Apple Considering Move into Original Programming?

Our friends over at Variety reported an exclusive today that Apple – home of the iPhone, iPad, and the soon-to-be-revamped Apple TV – is strongly considering a move into original programming. The article cites “sources” indicating Apple big-wigs have conducted multiple meetings with Hollywood execs over the past month or so to produce original content for AppleTV. The problem with the article is frustratingly light on details, even contradicting itself later with other “sources” indicating that Apple is simply “flirting” with the idea. Still, it’s a logical next step in the tech giant’s persistent evolution from its computer origins to what appears to be an intended domination of the public’s entertainment budget.

Whatever the outcome, the real winner here is undoubtedly Apple, who is set to announce their new suite of iPhones and, most importantly, what is rumored to be a vastly upgraded AppleTV set box on September 9. Rumor-based publicity has long proven to be catnip for those in the Cult of Apple.

It’s not an outrageous assumption that Apple would shift into an original content delivery model after watching rivals Netflix and Amazon make huge strides into the market with House of Cards and Transparent, respectively, among many other high-profile, Emmy-winning titles. With Apple’s all-but confirmed venture into providing a web-based TV series in early 2016, taking the next step into original programming seems like a no-brainer. Apple could easily justify the rumored $40 per month price tag for 25 channels by offering sought-after original programming. Again, it’s not a huge leap to see Apple heading in this direction, but there have been lots of items since Steve Jobs’s death in 2011 that Apple has apparently explored and abandoned – an iPhone-friendly DVR and an actual TV set but a few of the products rumored to be spinning around Cupertino’s development labs.

My take? The original content story is probably the real deal. Netflix and Amazon haven’t released ratings on their original series so it’s tricky to say, but they have to be making significant inroads into whittling away cable’s grip on television watchers. With Apple joining the fray by offering its own web-based TV service and potential original programming, it could catapult them into a competitive share of the entertainment market, rivaling Amazon and Netflix despite their sizable head start in the field.

The first step apparently comes September 9 when Apple announces the revamped AppleTV, rumored to run anywhere from $149 to $199. According to a series of articles over at Macrumors, the new AppleTV will include the option to install applications from its App Store whereas previously Apple controlled the installation of content on the device. It will also include its famed Siri assistant, home automation, and, importantly, a motion-sensitive remote control to facilitate channel surfing as well as introduce an easy-to-use gaming interface to allure casual gamers. The new device was reportedly scheduled for introduction at its WWDC event in early June, but it wasn’t ready for unveiling at the event. Although this was never confirmed, the early artwork for the event surely pointed to an AppleTV-like device deemed “the epicenter of change,” potentially positioning the AppleTV as the epicenter of home entertainment.

WWDC 2015


Whatever Apple decides to do with original programming, it will most certainly enter the web-based TV market in early 2016, assuming the major networks finally agree to their pricing structure. They’d better be careful too.

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