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Apple's Eddy Cue says 20M Apple TVs sold, business will 'evolve' in 2014

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
During the Code Conference on Wednesday, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue revealed Apple sold 20 million Apple TVs to date and raked in more than $1 billion from set-top streamer sales in fiscal 2013. He expects the business to grow even larger in 2014.

Apple TV


Among the expected music-related topics discussed during Re/code's talk with Cue and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, a brief exchange on the future of Apple TV yielded interesting insight into what Apple once called a "beloved hobby."

Talking about the apparent rift between Silicon Valley and Hollywood, Walt Mossberg asked Cue about Apple's TV business and how the company plans to innovate in the sector.

Cue said "the TV experience sucks," adding that modern advances like the DVR are only "glorified VCRs." He admitted that TV is a "complicated landscape" with simple problems that turn into complex issues due to the number of parties involved. This is counter to the music industry, which is apparently much easier to deal with because content rights are fairly straightforward.

Mossberg asked why Apple hasn't delivered a TV that "doesn't suck," but Cue refused to give up any information on possible future products. The impetus to make a change is there, however, as the Apple exec said TV should be much more accessible and user-friendly. As an example, Cue said he wanted to watch a TV program on his iPad today, but it's currently difficult -- or in some regions impossible -- to do so.

Speaking about Apple TV as a business, the exec said Apple has sold more than 20 million units since the set-top streamer's inception. In 2013,
Apple TV brought in more than $1 billion, a number that is expected to grow in 2014.

While light on specifics, Cue said Apple TV is going to evolve this year as Apple continues to improve content offerings much like last year's addition of HBO Go and other streaming channels.
post #2 of 23
Evolve = more ATV content icons. Well, if that's the case, it's not enough. The ATV lineup of non-Apple services is needlessly encumbered: some services of course require a separate subscription and payment (Netflix), while others duplicate cable TV networks, but require that you have a cable provider, which defeats the purpose of "cable cutting".

Don't get me wrong, I like my AppleTV for the iTunes content, and some hassle-free non-Apple services, namely YouTube (ad-free, thanks to Apple!) Vimeo, and Vevo. iCloud integration is nice. Other channels are like: "go to your cable provider's website and login with your account and enter this code number displayed on your screen to view this channel," /facepalm

"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 #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Evolve = more ATV content icons. Well, if that's the case, it's not enough. The ATV lineup of non-Apple services is needlessly encumbered: some services of course require a separate subscription and payment (Netflix), while others duplicate cable TV networks, but require that you have a cable provider, which defeats the purpose of "cable cutting".

Don't get me wrong, I like my AppleTV for the iTunes content, and some hassle-free non-Apple services, namely YouTube (ad-free, thanks to Apple!) Vimeo, and Vevo. iCloud integration is nice. Other channels are like: "go to your cable provider's website and login with your account and enter this code number displayed on your screen to view this channel," /facepalm
Apple TV UI/UX is pretty bad right now. I use it mostly for AirPlay. Even if Apple's grand plan for the living room isn't ready they could at least upgrade the software and hardware to be competitive with other products on the market. Right now I get the feeling Apple is coasting with ATV.
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


Apple TV UI/UX is pretty bad right now. I use it mostly for AirPlay. Even if Apple's grand plan for the living room isn't ready they could at least upgrade the software and hardware to be competitive with other products on the market. Right now I get the feeling Apple is coasting with ATV.

I totally agree. But it´s typical of Apple to hold back breakthru tech and solutions, and build a massively better product. 

 

No reason to slowly improve Apple TV, rather keep it around to add some new content, test new solutions etc. It was a hobby. 

 

While in the background they are solving problem after problem, adding games, app store, new interface (buh-bye remote controll), and new home entertainment solutions while at the same time coming up with a much better display.

Once they have a product that is revolutionary better at all aspects, they have a new category e.g game changer. First then are they ready to unveil  it. For people thinking Apple TV as it stands is the best Apple can do on the TV front, are sorely mistaken. 

post #5 of 23
Hopefully a brand new software is announced at WWDC.
I use basically for Airplay. Put Beats on it and I'll try it with baited breath.
 
Where's the new Apple TV?
 
 
(So Y is the new X?   Zzzzzzzzzz......)
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Where's the new Apple TV?
 
 
(So Y is the new X?   Zzzzzzzzzz......)
Reply
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by hydr View Post
 

I totally agree. But it´s typical of Apple to hold back breakthru tech and solutions, and build a massively better product. 

 

No reason to slowly improve Apple TV, rather keep it around to add some new content, test new solutions etc. It was a hobby. 

 

While in the background they are solving problem after problem, adding games, app store, new interface (buh-bye remote controll), and new home entertainment solutions while at the same time coming up with a much better display.

Once they have a product that is revolutionary better at all aspects, they have a new category e.g game changer. First then are they ready to unveil  it. For people thinking Apple TV as it stands is the best Apple can do on the TV front, are sorely mistaken. 

You're so right. It's funny how the no-sayers and complainers can only look at the here-and-now and think that's all Apple can do. Apple is looking 5+yrs down the road, while negative nellies and clueless analysts only see as far as today.

post #7 of 23
I don't know about the USA, but in the UK it's very possible and quite simple to watch a TV programme missed, on an iPad or other tablet.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodbine View Post

I don't know about the USA, but in the UK it's very possible and quite simple to watch a TV programme missed, on an iPad or other tablet.

In the US, we have studios, networks, service providers all duking it out for control. Some of these entities have the same corporate parent. In addition, services such as hulu, netflix, YouTube have exclusive digital rights as well. This is even before Apple can do anything.
post #9 of 23
If Apple TV added a fancy remote with gaming buttons and Wii type sensors, they could slaughter the competition by using the app store to buy quality games built for said device. They have the infrastructure and technology in place already so I don't know what the hold-up is but that device would kill Roku, Amazon's new box and put a dent in the big-boy gaming systems.
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Evolve = more ATV content icons. Well, if that's the case, it's not enough.

I'm sure he said it'd "evolve" in 2013. And 2012. Probably 2011 too for that matter. But I agree, more content icons isn't evolution.

Why oh why don't they revert back to the AppleTV 1 TV show listing style, where you had a list of TV shows and each season as a subcategory of the TV show's title. I've got quite a lot of TV shows, and I have to scroll through a massive list of every season of every TV show to find anything. It's utterly stupid. All I can figure is no one at Apple actually uses the AppleTV as a remote-access iTunes browser.
post #11 of 23
Comcast just updated their xfinity boxes and I don't think it was an improvement
post #12 of 23
-Upgraded hardware (AC, 16gb sd, 1-2gb ram, A7- even an A6 is fine)
-Safari (for hotel wifi connection only is fine- browsing is dumb)
-App Store
-$149 price or less

That's all it needs to continue to dominate the market and take a huge step forward. If it doubles as a router/bridge- that'd be jaw dropping but unnecessary.

That would allow the mifi controllers to take off- promote gaming via App Store and hardware boost.


TS- before you say how pointless an App Store is- think, where would the iPhone be without it? If it was just up to Apple to release apps as they saw fit, we'd be way back from where we are now. Create a store and open it up for the creative app developers. Even if it's just games and video/music apps- it'd be light years better than the current offerings (not to mention the ability to delete not just hide)

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iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #13 of 23
Clean up the UI, including getting the apps into a store so we can pick what we want to fill our tiny little storage with.
Better pricing, quality and release timing. Bring back Extras (as Steve promised when the 2nd gen came out) and get more audio/subs etc in there. Movies should mirror what's on the disk. TV shows the same. Encourage production companies to put features on shows. Have 'complete my season' type options for movie bundles, TV box sets etc.
Direct subscriptions for things like HBOgo.

These are the things that will 'fix' the Apple TV and the lack of iTunes revenue. Plus if really done well could reduce casual torrenting in ways no throttling or lawsuits ever will.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

Reply
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Evolve = more ATV content icons. Well, if that's the case, it's not enough. The ATV lineup of non-Apple services is needlessly encumbered: some services of course require a separate subscription and payment (Netflix), while others duplicate cable TV networks, but require that you have a cable provider, which defeats the purpose of "cable cutting".

Don't get me wrong, I like my AppleTV for the iTunes content, and some hassle-free non-Apple services, namely YouTube (ad-free, thanks to Apple!) Vimeo, and Vevo. iCloud integration is nice. Other channels are like: "go to your cable provider's website and login with your account and enter this code number displayed on your screen to view this channel," /facepalm

 

There is nothing Apple can do with needing a cable subscription to access the content on ATV. I know Apple tried to work a deal with HBO, but weren't successful. The biggest problem is the cable companies and the providers don't want you to cut the cord. Both make a ton of money off of subscriber fees you pay your cable/satellite company. It would be great if channels like HBO would offer a subscription model for HBO Go, but I doubt we see that in the near future. 

post #15 of 23

agree with all of you unhappy with the current ATV UI. the small candybar IR remote is terrible, hard to use accurately. and the iOS Remote app is crude, still a cursor trackpad UI instead of simple app buttons interface. can't believe both have not been significantly improved after all these years.

 

so i use those just for Netflix and nothing else. too much trouble.

 

whereas the AirPlay UI is great - simple, and built directly in to iOS media apps, including third party, and OSX desktop too. so i use AirPlay a lot for all kinds of stuff.

post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Evolve = more ATV content icons. Well, if that's the case, it's not enough. The ATV lineup of non-Apple services is needlessly encumbered: some services of course require a separate subscription and payment (Netflix), while others duplicate cable TV networks, but require that you have a cable provider, which defeats the purpose of "cable cutting".

 

i dont think apple or cue said the evolution will simply be more icons, did they? 

 

as for requiring cable providers -- i also dont think apple/cue said their stated purpose of ATV is to enable cord-cutters. it's one benefit, to be sure, but i dont believe thats a stated objective.

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Apple TV UI/UX is pretty bad right now. I use it mostly for AirPlay. Even if Apple's grand plan for the living room isn't ready they could at least upgrade the software and hardware to be competitive with other products on the market. Right now I get the feeling Apple is coasting with ATV.

 

seriously speaking -- whats a good reference to something better? i use Plex and ATV for all content on my display. it's never struck me that ATV's interface is a problem. i move the focus from one app to another and launch... my apps are Movies, TV, Music, iRadio and then Netflix, Trailers, Photos on the next line. ive long ago hidden any content apps im not interested in. it seems really easy to me, so what am i doing wrong? but i dont use the stock remote, thats one thing...i use logitech's Harmony One. great physical remote, but dear lord their software for programming it is atrocious. painful.


Edited by NolaMacGuy - 5/29/14 at 9:56am
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodbine View Post

I don't know about the USA, but in the UK it's very possible and quite simple to watch a TV programme missed, on an iPad or other tablet.

 

all depends on the content-holder. some use websites which dont even work on ipad due to an odd reliance on adobe flash (Southpark, im looking at you...beta notwithstanding). others dont make their content available online. many dont put them on itunes, or not until a season has passed in its entirety first.

 

lots of suck.

post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Apple TV UI/UX is pretty bad right now. I use it mostly for AirPlay. Even if Apple's grand plan for the living room isn't ready they could at least upgrade the software and hardware to be competitive with other products on the market. Right now I get the feeling Apple is coasting with ATV.

The UI UX could use a rethink, ground up. Part of it seems to be the limitations of the simple 4-way controller. A BlueTooth click wheel (like on the iPod Classic) with a fast, fluid "cover flip" UI would be a nice way to visually scan for content. Or even using an iPhone or iPod Touch for a "virtual
screen". Which ever way, the UI needs to be faster.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post

i dont think apple or cue said the evolution will simply be more icons, did they? 

No, but that's SOP. Apple execs don't say anything until the product is unveiled. I assume your question was rhetorical.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrance View Post

If Apple TV added a fancy remote with gaming buttons and Wii type sensors, they could slaughter the competition by using the app store to buy quality games built for said device. They have the infrastructure and technology in place already so I don't know what the hold-up is but that device would kill Roku, Amazon's new box and put a dent in the big-boy gaming systems.
Yes of course it would.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

-Upgraded hardware (AC, 16gb sd, 1-2gb ram, A7- even an A6 is fine)
-Safari (for hotel wifi connection only is fine- browsing is dumb)
-App Store
-$149 price or less

That's all it needs to continue to dominate the market and take a huge step forward. If it doubles as a router/bridge- that'd be jaw dropping but unnecessary.

That would allow the mifi controllers to take off- promote gaming via App Store and hardware boost.


TS- before you say how pointless an App Store is- think, where would the iPhone be without it? If it was just up to Apple to release apps as they saw fit, we'd be way back from where we are now. Create a store and open it up for the creative app developers. Even if it's just games and video/music apps- it'd be light years better than the current offerings (not to mention the ability to delete not just hide)
Totally what I've been waiting for in an Apple TV.

If they made the ui a tottal IOS feel with aimed remote like wii it'd be great, for $150 you could get a console experience, all in 1 box containing 1 cord to TV, another to ac outlet. Throw in a remote improved with it and run IOS.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

No, but that's SOP. Apple execs don't say anything until the product is unveiled. I assume your question was rhetorical.

Unfortunately it wasn't. That guy is a blow hard and has zero sarcasm radar or sense of humor. He also has no idea where the "Multi quote" button is.

2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2014 27" Retina iMac i5, 2012 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply
post #23 of 23
For me, the search for Film on Apple TV is so not what Apple standards are about. I personally love Celluloid Film discovery app, it streams non stop trailers via Airplay till I see a movie that I like. Here is a link to it:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/celluloid/id623558136?mt=8
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