Apple wasn't talking to NBCUniversal because of a "falling-out between Apple and NBCUniversal parent company Comcast."

That's a bit right but mostly wrong, Comcast attorney Francis Buono wrote to the FCC: "Not only has NBCUniversal not 'withheld' programming from Apple's new venture, Apple has not even approached NBCUniversal with such a request." I've asked Apple for comment.
It is not clear why Apple has not approached NBC about a possible content deal for its most recent streaming television efforts, but Apple and Comcast have attempted to negotiate a deal in the past, which didn't pan out. The Wall Street Journal has suggested that earlier talks failed to establish a deal due to Comcast's focus on its own X1 web streaming platform.

As noted by Re/code, Apple could initiate talks with NBC in the future or potentially take advantage of a clause in the contract that was established when Comcast and NBC merged several years back, which would force NBC to license its content to Apple if Apple were able to establish deals with the company's competitors.

Apple may be planning to debut its streaming television service at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Many of the details about the service remain unknown, including the channel lineup Apple is aiming for, but the company is said to be in talks with ABC, CBS, Fox, Disney, ESPN, Discovery, and Viacom, which would give Apple access to channels like Animal Planet, TLC, MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon.

The streaming television service may be accompanied by a revamped set-top box, rumored to include an A8 processor, expanded storage, an App Store, and Siri support.
Just a day after adding TED, Tastemade, and Young Hollywood channels to the Apple TV, Apple has added yet another new channel to its set-top box -- CNNGo.

CNNGo is CNN's service that lets users watch live news coverage and see segments from the past 24 hours. It also includes recent CNN coverage and films on demand. The service has previously been available on CNN.com and via the CNN iPad app.

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Much of the content within CNNGo requires authentication through a cable provider. Live television and full shows require authentication, but clips can be watched without a cable subscription.

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Today's new CNNGo channel comes as Apple is preparing to reveal both a new set-top box and a new television service at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The rumored streaming television service will consist of approximately 25 channels for $30 to $40 per month, with Apple partnering with networks like ABC, CBS, Fox, Discovery, and more for content.

The next-generation Apple TV is said to have an A8 processor with a built-in App Store for downloading content and Siri support, plus more internal storage and a redesigned remote control.
Apple added three new TV channels to the Apple TV set-top box on Tuesday in the United States: TED, Tastemade and Young Hollywood. The three new channels bring non-profit TED Talks and a wide selection of premium food, travel and celebrity programming to the Apple TV and should be available beginning today. The new channels arrive just over three months after the additions of UFC, The Scene, Fusion and Daily Motion.

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TED Talks given by the non-profit organization are hosted by guest speakers that cover a wide range of influential topics, including science, religion, technology, education and more. Meanwhile, Tastemade provides hundreds of episodes of premium food and travel programming, and Young Hollywood delivers the latest celebrity-related programming including entertainment news and exclusive interviews.

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Tastemade channel on Apple TV features food and travel programming

Apple is expected to announce its next-generation Apple TV alongside a full-fledged streaming TV service at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The new A8-based set-top box will reportedly feature both an App Store and Siri, in addition to a redesigned remote control and significantly higher internal storage than the current 8GB model. Notably absent from today's update is upcoming on-demand service HBO Now, set to debut in April for $14.99 per month.

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Young Hollywood channel on Apple TV features celebrity-related programming

Apple's much-rumored streaming TV service would consist of a lightweight package of about 25 channels for between $30 to $40 per month, anchored by networks such as ABC, CBS and Fox. The service will be available on several devices, including the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, with other potential channels in the lineup including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, MTV, Comedy Central, FX and Nickelodeon.

Apple TV has been discounted to $69 in the United States.
Apple plans to announce its next-generation Apple TV set-top box at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, according to BuzzFeed News. The report, citing sources familiar with the plans, claims that the new Apple TV will be a "significant overhaul" of the streaming TV box, featuring both Siri and an App Store with an SDK available for developers to create apps.

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The new Apple TV will feature Apple's latest A8 system-on-a-chip and a "dramatic increase" in internal storage, well beyond the 8GB included in the current third-generation set-top box. The addition of Siri will enable Apple TV owners to control a wide selection of HomeKit-enabled home automation devices through the set-top box, according to the report.

The new Apple TV will be part of Apple's ambitious plans to improve the TV experience, an area that iTunes chief Eddy Cue thinks "sucks" currently and Apple chief executive Tim Cook referred to as "stuck back in the 70s" in an interview with Charlie Rose last year. The new device will be Apple's attempt at capturing the digital living room through TV, music, apps and home automation amid a sea of competitors including Amazon, Google and Roku.

A refreshed Apple TV would make sense given reports that Apple is also planning to announce its oft-rumored streaming TV service at WWDC, anchored by popular networks such as ABC, CBS, Fox, ESPN and FX. The web-based TV service for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and other devices is expected to deliver a lightweight package of about 25 channels for between $30 to $40 per month. Apple TV is also long overdue for a hardware refresh, with the set-top box last updated in 2012.
Apple is having more luck getting content partners to participate in its upcoming streaming service by promising to share data with them, reports the New York Post. News of Apple's most recent streaming television plans surfaced yesterday, after The Wall Street Journal reported the company was in talks with programmers like CBS, Disney, and Fox for a service that may launch in June.

Apple has struggled to create a streaming service for several years, but has continually run into problems negotiating deals with cable companies and content providers who are reluctant to disrupt existing streams of revenue. According to the New York Post, Apple is planning to share details on who viewers are, what is watched, and when it is watched in order to tempt content providers to participate in the streaming service. Apple is also said to be allowing content providers to have a significant amount of control over the service, letting, for example, providers decide when to air ads.

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By dangling the "data carrot," Apple is offering something that traditional cable companies, Amazon and Netflix have refused to hand over to programmers.

The tech giant is playing unusually nice in an attempt to catch up to rivals such as Sony and Dish's SlingTV, which are fast building similar slimmed-down channel packages without a cable TV subscription.
Apple once had very ambitious plans for a streaming television service, which it envisioned would offer channels a la carte, but ongoing problems reaching deals with providers have caused it to scale back on its ambitions. When establishing iTunes Radio, Apple made concessions on pricing in order to get deals signed, and it's likely the company is willing to make some sacrifices to get its television service off the ground.

Today's report should be read with caution, as handing over user data to third-party programmers is something of an unusual move for Apple. The company has gone to great lengths to assure customers that it collects limited data whenever possible. Tim Cook has, on multiple occasions, stated "You are not our product" when speaking on user privacy.
We believe customers have a right to privacy, and the vast majority of customers don't want people knowing everything about them. When you make a purchase, we make a little bit of money. It's very simple, very straightforward. You are not our product, that's our product.
Apple is said to be planning to unveil the streaming television service at WWDC, with a launch coming in the fall. Pricing has not yet been finalized, but the service, which will include approximately 25 channels, could cost between $30 and $40.

Deals are still in the works and have not been agreed upon, so launch timing of the service could shift in the future.
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday at the “Spring Forward” media event in San Francisco announced that Apple TV will now cost $69, discounted from its regular price of $99. The new price for the set-top box arrives on the heels of the announcement of HBO Now for Apple TV. The new price appears to apply to the third-generation Apple TV, as the company did not announce a new set-top box on stage at the Yerba Buena Center this afternoon.

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A revamped Apple TV has been rumored to be in the works for quite some time, but the next-generation set-top box is not expected to be announced until later this year or beyond. The upcoming Apple TV is expected to have an improved, tactile remote control and a brand new operating system with a built-in App Store. New apps are also expected to have redesigned user interfaces.

Follow the rest of our March 2015 event coverage for the latest information.
With a few hours left to go before Apple's big "Spring Forward" media event, the company has once again unlocked the "Apple Events" channel on the Apple TV in preparation for the big event.

Largely expected to be the central focus later today is the Apple Watch, given the Daylight Saving Time reference in the title of the event and the small amount of pricing and launch-related information known about the device so close to its rumored release date of April.

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Image via MacStories

Other outlying possibilities include small refreshes of the 11" and 13" MacBook Air and the 13" Retina MacBook Pro. Less likely to be seen are the long-rumored 12" Retina MacBook Air, and even the recently-rumored iPad mini 4.

Fans wanting to watch the event live can also use Apple's official website, the caveat as usual being users will need to be running Safari to stream the event. Apple points out that most any recent version of the software will run the stream, though those with older software may have trouble.
Live streaming video requires Safari 5.1.10 or later on OS X v10.6.8 or later; Safari on iOS 6.0 or later. Streaming via Apple TV requires second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 6.2 or later.
Apple's "Spring Forward" event begins at 10:00 AM Pacific Time. MacRumors will be covering all aspects of the event, including a live blog and live tweets which can be followed on the MacRumors Live Twitter page.