The Steve Jobs Auditorium on Apple's new campus. On March 25, Apple executives and partners will take to the Steve Jobs Theater stage on the Apple Cupertino campus to discuss subscriptions, software, services, entertainment and media. These are all things that Apple has already dealt with, but never before has an event focused so completely on them as we expect later this month.
This does not mean that it is impossible for hardware to appear. The timing of an update of the Apple iPad base model is correct, and reports and rumors have been supplemented by evidence from the Developer Beta to point out that for some Apple products, such as the iPad, the iPad mini, the iPod touch, and the AirPods, hardware updates are imminent. These would fit perfectly into an event that focuses on services such as television, music and news: they are primarily media consumption devices.
However, this will be Apple's first public event after Apple reported a significant drop in iPhone sales worldwide and worried by worrisome experts, analysts and investors, which has the iPhone hardware-dependent company in difficult times. It's fitting (and perhaps even meaningful) that the event will focus on services ̵
1; the division that Apple is happiest to boast at the moment – and not on hardware.
Of course you should be skeptical when reading Hot Takes on the Internet Declaration that Apple is doomed to fail because its iPhone sales are mainly due to China. It's not good news, but other companies would go out of their way to achieve the financial and market position that Apple has in most of its global business interests, even with this rare sign of weakness.
I write "most" because Apple actually lags behind I assume that in this one area the March event is highlighted the most: the television.
The iTunes Store is a relatively successful platform for buying episodes of TV series, but nowadays many people prefer to watch TV shows that are part of a streaming subscription such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. And while we generally liked the Apple TV 4K as a media-streaming hardware solution in its review, Apple's market share in this area is not impressive. The cheaper, more accessible, less closed Roku platform dominates. Not to mention the fact that many of today's televisions are equipped with Netflix and the like, and more than half of US households have video game consoles with extensive video streaming app libraries.
But the same story developed for music on iTunes before Apple launched the hugely successful Apple Music service. Could that happen with television or news? And what do we know about the new iPads that may or may not be announced? Let's examine the fixings as well as the possibilities of Apple's event on March 25th.
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Apple Streaming TV Service
The television industry fits in perfectly with the classic profile of a rundown industry, a kind of technological house-flipping that has previously led to Apple's biggest successes. With iPod, iPhone, Macintosh, AirPods, and other successful products, Apple has identified product categories that have been promising but have been severely hampered by shortsighted design decisions or industry fragmentation. Television services are such a product.
Television networks are the definitions of dinosaurs. Their business models and technologies are archaic and threatened by newer innovations. And thanks to almost monopolies of local cable providers, bad negotiating positions with these cable providers on the part of the networks, bloated subsidies for content like ESPN that not everyone wants, and glacier news: the user experience for cable television services is almost universally horrible at the moment – and it's also a bad price ,
It is appropriate that the television industry itself, in which I worked before, calls streaming services "OTT" – "over the top". Look in the name of it all: the only way to get a good user experience is to skip all the infrastructure that the industry has spent decades building and monopolizing.
Apple's efforts with Apple TV just show how bad the situation is. Even Apple, with its strong bargaining position, could not bring the whole industry behind the Apple TV 4K to a good solution, building on the various streaming services. All channels use different technologies, they do not play well together, and because of their mysterious and exclusive dealings with cable providers, Apple can not guarantee a universal appeal for all Apple TV users. In addition, the brutal grip of cable providers is slowing down the networks trying to break the status quo.
A popular biography of Walter Isaacson's former Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed that this TV problem was the issue that troubled Jobs last days on which the company runs. He was obsessed with solving it, just as iTunes addressed a similar confusion in the music industry in the early 2000s.
This month's Apple event features the slogan "It's Show Time" – a slogan used years ago for an event where Apple first announced the future Apple TV product. Apple's current leadership seems to believe that the work jobs have begun is over.
While previous efforts have sought to work closely with networks to provide only a better tech platform for distributing the existing content of these networks, the new service seems more like Amazon Prime Video: an original content computer which is enhanced by licensed content and add-ons from premium channels like Starz or HBO Now.