Apple is unlikely to announce a new TV product this year, according to an insider familiar with the company's activities, because cable companies are still posing a major challenge. While Apple engaged in serious negotiations with leaders of the music and mobile industries for the launches of the iPod and iPhone, the television and media industry seems unlikely to yield any ground to the company's plans for a totally new way to experience TV.
It's not for lack of trying. According to a report by Bloomberg, Apple has been reaching out to cable and TV companies since it started work on the Apple TV, the brand's only television-related product. In the next step, Apple's engineers are working on a device that would let viewers both stream online content and watch live shows. But blending live programming will require the cooperation of the TV industry.
The sticking point has been ownership of the user interface, with most cable companies not willing to relinquish their control over how viewers watch and search for content. Apple had previous unsuccessful talks with Comcast and CBS that broke down because of user interface arguments.
It's a similar battle to the one TiVo had to fight in order to give viewers the ability to record shows. "You need an approach where your role in the business aligns with the operator, rather than a strategy where you're looking to insert your brand in a way that diminishes the perception of value of what the operator brings to the table," TiVo CEO Tom Rogers said. In other words, for Apple to succeed, it will probably need to find a middle ground that would help show off what the cable companies sell rather than potentially overshadowing their products.
[Image credit: Rob Boudon]
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