"Apple’s ambitions have complicated its negotiations with the broadcast TV networks, because most broadcasters don’t own all their local stations, and have an affiliate, or franchise system. Clearing the rights to show local programs and commercials takes some time — ABC, for instance, spent two years getting the rights to show live programming via its Watch ABC app, and its live streams remain limited to viewers in eight cities."The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Apple plans to unveil its 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. The report claimed that the service will be available in September.
Archive of Apple TV Rumors
Apple had searched for breakthrough features to justify building an Apple-branded television set, those people said. In addition to an ultra-high-definition display, Apple considered adding sensor-equipped cameras so viewers could make video calls through the set, they said.One of the technologies Apple investigated in the mid-2000s was a transparent display that used lasers to display an image, but it used too much power and resulted in poor image quality. Another potential feature Apple explored was video calling similar to FaceTime, but it ultimately "didn't seem compelling enough" for Apple to enter the television market.
Ultimately, though, Apple executives didn't consider any of those features compelling enough to enter the highly competitive television market, led by Samsung Electronics Co.
The Wall Street Journal's report comes following comments from investor Carl Icahn, who today shared a letter covering on products he believes Apple will introduce over the course of the next several years. Icahn suggested Apple will dominate both the television and automobile markets, introducing 55 and 65-inch television sets in 2016 and a car in 2020.
Rumors about an Apple-branded television set have circulated for many years, but picked up in 2011 after the launch of Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography where Jobs' interest in the television industry was highlighted. "I finally cracked it," Jobs was quoted as saying.
Rumors continued through 2012 and 2013, pointing towards television prototypes in Jony Ive's studio and work on television designs, but rumors died down in late 2013 as a product failed to materialize. Focus turned instead to Apple's ongoing content struggles and its efforts to release a new set-top box, with the television team being disbanded and sent off to work on other projects. The television set project was not, however, officially "killed."
Apple is expected to unveil a new Apple TV and a new streaming television service at its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, set to begin on June 8, but according to The Wall Street Journal, the status of the announcement hinges on the completion of Apple's deals with media companies.
The new Apple TV is said to include a full App Store, Siri support, additional storage, and a redesigned form factor. The television service may feature a bundle of approximately 25 channels priced at $30 to $40 per month, with programming beginning in the fall following the prospective June announcement.
Timing for some of the new features remains unclear, but the report claims Apple is working on a "Find My Watch" implementation that could be paired with a "Smart Leashing" feature that would remind Apple Watch users if they appear to have accidentally left their iPhones behind.
First, Apple has been working on a feature dubbed “Find my Watch” for the Apple Watch, which as the name implies will allow a user to track a Watch’s location, as well as lock or remotely wipe it if it is lost or stolen. [...]The news comes following concerns over the lack of any sort of Activation Lock functionality for the Apple Watch, but the new features may require new hardware to support them, pushing their launch off until the release of the second-generation Apple Watch.
Given the Apple Watch’s reliance on an iPhone, Apple plans to implement Find my Watch via what’s currently known inside the company as “Smart Leashing.” According to a source, the Watch will use its wireless signal to establish its location relative to the iPhone, and will optionally be able to notify a user if the iPhone is accidentally left behind.
Apple is also reportedly working on support for third-party watch face complications for the Apple Watch, which would, for example, allow users to see at a glance if they have unread Twitter mentions. Additional software and hardware work is focused on filling out health and fitness functionality for the Apple Watch, including additional sensors that were rumored but did not make it into the first version of the device.
On the Apple TV front, sources claim Apple's developer tools that will allow developers to build third-party apps for the next-generation Apple TV will be known as "TVKit", with the new hardware and tools expected to debut at next month's Worldwide Developers Conference. The Apple Watch appears set to serve as a key method for controlling the new box, which will also support Apple's rumored live streaming television service, although recent rumors have suggested that piece of the overall package may debut several months later than the hardware.
Apple's WWDC keynote is expected to see a significant number of announcements, including the new developer tools for Apple TV apps and native Apple Watch apps, as well as iOS 9 and OS X 10.11. As was the case last year, hardware announcements may be slim or absent entirely, particularly with updated 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac models expected this week.
The new channels arrive less than six weeks before Apple is expected to announce its next-generation Apple TV alongside a full-fledged streaming TV service at WWDC 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 with a touch pad and significantly higher internal storage than the current 8GB model.
Apple's much-rumored streaming TV service will 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 has been steadily adding new channels to the Apple TV this year, including NBC Sports in late April, CNNGo and TED, Tastemade and Young Hollywood in March and Sports Illustrated's 120 SPORTS in January. HBO NOW, a subscription-based service that provides on-demand HBO content, also went live on Apple TV in early April for $14.99 per month with a free trial available.
Update 11:05 AM PT: Crave TV and Shomi are now available on Apple TV in Canada per Rene Ritchie, with the former requiring a Bell TV subscription and the latter needing a Rogers or Shaw subscription. French-German TV network Arte is also now available on Apple TV in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Luxembourg per iFun.de. Fox Sports is also available in Australia, while Hopster has been added in the UK.
The touch pad will likely replace the circular click-wheel style control that's on the existing remote, giving users an easier way to scroll through content on the Apple TV. Currently, navigating through content on a channel like Netflix with the Apple TV remote requires users to click multiple times on the click wheel.
A touch-based control area on the remote would likely function similarly to the Apple Remote apps on the iPhone and the Apple Watch, allowing for swipe-based controls for scrolling through content available on the Apple TV. Using the Apple Watch or the iPhone to browse channels and make selections on the existing Apple TV is both quicker and easier than using the current physical remote.
Size wise, The New York Times' source says the new remote will be similar in design to the remote control for the Amazon Echo speaker system, which is approximately 0.6 inches thick. The current Apple TV remote is 0.2 inches thick and has not seen a redesign since the second-generation Apple TV initially debuted in 2010.
Rumors have suggested that Apple's redesigned Apple TV could make an appearance in June, at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference. Along with today's rumor pointing towards a new design for the remote, previous rumors have indicated the device will include an A8 processor, Siri integration, a dedicated App Store, and expanded internal storage.
Apple is also rumored to be working on an accompanying Internet-based television service, which may see it providing between 20 and 30 channels at a price of $30 to $40 per month.
"We think Apple is very forward-thinking about television," he said, noting the computer maker's deal with Time Warner as the launch partner of streaming service HBO Now. "It's no surprise to anyone that Apple would be interested in launching a TV product."It is not clear if Bewkes has insider knowledge regarding Apple's television plans, but Apple and Time Warner have been entwined in deals several times in the past, most recently with the HBO Now deal. Apple and Time Warner, HBO's parent company, partnered up for the HBO Now launch, with Apple's Apple TV and iOS devices being some of the first to offer the HBO Now service.
Aimed at cord cutters, HBO Now is priced at $14.99 and offers all of HBO's content without a cable subscription. Beyond HBO Now, Apple and Time Warner have discussed television many times in the past and have attempted to establish content deals, but those have yet to materialize.
Apple's ongoing difficulties establishing content deals with companies like Time Warner have spanned several years and have repeatedly delayed its television efforts. Apple's inability to convince cable companies and content providers to change the status quo has also caused Apple to scale back on its ambitious television plans.
Apple may have begun having more luck getting companies on board with its television plans, however, as recent rumors have indeed pointed towards the imminent launch of a streaming television service and possibly a new set-top box. Apple's new service may include content from CBS, Fox, Walt Disney, and more, with approximately 25 channels available at a cost between $30 and $40 per month.
Apple's rumored streaming television service may make an appearance in June at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference.
NBC Sports on the Apple TV offers video on demand that includes access to video clips, previews of upcoming events, and highlights from past events, plus it offers live NBC Sports events and full event replays. While video clips and other content will be available to all users, watching live content will require a cable subscription and authentication to log in.
In addition to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Triple Crown, Live Extra streams all live sports content televised by NBC, NBCSN and Golf Channel, including: the Summer and Winter Olympics; Sunday Night Football and NBC's NFL pre-season and post-season coverage; NHL regular-season games; the PGA TOUR, including the FedExCup Playoffs, and the LPGA; the Premier League; studio content surrounding many of the aforementioned properties; original programming such as The Dan Patrick Show and Men In Blazers; and much more.NBC Sports joins a slew of other sports-oriented apps on the Apple TV, including WatchESPN, MLB.tv, NBA, NHL GameCenter, Major League Soccer, WWE Network, 120 Sports, Tennis Channel Everywhere, and more.
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 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.
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.
“4K is great, but it’s still in its infancy,” said one source familiar with Apple’s thinking.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.