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

in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited April 2014
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.


  • Reply 1 of 58

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

  • Reply 2 of 58
    j1h15233j1h15233 Posts: 274member
    I don't know about Munster, but I can play any game in the app store on my Apple TV
  • Reply 3 of 58
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,523member
    The only thing that will satisfy Munster would be for Apple to announce a 48" 4K wearable TV.
  • Reply 4 of 58
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,336member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 58
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Gene Munster....the same guy who thought Apple would release a cheap ass phone without a camera or Siri for emerging markets. :lol:
  • Reply 6 of 58
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    jkichline wrote: »
    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...
  • Reply 7 of 58
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,378member

    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.

  • Reply 8 of 58
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,086member

    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.

  • Reply 9 of 58
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,658member
    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.

  • Reply 10 of 58
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,871member

    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.)

  • Reply 11 of 58
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,716member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 58
    ingelaingela Posts: 217member

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

  • Reply 13 of 58
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member

    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.

  • Reply 14 of 58
    addicted44addicted44 Posts: 822member

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


    The FireTV is NOT one of them.

  • Reply 15 of 58
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,398member
    Eddie Munster needs to take a chill pill.
  • Reply 16 of 58

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 58
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,005member

    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.

  • Reply 18 of 58
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 58
    woochiferwoochifer Posts: 365member

    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.

  • Reply 20 of 58
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    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.

Sign In or Register to comment.