Why an Apple TV makes sense–but wont succeed…

Apple has a proven track record of taking a broken business and fix it by removing unnecessary complexity and make it appeal to normal users.

This had worked with the iPod, which was not the first digital music player or the cheapest one. It had worked with the iPhone and it had worked with the iPad (the tablet marked after all existed for more than 8 years before the iPad came out).  Apple tried it with the Apple TV set top box, called it repeatedly a “hobby” and failed.

The failure of course is not inherit in the device – the Apple TV works just fine and allows you to get rid of any other TV subscription. I have no cable or dish network and my only source for TV entertainment is my Apple TV. It works. But… only if you want it to work. I only get a subset of TV shows, some Movies never show up and any live sports entertainment besides MLB and NBA as an additional subscription is a no show.

And, it only works for me because I accept to use an American iTunes account and watch everything in English. And this is where the Apple TV will fail.

A TV set based on Apple’s displays with an integrated Apple TV box makes complete sense. Add Siri Voice control and possibly iOS Apps to that and it is fantastic. But again – it won’t succeed. The reason why iTunes was successful for the music market is easy – all mayor labels are onboard and all songs are available almost on a global scale. The changes between my American iTunes store and German iTunes store regarding music are minimal. The differences for Movies and TV Shows are huge. The music industry needed iTunes as a lifeline for a failing model (remember Napster?) – the Movie industry doesn’t care – copying movies from Bit torrent sites is not mainstream technology yet, there is no real threat!

So – an Apple TV would only make sense if you could get rid of everything else, no more bills for cable, no subscription to specific networks etc. As long as it is just another source of content – even if it is a very good looking one – it will not succeed.