While we’re almost certain Apple is working on its own television set, when it will launch is a complete mystery. Initially it seemed the set could make its debut before the end of 2012, and then reports pushed the release date back until 2013. Now according to a new analyst report, it’s unlikely won’t be adding an Apple HDTV to your credit card bill any time soon.
Why? Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue has reportedly indicated to analysts that there’s still a lot of work to be done with content providers.
Following a meeting with Cue and Apple’s chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer on Wednesday, Pacific Crest’s Andy Hargreaves issued a “company update” to clients today. It read:
An Apple Television Appears Extremely Unlikely in the Near-term
Relative to the television market, Eddy Cue, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services, reiterated the company’s mantra that it will enter markets where it feels it can create great customer experiences and address key problems. The key problems in the television market are the poor quality of the user interface and the forced bundling of pay TV content, in our view. While Apple could almost certainly create a better user interface, Mr. Cue’s commentary suggested that this would be an incomplete solution from Apple’s perspective unless it could deliver content in a way that is different from the current multichannel pay TV model.
Unfortunately for Apple and for consumers, acquiring rights for traditional broadcast and cable network content outside of the current bundled model is virtually impossible because the content is owned by a relatively small group of companies that have little interest in alternative models for their most valuable content. The differences in regional broadcast content and the lack of scale internationally also create significant hurdles that do not seem possible to cross at this point.
Hargreaves’s note confirms that Apple is indeed working on its own set, but that it isn’t willing to just push out a product that is incomplete without those deals from the cable providers. And as we know from previous reports, Apple appears to be having a hard time trying to get those providers to play ball.
It’s been successful with record labels and carriers in the past, but it appears cable companies are a tougher nut to crack. Because of this, we’re likely to be waiting a long time yet for the Apple HDTV.
Editor’s Note: This post has been revised since it was first written to correct an erroneous assertion that it was Eddy Cue himself who said an Apple HDTV wouldn’t be coming. We apologize for the error.