Apple’s latest event was missing 1 big thing

October 17, 2014

The latest Apple (AAPL) event, coming little more than a month after it’s much-hyped iPhone 6 blowout, is over. Many of the products revealed, or updated realy, were pretty much what was expected (a highly unusual product leak of the newer iPads killed any element of surprise).

apple-tim-cook-ipad-airOf note, Apple unveiled the world’s thinnest iPad, the iPad Air 2, as well as an updated iPad mini. Another anticipated product update was the long-awaited Retina display iMac, starting at not-insignificant $2,499. There were some grumblings that a standalone 5K retina monitor was not available for Mac Pro users hungry for a display to showcase the desktop’s horsepower.

But one update was missing, and it’s kind of a big one: Apple TV. Famously dubbed a ‘hobby’ by Steve Jobs himself, Apple TV has become something of a mainstay for those connected households that are growing everyday. It’s predicted that over half of all U.S. households with internet access will be using ‘connected’ TVs.

Indeed, the last time Tim Cook and Co. updated the Apple TV was over two years ago. For all intents and purposes the product is working fine. But the promise of the product could be so much more.

Netflix (NFLX), although getting annihilated┬átoday by investors, isn’t going anywhere. It will continue to invest heavily in content, including originals, and the company still grew subscribers despite a price hike. HBO made the internet collectively cry with joy by announcing a standalone HBO Go offering that will be available in 2015. Since both Netflix and HBO Go apps are available on Apple TV, presumably the current generation Apple TV will still be able to capitalize on the popularity of both services.Apple_TV_2nd_Generation

But what of Apple TV itself? Where’s the much rumored product update that would incorporate Siri Voice search for content? (Typing in titles and actors is just so tedious.) What about new content offerings from Apple – i.e., subscription VOD, or even a blockbuster exclusive deal for something like an NFL Sunday Ticket, or streaming of NBA games? Any of these could push the product over the top into another stratosphere of consumer desire. Even a merging of Apple TV with the Airport Express (which I own and love), making the streaming experience that much better would launch sales of the product.

Obviously internet TV is here to stay. CBS (CBS) just announced that will offer live programming and some VOD online for $5.99 (I won’t address the fact that CBS is already free over the air). We know Apple’s been trying for an over-the-top cable product for some time now, but with little success from content owners. Be that as it may, Apple missed an opportunity here to really push the needle on the current Apple TV, a ‘hobby’ that most people (including big media cos.) are taking quite seriously.

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