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Amazon fireTV launch 'aggressively' highlights need for Apple TV revamp, Piper Jaffray says

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
Analyst Gene Munster, who has long held out hope for a more fully functional Apple TV and even a full television set from the company, believes that Wednesday's launch of the Amazon fireTV should serve as further motivation for Apple to make major moves in the television space.

Apple TV


In a note to investors provided to AppleInsider, the Piper Jaffray analyst said he believes it's time for the Apple TV become a "focus product line" for the Cupertino, Calif. company. In his eyes, this need is only highlighted by the launch of the new fireTV, unveiled by Amazon on Wednesday, which offers more content options than Apple's offering, and also adds gaming into the mix.

To compare platforms, Munster added up the total number of dedicated content partners and games available for streaming set-top boxes. In this comparison, Roku has by far the most content partners at 1,300, followed by fireTV with 41, and Apple TV with 31.

In terms of games available for each platform, fireTV is already the leader with 133 titles available. There are 77 games available on Roku, and zero on the Apple TV.

In addition, Munster noted that Amazon's fireTV also goes beyond Apple TV by offering voice control, something that he expects will arrive on Apple's platform, along with gaming, at some point in the near future. Specifically, Munster is still expecting an updated Apple TV to arrive at some point in the second half of 2014.

Apple TV


However, Munster continues to hold out hope that Apple will also launch a full-fledged connected television set this year, something he has been forecasting for many years. In his note Wednesday, Munster said he views an Apple television as "likely" to launch in 2014, though he cautioned that "each month that passes without credible feedback from the supply chain reduces our confidence."

Munster cited comments from Apple about entering new product categories in 2014, as well as rumors that the company has been attempting to negotiate deals with cable providers as signs that such a product is still in the works. The analyst did admit that most investors do not believe Apple will launch a full television set this year, with their "skepticism" driven by a lack of feedback from component makers in Apple's supply chain.

"In our opinion, it's still premature to rule a TV out this year, as we still have until this summer to start to hear more feedback from component suppliers to make a stronger call on the exact timing of the TV," Munster said.

The current Apple TV set-top box has continued to see strong sales despite the fact that Apple has not updated the hardware in two years. There have been rumors that Apple is looking to introduce a new model in the coming months, with expectations that the platform might be expanded to allow a full-fledged App Store with downloadable channels and even games.

As for a full-fledged Apple television, rumors around such a product have quieted down as speculation has generally suggested it's a market the company would not be interested. With sales of HDTVs plummeting 10 percent last year, and a recent report attributing comments to late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs calling the HDTV market a "terrible business," industry watchers have generally cooled off on the prospect of an Apple television set.
post #2 of 59

Gene Munster....the Rob Enderle 2.0 of the tech world....

post #3 of 59
I don't know about Munster, but I can play any game in the app store on my Apple TV
post #4 of 59
The only thing that will satisfy Munster would be for Apple to announce a 48" 4K wearable TV.
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post #5 of 59
If you think Apple hasn't already started on something great, you'd be... well an analyst.

I think Apple is waiting for everyone else puts their cards on the table so they can make them all look dumb.
post #6 of 59
Gene Munster....the same guy who thought Apple would release a cheap ass phone without a camera or Siri for emerging markets. lol.gif
post #7 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

If you think Apple hasn't already started on something great, you'd be... well an analyst.

I think Apple is waiting for everyone else puts their cards on the table so they can make them all look dumb.
I have a feeling the deal his due to a big content play Apple has been negotiating. Or maybe they will surprise us all with an actual TV set. But I don't think a Eddy Cue & Co. have been sitting there twiddling their thumbs...
post #8 of 59

I realize that people don't like Munster much around these parts (and I do often disagree with him myself), but I fail to see what he's saying here that is off-base.

 

We've had a day in which one well-heeled competitor has introduced a possibly credible alternative to @TV, and another to Siri.

 

I think Apple needs to step-up. I am sure it will. I wish it will be VERY soon.

post #9 of 59

Voice control-- my wife and kids hate it when I yell at the TV so why would I want to have to worry about yelling something that would change channels in the middle of a football game? Wait, the TV networks already break for commercials, why help them?

 

Amazon can push whatever they want to as the next best thing but their TV box is tied to their ecosystem and uses Android, case closed for me.

post #10 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

If you think Apple hasn't already started on something great, you'd be... well an analyst.

I think Apple is waiting for everyone else puts their cards on the table so they can make them all look dumb.

 

This may be true, and people need not forget that Apple was not first to the MP3 market or the smart phone markets or even the tablet market, they just did it in a way they everyone liked better.

 

This is why apple does not announce product ahead of time it allows your competitor to see what you are doing.

 

I think many people believe Apple will reveal what they been up to at the developer conference, Dropping one to two derivative product on developers at that time maybe okay, but they can not drop whole new products and expect them to be a hit with develops it will take time.

post #11 of 59

Apple has been dragging their feet on this one. There are so many features and UI potential Apple is not taking advantage of, like:

1) Reading full customer reviews. Why can't Apple make the reviews scrollable, and when you click on one, read the whole thing.

2) I hate the remote. Ok Jony is a great designer, but what happened to usability? The range is horrendous. The iPhone app seems to get worse with every upgrade, when I swipe down to move to the list of related videos underneath the selected video, it takes me to the movie details screen skipping over the related videos!! Very annoying.

3) Why can't I write a review from my iPhone or iPad app? It has a frik'n keyboard, and Siri capability.

4) Spotlight in OSX is great, it searches your entire device. Why can't search on Apple TV do the same? I always have to run the same search in multiple apps: iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, HBO... (And yes, you can find some 1080p videos legally on YouTube for free.)

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post #12 of 59
Munster: I know nothing of how Apple works. And Apple will release an iTV set any day now. When they do, I would have been the first to predict it several years ago. Apple delayed the project many times.
post #13 of 59

Gene Munster is ALWAYS wrong about all things Apple, but Apple does need to upgrade their AppleTV .

post #14 of 59

If Apple actualy needs to be "motivated" here, then Apple truly is finished.

Either Apple has something already in the wings that will make this thing look like a toy, or else it's time for them to fold up the company.

post #15 of 59

There may be many things that may highlight the need for an Apple TV revamp.

 

The FireTV is NOT one of them.

post #16 of 59
Eddie Munster needs to take a chill pill.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #17 of 59

So, all these people complaining about and taking shots at Munster... would you be happy and glowing if he came out and said, "ATV is still #1 and all competition stinks, all hail Apple"? Would that allow you to live in your harmonious Apple can do no wrong world? Apple TV is great, but it is in desperate need of a refresh, outside of adding a few channels and minor updates it's been essentially the same since 2010. Time to move out of "hobby" phase into full support with regular updates & upgrades phase. Competition pushes all to keep innovating, be happy others are doing that.

post #18 of 59

Sorry, but there's nothing in this fireTV that Apple could not have added to the AppleTV two years ago with very little effort. I think Apple's vision for the AppleTV is much grander than most people could ever imagine and the processing power of the A7 SoC will finally enable them to release the device they envisioned years ago.

Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #19 of 59
Again, Roku gets a free pass. Only Apple is doomed. Typical headline chaser, Herman Munster.

And are these analysts not taking the Xbox and Playstation content platforms seriously? They also deliver TV shows and movies. I guess only Apple is doomed.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #20 of 59

Content is king. The intuitiveness of the interface and the feature list length doesn't amount to squat without something to play. The whole reason why 90% of U.S. households put up with cable/satellite set-top boxes is because it plays what they actually want to view. Even with over three decades of time shifting devices (starting with the VCR), live broadcast content still makes up the vast majority of TV viewing. And putting paywalled moats around broadcast content and live sports is the beachhead that keeps pay TV subscribers locked in. 

 

And because many of these content deals are in the billions of dollars and run for upwards of a decade, Apple's disruptive potential cannot exclude the pay TV carriers. That's why you hear all the rumors of Apple negotiating with TWC and now Comcast. For all the talk of cord cutting from techies, the net loss of pay TV subscribers last year was only about 100,000 IIRC. Most of the articles about cable losing millions of subscribers talk up cord cutting, but fail to mention that satellite and fiber/IP pay TV subscriptions have grown by a nearly equal amount.

 

IMO, the killer app will come from whoever can aggregate the balkanized content fiefdoms (live broadcast, on-demand, PPV, and purchased content) under one umbrella, and feed it over home and mobile devices. Because of its existing content library, delivery infrastructure, and base of iTunes users, Apple is in the best position to deliver that kind of integrated content library. Combine content with a best-in-class UI and payment options for at-home and on-the-go viewing, and Apple will have solved the great TV puzzle that has stumped just about everybody else to this point.


Edited by Woochifer - 4/2/14 at 4:00pm
post #21 of 59
Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post
Apple TV is great, but it is in desperate need of a refresh

 

Not really.

 
outside of adding a few channels and minor updates its been essentially the same since 2010.

 

Whoop de do. Adding channels is the “regular update” for the Apple TV. The big thing we’re after is a la carte Channel channels with no need for cable/satellite. Just about everything else can stay the same.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #22 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by j1h15233 View Post

I don't know about Munster, but I can play any game in the app store on my Apple TV

That is my biggest beef with the amazon comparison chart. They list Games as NONE. They should list it as NATIVE games. Additionally, said comparison chart lists HBOgo as the only no for FireTV. I assume that is coming. Interestingly enough (/s) they don't mention iTunes content....

post #23 of 59
Yawn. These damn analyst. So full of gloom and doom for Apple.
post #24 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

But I don't think a Eddy Cue & Co. have been sitting there twiddling their thumbs...

No, I'm sure he's busy working on Ferrari issues. :p

 

Missed opportunity.  Best they can do is follow AMZN now.

post #25 of 59
Content is really king. Even though there are over a thousand channels on Roku, most people use it for Netflix, Hulu Plus, and music (which that interface sucks). Even if Apple can't get live broadcast, it would be a giant step forward for them to get internet rebroadcast on Apple TV, and without having to pay cable for it. If/when that happens, the cable station will have to come along. Why pay $100 a month for cable when I can purchase subscriptions to the TV shows I want to see and ignore the other 700 channels they say they provide.

Until they have more content, which the best way to get content is to allow revenue sharing from ads, which gets you in the door, that is going to be hard to convince providers to cooperate. And with that pile of dough Apple has, they could use the same incentives that Amazon and Netflix do, which is to purchase the shows and create their own channel.

In the mean time, the cards have not been played nor the hands been dealt. We will see.
post #26 of 59

Gene Munster historically has been one of the most clueless analysts going, with few (if any) accurate insights about Apple's direction.  Apple obviously has known about Amazon Prime Video, Amazon's history of Kindle Fire devices and the age of the current Apple TV.  Apple has most certainly been working for some time on something to update/replace the Apple TV, and I doubt they are very surprised about the introduction of the Amazon Fire TV.  Although the Apple TV is beyond Apple's typical product refresh time, a new version could potentially require coordination with a number of partners (e.g., content owners, content distributors--like Comcast, and developers) and Apple will only release it once the necessary arrangements are in place.  The introduction of the Amazon Fire TV is nothing more than an interesting event, while Apple pursues their long-term plan for TV-related products.

post #27 of 59
Nice job by Amazon raising the bar on streaming set tops.

Need to retire my old, slow Apple TV to upstairs duty & get a new, better, faster Apple TV, hopefully coming soon, would hate to have to defect to Amazon.
post #28 of 59

Unless Apple announces they will produce and release their own original content- they will have lost. 

 
Where's the new Apple TV?
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Where's the new Apple TV?
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post #29 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


As for a full-fledged Apple television, rumors around such a product have quieted down as speculation has generally suggested it's a market the company would not be interested.

And a recent report attributing comments to late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs calling the HDTV market a "terrible business," industry watchers have generally cooled off on the prospect of an Apple television set.

Yukari Iwatani Kane's Haunted Empire is where that info came from. Not so much a report as much as a book of lies.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #30 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post

Content is king. The intuitiveness of the interface and the feature list length doesn't amount to squat without something to play. The whole reason why 90% of U.S. households put up with cable/satellite set-top boxes is because it plays what they actually want to view.

And we have a winner. Oh and btw there are other countries out there beside the US. Just sayin'.

I still maintain the one thing holding back Apple from releasing the TV Jony has in his lab is the lack of a 2-year all-you-can-eat content/contract deal Apple has been unable to cut with the powers that be. If Apple had a deal in place where people could sign a contract with them and buy a TV from them for a subsidised price for around $499 to $999 depending on the model I'd bet they'd move millions of these things. And they continue to sell the standalone Apple TV box for those who are happy with their current TV or are not ready to upgrade yet. But rest assured if Apple was selling that amazing piece of TV engineering alongside that box when folks are due an upgrade that Apple display would be awfully tempting. Not to mention that one friend who gets one and every guest to their house gets the demo treatment. That alone would start to move these things. The first smart TV worth buying? Likely.

ALL CONTENT DEPENDANT.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #31 of 59

Here is what I'd personally love to see in Apple TV or an iTV:

Siri

Games (not just projecting your screen of your iDevice onto your TV)

Live TV

More content such as live TV

iChat and video Skype etc

Home integration

 

Here is what I personally don't want to see in Apple TV:

Another 2 years without a serious update

post #32 of 59
It's not a secret that the Apple TV is ripe for a significant refresh in order to support 4K movies and an App Store with productivity, lifestyle, and game apps. To do that, Apple may be expected to make numerous incremental updates to hardware components:

A5 -> A6 or A7 CPU
512MB -> 1GB of DRAM
8GB -> 16GB or 32GB of flash storage
100Mbit -> 1Gbit Ethernet
802.11n -> 802.11ac Wifi
HDMI 1.2 -> HDMI 1.4
Mac user since August 1983.
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Mac user since August 1983.
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post #33 of 59
Am I the only one that finds it odd that a brand new device aimed at streaming video doesn't include 802.11ac... I won't buy anything that doesn't have it.
post #34 of 59
yeah, Apple could have delivered more incremental improvements while they finish the big bang that must be coming.

Why can't I use the Siri on my phone to control my tv?
post #35 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by timborama View Post

No, I'm sure he's busy working on Ferrari issues. 1tongue.gif

Missed opportunity.  Best they can do is follow AMZN now.
Huh? How exactly would they be following Amazon considering they've had a STB for years?
post #36 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post

Unless Apple announces they will produce and release their own original content- they will have lost. 
Well then I guess they've lost as that will never happen.
post #37 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by WisdomSeed View Post

Content is really king. Even though there are over a thousand channels on Roku, most people use it for Netflix, Hulu Plus, and music (which that interface sucks). Even if Apple can't get live broadcast, it would be a giant step forward for them to get internet rebroadcast on Apple TV, and without having to pay cable for it. If/when that happens, the cable station will have to come along. Why pay $100 a month for cable when I can purchase subscriptions to the TV shows I want to see and ignore the other 700 channels they say they provide.

Until they have more content, which the best way to get content is to allow revenue sharing from ads, which gets you in the door, that is going to be hard to convince providers to cooperate. And with that pile of dough Apple has, they could use the same incentives that Amazon and Netflix do, which is to purchase the shows and create their own channel.

In the mean time, the cards have not been played nor the hands been dealt. We will see.
I still think we haven't seen an update from Apple because they've been working on a big content play. This Amazon STB is fine but not really a game changer. XBox and play station are better for games (and have streaming media options) and Apple TV and Roku have basically all the content Amazon does, if not more.
post #38 of 59

Apple isn't doomed, and certainly not because Amazon released 'fireTV'  Too many players in TV, and all users really want is the content- they just want the 'interface' to get out of the way.

 

TV isn't going to be the 'next big thing' for anyone- Google, Apple, nor Amazon.  They can all make a decent buck at it, but not on the scale of iPhone profits.  iTV will do very well, especially with people already in the Apple ecosystem.  The rest will avoid it.

 

The only way one of them could make big bucks at it isn't with the interface, it's if they could coral all the prime content to exclusivity and not allow competitors to offer the same content at a lower price, or come up with a scheme to get preferred delivery from the cable companies which denies competitors the same.  Not likely to happen in TV.

post #39 of 59

Apple TV definitely needs some improvements just to make it easier to use. i've been using two for several years.

 

first the Remote app still inexplicably requires old style clumsy swipe navigation to control the ATV home screen and all the other menus. i have no idea why. all the icons and lists on ATV could easily be on screen buttons and pull downs in the Remote app too. that should have been fixed years ago.

 

second, an HDMI pass thru with auto input selection would greatly simplify home wiring and operation. i have to use an HDMI switch now in one case, and fuss with TV input selection on the other. both are a daily pain.

 

as to gaming via AirPlay, the problem for action games is the split second AirPlay latency between your iPad and ATV. that can only be solved by loading apps on the ATV itself.

 

other bells and whistles, like Siri control, might be useful sometimes but don't really matter that much i think.

 

so yes it is time for a good ATV update. Apple can't stand pat on UI improvements. 

post #40 of 59
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

second, an HDMI pass thru with auto input selection would greatly simplify home wiring and operation. i have to use an HDMI switch now in one case, and fuss with TV input selection on the other. both are a daily pain.

 

Never happening. Apple TV is supposed to be the end of the TV’s line, not the middle of it.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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