Apple’s upcoming TV
Gruber’s article makes a lot of sense. TV content providers are already creating iOS apps, so why not pull them altogether into a Newstand-like app folder called iTV. And that would appear on your Apple TV as well.
Apple could also differentiate from Free TV “Channel” apps and Paid ones in the Appstore. Free channels apps would monetize through commercials. The paid ones would be subscription like HBO, etc. The TV channels could monetize even better because there’s a direct relationship with the customer/viewer and they can target ads more specifically (location, demographic, age, gender, interests, etc).
In the end, Apple’s new TV will be just a screen giving the user access to “channels” which will be apps.
Also, the apps might have two interfaces: one for iPad/iPhone (or separate) and also one for the iTV. The iTV interface will be really simple and will list out all your TV apps and what’s playing or what’s popular recently.
In 2010, Steve Jobs describes the challenges of entering the TV market.
In Steve Jobs biography, it notes that he says “I finally cracked it” (regarding the TV problem). I think I know what he means.
I think “I finally cracked it” means that he finally discovered a way to get TV content directly to the view without the cable stations getting in the way. He described the problem in his Walt Mossberg interview @ AllThingsD conference in 2010, I think. He basically said the TV problem is very challenging and he doesn’t have a solution because the cable companies control the viewing experience for the user, and Apple would be stuck with just adding another device onto the TV but wouldn’t be able to really disrupt much (ie., current Apple TV as a hobby). SJ finally cracking it probably means he found a way to circumvent the cable companies… thus, apps as a means to directly give TV to users. But not just apps, but probably some kind of aggregation of TV shows from all the TV apps out there to provide a new interface/experience with all the content available, so you don’t need a cable subscription anymore.
I imagine Apple aggregating all the TV channel shows into a TV guide sort of interface, nothing to different than current cable offerings. So, it’ll be very similar in experience. Just turn on TV and you’ll see all the channels playing (all your channels at top and then other channels following). Choose what you want to watch, bam… you’re watching it. The added benefit, is that you’ll be able to watch past content somehow. Maybe it’ll track your favorite shows and automatically show you all past shows you haven’t watched as well. There’s lots of possibilities. But I think whatever Apple does, they’ll want to improve on the current TV experience, not degrade it.