Steve Jobs was on stage at the D8 conference and he shared with us some of his thoughts on the television market. Well, taking his words literally and assuming that Steve honestly shared ALL of his most important thoughts on the TV market, we’d say there will be no new Apple TV coming at WWDC 2010. We’d also say that nowadays Apple has no idea on how to succeed in the television market.
Listen to Jobs:
The problem with innovation in the television industry is the go-to-market strategy. The television industry fundamentally has a subsidized business model that gives everybody set-top box for free, or for $10 a month and that pretty much squashes any opportunity for innovation, because nobody is willing to buy a set-top box. Ask TiVo, ask ReplayTV, ask Roku, ask Vudu, ask us, ask Google in few months. Sony tried as well. Panasonic tried. A lot of people tried. They all failed.
According to Apple CEO, we end up with table full of remotes, cluster full of boxes, bunch of different UIs. That’s the situation we have today.
All you can do is add a box under the TV system, Jobs said.
The only way that it’s ever going to change is if you can really go back to square one and tear up the set-top box and redesign it from scratch, with the consistent UI, across all those different functions, and get it to the consumer in a way that they are willing to pay for it.
And right now, there is no way to do that! – Jobs said firmly (damn…!)
So, that’s the problem with the TV market. We decided what product do we want the most: a better TV or a better phone. The phone won out. But there was no chance to do a better TV because there was no way to get it to market.
What do we want more: tablet or better TV? Well, probably a tablet, but it doesn’t matter because if we wanted a better TV there is no way to get it to market.
The TV is going to lose until there is available go-to-market strategy.
Otherwise you just make another TiVO. That’s the fundamental problem – it’s not a problem with technology, it’s not a problem with vision, it’s a fundamental go-to-market problem.
Is there any chance you partner with some cable operator? – Steve has been asked.
Then you run into another problem, which is: there is no cable operator that is national, he answered.
There is a bunch of cable operators. And than, this is not like there is a GSM standard where you build a phone for the US and it also work in those other countries. No, every single country has different standards, different government approvals, it’s very balkanized.
I’m sure smarter people than us will figure this out. But that’s why we say Apple TV is a hobby; that’s why we use that phrase.
Well, this could all mean that Apple focuses on iPhone and iPad, and they are not planning to introduce a new TV (new set-top box) in the near future. Hopefully there are people who see things differently: Engadget notices that Steve has all this stuff really mulled over – according to the guys at the tech blog this confirms that we’ll be hearing some next-Apple TV news at the WWDC10. TechCrunch even thinks that this all may push Apple to build televisions.
We hope Jobs hasn’t really figured out that there is no way to figure out good go-to-market strategy for the new TV by Apple.