Apple TV set box was launched 13 years ago in 2007 and the set-top box was updated in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2017. Over the years Apple released various software and hardware updates like dedicated App Store, Apple TV+, 4K video streaming support, and others. However, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg believes that the Cupertino tech giant has not done enough to make the set-top box an affordable and attractive device in comparison to other video streaming devices from Amazon, Ruko, Samsung, and others.
Currently, the iPhone maker sells Apple TV HD 32GB for $149 and higher-end Apple TV 4K 32GB for $179 and 64GB for $199. Although the company’s services Apple News, Apple Arcade, and newly launch Apple Fitness+ are only available on Apple TV set-top boxes, other commonly used services like Apple Music, and Apple TV+ are available on third-party devices. Gurman’s opinion is that “now half a decade later, the product is facing intense competition,” therefore, it needs a major update with a more affordable price tag.
Apple TV set-top box is missing its moment – Bloomberg
Gurman says that the Apple TV box is “missing the moment” it was initially designed to bring because competing video streaming box is offering the same functionality for a more pocket-friendly price.
There’s also the issue of price. The latest 4K Apple TV costs $180. By contrast, Amazon.com Inc.’s TV stick (a device that plugs directly into your HDMI port) costs just $50. And Amazon sells a full-fledged box for $120 that lets you bark voice commands from across the room. Meanwhile, Roku’s priciest player is currently $80, and Google recently launched a well-received new Chromecast for $50.
He further writes that the box has lost exclusivity. As Apple as expanded its subscription based-services on third-party devices, users are no longer compelled to buy an expensive set-top box to enjoy services like Apple TV+. Thus, Apple needs to release some distinguishing features in its set-top box to make it stand out and attract users.
One differentiator for the Apple TV might have been exclusive access to content, but in recent years the industry has shifted to a model where everyone’s content is available everywhere. Apple’s TV+ programs also appear on Google, Amazon and Roku devices. And the company’s services are also now available on the new Xbox, PlayStation 5 and TVs from Sony to Samsung. While that hasn’t helped Apple’s hardware sales, the move has broadened Apple’s services income.
The box’s glass-top remote, prone to damage and easily lost, is also an expensive replacement. Therefore, Gurman hopes for an updated remote with a new processor in the next-generation Apple set-top box coming in 2021.
For next year, Apple is planning an upgraded box with a stronger gaming focus, an updated remote and a new processor. Those changes will fix some of the Apple TV box’s issues, but the product will need to take another big leap—akin to its 2015 changes—to remain competitive in the long term. Either that or it needs to get a lot cheaper.