Apple reportedly backed off their iTV platform last year when the company failed to ink deals with content owners to create an app-based cable system that streamed over the Internet. Like Intel, no matter who was making the calls, the networks were simply unwilling to bite the hand that feeds them on risky new ventures.
The new system, decidedly less ambitious, takes a more traditional approach of partnering with cable providers to provide content, possibly by offering AppleTV as a cable box that would run their apps, and offering access to specialized programming depending on who your provider is. MacRumors explains:
In the current discussions, which involve at least two big media companies, Apple envisages working with cable companies, rather than competing against them, the people said. For programming, it would rely on cable providers to acquire programming rights from media companies, rather than acquire them on its own, the people said. Apple might consider seeking some rights directly in the future, one of the people said.
Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the same lesson Microsoft learned about 6-7 years ago when they tried to set up IP cable on the Xbox 360. Microsoft has spent the time since then kissing up to cable, forming partnerships, and their new Xbox One console will likely be being offered with subscriptions as early as this summer. Reportedly, Time Warner was deep in negotiations with Apple to offer their existing console apps on the system, but that may be nixed by today’s likely announcement that Comcast will be purchasing the cable provider. Comcast, through NBC Universal, has a longstanding partnership with Microsoft (it’s rumored that their new Xfinity voice and gesture control are based on Kinect), so such a deal may be killed in the cradle, at least when it comes to promotional bundling and exclusive features.
Bloomberg News said that “Apple is planning to introduce a new Apple TV set-top box as early as April.”