Apple is a lot of things. Innovative, exclusive, proprietary, sleek and so many other adjectives. One thing it is not is budget-friendly. That’s why the slew of stories touting an inexpensive version of Apple’s streaming device known as “Apple TV” seems like just the latest in a string of Apple rumors that gets feverishly followed and yet never followed up on.
The narrative springs from one source. A tweet by a writer regularly featured at the website Mac Rumors Ming-Chi Kuo. One tweet by one person. Go ahead check any article from any source regarding the topic and it all goes back to him.
Mac Rumors as the name of the website indicates deals in rumors. Some of the notable rumors that have caught the attention of the media were Apple’s impending TV streaming service that would build in live streaming channels.
There was also the never-ending speculation of the TV with iOS built-in. The story would not die for years. Mac Rumors often quoted other sources on that rumor but still nonetheless ferried it.
Now we are talking about an inexpensive version of the Apple TV streaming device. The Apple TV streaming device, not to be confused with “Apple TV+”, which is Apple’s subscription service has been on the scene since 2007 and has gone through multiple changes since launch. Originally the device simply played content that was saved to Mac computers it evolved into a modern streaming device starting with its second-generation model before eventually adding an app store bringing it in line with its competitors. But it has never reduced the price or sold new products at an entry-level. The closest Apple ever comes to that is selling the previous generation of products at a discount until they are sold out.
Apple TV has always been one of the more expensive devices on the market. It is a wonderful accessory for those in the iOS world due to the way it integrates screen sharing and links Apple ID to the TV world. But the company has rarely marketed it with mass appeal in mind. A move to develop an inexpensive model to compete with products like the Roku Streaming Stick, Fire TV Stick and Chromecast with Google TV on the lower end of the price scale would really be unprecedented. Notice there is not a low end low cost iPhone, iMac, Macbook or any of their other products.
There is only one reason I could see Apple wanting to go through with such an idea. It may see it as an entryway to getting more people to try out it services like iTunes Radio, Apple Arcade and Apple TV+. Apple has been opening up its culture slowly, for instance launching an Apple TV+ app for Roku and other streaming platforms.
So if this in fact happens you can color me surprised.