Apple TV has been playing catchup since the Roku 3. Streaming devices have been described as Apple’s hobby as opposed to its focus on high-end computers and of course iPhones and iPads. But in the past few years, Apple has begun to focus more energy on the streaming market first updating the Apple TV with its fourth generation model that featured a major makeover for its interface. The company added an app store, games, a controller with an included spectrometer and Siri integration. The new models are even compatible with a game-pad.
In 2017 Apple stepped up its game again. It introduced the TV app to Apple TV and IOS devices and brought 4k to the table with the introduction of a 5th generation Apple TV which featured 4k menus and playback.
So now that Apple seems to be focusing a bit more on home media what will it do going forward? Is this when Apple will finally take the lead in the streaming market?
Expand its TV App
The TV app on IOS and Apple TV is nothing for other platforms to shrug off. It is a unique way to approach streaming content that combines on-demand and live content from free and subscription streaming services as well as TV everywhere services when applicable. It doesn’t just do this via some kind of search. It puts it right in front of the user by funneling the available content into one place and breaking the content down into genres. Apple also sells its iTunes content via the TV App. The biggest issue with the TV app is that it is not inclusive enough. That should change in 2018. If Apple intends to grow in this space it will need to greatly expand the compatible services. Apple may do so by purchasing or partnering with a company or companies that deliver video content. Apple has its own subscription music service but has never delved into an actual video service ala Hulu or Netflix. Could it choose to purchase a smaller company along the lines of Fubo TV or Philo and rebrand it? Let’s say a fledgling streaming service like FilmStruck fails to deliver a sustainable audience in 2018. As various services fall on hard times over the next year Apple may be waiting as a soft landing place that can be packaged into a reasonably priced service exclusive to the device with a nice discount on HBO.
Apple is one of the most powerful brands in electronics. This type of power allowed it to have a number of services long before its rivals have over the years. The meager generation 3 Apple TV supported YouTube and Watch ESPN long before they ever graced Roku’s menu. And who could forget that the Apple TV 3, (Keep in mind this, is the model before it had an app store), was the exclusive home of HBO Now for quite some? Apple may well be the first home of say the DC App or whatever Disney cooks up next. Yahoo sports does not yet allow NFL games on its TV-connected apps. If Apple were to swing an exclusive on something like that watch out.
What is the biggest difference between Siri on an iPhone and Siri on an Apple TV? Siri can talk back on a phone. On the other hand, Siri only communicates by on-screen captions on the Apple TV. Considering that one of its major competitors the Fire TV can talk back and forth even say goodnight and good morning this is a missed opportunity. Apple invented the idea of an interactive voice assistant in a device and it is currently getting lapped by Amazon in that department. You could almost say Amazon Apple Apple. Apple should be appalled by this, I’m sorry I couldn’t resist. It’s time that Apple allows users to fully interact with Siri on an Apple TV.
Add a Browser
Apple products all have their own browser, Safari. Apple even had the gumption to include it on iPods. So why has it been absent on Apple TV? Amazon and Android TV already support a browser, and with the capabilities of the Apple remote, it seems like it would be a natural move. Safari should find a home on the Apple TV this year. A browser would increase the value of the Apple TV as an entertainment and even more so, a presentation device. This would be a winner for educational, corporate and home consumers. It would also allow Apple TV owners to access content not currently available via official apps.