Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced several new products at its Tuesday event, including the iPad Air, Retina iPad Mini, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, and the free release of its iLife and iWork applications, as well as Mac OS X Mavericks. However, noticeably missing from the event was the Apple TV, leaving many users wondering where Apple plans to go with the Apple TV.
The current generation of the Apple TV is more than a year old, housing an A5 single-core processor, 512 MB of memory and 8 GB of NAND flash memory for cache. It currently supports a 802.11n Wi-Fi connection and outputs up to 1080p video.
Since then, the Apple TV has only seen a minor refresh in January and software update in September to add iTunes Radio, a full-fledged iTunes Music Store, additional iCloud support and a few other new features. But despite its features, consumers, investors and analysts are still wondering what the next big thing for the Apple TV will be.
Rumors leading up to the Oct. 22 event had pointed to at least an Apple TV with newer specs (with some even being retracted) or the ever-elusive Apple television set. In the case of Apple flat panel television, we would consider it highly unlikely, when slim profit margins and the logistics changes required to sell televisions in their store are taken under consideration.
Since the Apple TV’s update in September, Apple has been involved in talks between major production studios, along with television and distribution networks, which include ESPN, Comedy Central, HBO and Viacom, according to Cult of Mac.
Some of the talks have made progress, as evidenced by the presence of HBO Go, WatchESPN and other content apps that have made their way onto the Apple TV. With the growing shift of content moving to online models such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Apple appears to be positioning itself as the go-to place for “cord cutters,” a nickname given to households that have nixed a cable or satellite subscription entirely in favor of Web content or subscription services.
More than 13 million Apple TV units have been sold, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement to All Things D. This gives the Apple TV a 71 percent market share of digital media receivers, according to CNN Money, placing it in a prime position to shatter the current cable television model.
As for why the Apple TV hasn’t materialized yet, there are only a couple of logical reasons: Software and content.
Currently, there isn’t an intuitive way to search across all available apps on the Apple TV for your favorite content, despite the growing number of apps available that suggest its positioning as a robust a la carte model service. Were Apple to introduce an Apple TV with revolutionary software that had no content to search for, it would fall flat on its face.
Should Apple strike the right deal with content producers and providers, it may very well introduce a revolutionary model, which brings the best elements of a la carte choices, with a potential option of an unlimited subscription model.
But until that happens, the question is not if they will release a new Apple TV, but when.
Let us know what you think about the future for Apple TV in the comments.