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Apple’s fourth-generation set-top box, the $149 Apple TV, is launching next week and it won’t be just a hardware upgrade. For the first time since the Apple TV’s 2007 debut Apple is providing a software platform to enable third-party experiences on your big screen TV.

Discussing the sad state of the television industry and talking about how Apple can improve a “terrible, broken” process of watching television during the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D Live conference in Laguna Beach, California last night, Cook said that Apple’s new tvOS platform represents a “foundation” for the kinds of experiences his company aims to deliver to consumers.

On disrupting the TV watching experience

The new Apple TV is the “foundation” for a new kind of the TV watching experience, which has been “terrible” and “broken” thus far, in Cook’s own words.

The current “linear TV” experience “has to be brought up and modernized” he said. In reiterating that the future of television is apps, Cook underscored that Apple’s new fourth-generation Apple TV and the tvOS software platform both give providers such as HBO the tools to sell their content directly to consumers.

Asked if consumers would dig Apple TV apps considering they would supposedly be “hard to search,” Cook said, “Have you ever tried to buy HBO through a cable company?”

“The first thing that has to be done when you buy a house is lay the foundation,” he continued. “The starting gun has been fired.”

new apple tv content search

The new Apple TV features a universal search function allowing customers to use the power of their own voice to find content across a variety of built-in sources such as Netflix, iTunes, HBO and more. In addition, third-parties writing apps for the new Apple TV can make their own video content searchable across the system with dedicated APIs.

On iPhone S-upgrade cycle

Asked whether the Cupertino firm should consider abandoning its established S-upgrade cycle for iPhones to speed up innovation, Cook said the iPhone 6s has as many innovations as its predecessor, naming features like 3D Touch and more.

“We have a pressure to innovate every year” as customers themselves get to vote with their wallets each year, Cook quipped. As for the iPhone Upgrade Program, it’s meant to provide more choices to iPhone buyers rather than compete with carriers.

Other highlights from Cook’s WSJ.D Live talk:

  • Apple will be taking pre-orders for the new Apple TV beginning next Monday, with shipments beginning by the end of that week.
  • Apple Music has convinced approximately 6.5 million users to stay with the service as paying subscribers and currently has 8.5 million more customers on three-month trials
  • The health aspect of the Apple Watch “has a long product road map ahead” as sales of the wearable device have been accelerating since its April 2015 launch.
  • Cook sees software as becoming an increasingly important part of the car of the future, predicting “massive change” coming to autonomous driving.

On privacy, government and encryption

When the Wall Street Journal editor Gerry Baker challenged the 54-year-old CEO on the possibility of a government backdoor in its software, Cook reassured Apple won’t make trade-offs in customer experience to appease Uncle Sam.

“We are not making a trade-off with customer experience. Our view is that you can have both. We think encryption is a must in today’s world,” he said.

“No back door is a must. You can’t have a backdoor that’s only for the good guys. Any backdoor is a door bad guys can exploit. No one should have to decide privacy or security. We should be smart enough to do both.”

On social issues

Because “we’re a global company” and taking into account that “government isn’t working well” when it comes to education, the environment and human rights issues, Cook said Apple has “a responsibility to be a great global citizen.”

“Each generation struggles with treating people with basic, proper human respect. It’s so bizarre, I think. I’ve seen this growing up. I’ve seen in today. I’d love to help be able to push the ball over the line,” he said.

“Because I think the world would be so much a better place if we just treated people well and treated them with basic human respect. We want to give back. Our culture is to leave the world better than we found it,” concluded the Apple chief.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

  • jay

    apple watch? What is that. RIP Apple Watch

    • mav3rick

      “Did you ever take a look at the Apple Watch?”

      • jay

        big apple fan boy and bought one and brought it back. last week borrow the one from my buddy to check watch OS2. still not for me. like my pebble time a lot more.

  • George

    I’m sure apple can make TV better but stop with this bullshit of releasing a product that does nothing better than a $35 USB stick that goes behind your tv. Apple needs to actually revolutionize instead of saying that they are. The only game changing thing apple is known for is for the first iPhone.

    • Anonomous.TECH.man

      iPad, They also revolutionized the music industry. I see what your saying though that if Apple is the biggest and best tech company on earth it’s time their products start to show that.

      • George

        They did but yet they failed to deliver with apple music. A company that is known for design and has had the music market for years comes out with the worst user experience in aa music streaming service. Maybe hire less million dollar employees and more designers.

      • Greg Warren

        You’re judging a product that, while on the surface seems like a flop, is in fact only a few months old. I’ve been one of the biggest detractors (it completely destroyed my music library) but at the same time, I’ll withhold judgment over its success/failure for awhile longer.

      • Micrones

        FYI 6.5M does not account for people that forgot to cancel their subscription.
        Give it a month or two

      • George

        I’m judging it because I expect better. Music streaming services didnt come out months ago buddy. Apple has had years to come up with something. They freaking bought a company for 3bilion dollars to help them.

      • igorsky

        Any stats on how long it took Spotify to reach 6.5 million paid users? Not sure what you’re basing your “failure” analysis on.

      • Micrones

        6.5M does not account for the people that forgot to cancel their trial subscription
        Give it a month or two before we can rely on any sensible numbers
        Again comparing to Spotify does not really make sense as those were pioneers of the present streaming business model and the business terrain has not been static.
        Apple already has enough info on this business model and streaming technology to make the best of their situation.

      • George

        I’m sorry but did Spotify have over 300 million active users on their phones and forcefully change their music app to apple music? The fact that apple lost half its trial users and most likely another half of that forgot to cancel.

      • He’s talking about iPods and iTunes. They were revolutionary.

      • Ed

        I agree, I used the trial and went back to Spotify. I used to love the Music app on the iPhone but they turned it into a convoluted hot mess. The experience is terrible, they added a ton of unnecesary complicated crap and forgot about basic stuff along the way.

      • Rowan09

        Apple Music isn’t controlled by Apple isn’t mostly on content providers. I like Apple Music but I just can’t justify paying for it, just like Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, etc.

    • Micrones

      Agreed, Apple love hyperbole!! which is wearing quite thin actually as everyone is in on that hyperbole act too.
      Only the IPhone and nothing more and that is why it is the only product that dictates the fortune of Apple

      • igorsky

        HIghest selling smartphone in the industry, highest selling smartwatch in the industry, highest selling laptops in the industry, 6.5 million paid users within 3 months of Apple Music’s release, new and disrupting tv production on the horizon…yeah, it’s definitely wearing thin.

      • Me Ted

        Fitbit is absolutely destroying Apple’s watch in sales regardless of segment.

  • Chris Gilmore

    I would love to get an Apple TV, but I have Xfinity Comcast and just the smallest, basic box with no HDMI so I can’t run my cable through that (or my xbox one). Is there any way I can do this?

  • Merman123

    AppleTV is promising but I don’t know if it’s the game changer their making it out to be. It’s essentially a glorified current Apple TV with a slightly refreshed interface. The voice functionality is nothing exclusive to the Apple TV. I’ll be buying one for sure but I’m not expecting much from it other than it being more reliable than my current Apple TV. And at $149 I’m ok with that.

    • Micrones

      I will be upgrading mine as well and the only reason for buying is the hope that an app like Plex can be on it at some point.
      The new Apple TV adds nothing new to the experience frankly

      • Rowan09

        You can get plex for the iPhone and iPad so I don’t see why not.

    • igorsky

      Have you read about the Apple TV and what features it will have? Doesn’t like you did.

      • Merman123

        Of course. Extensively. I did mention I was buying it.

      • igorsky

        Apps are a huge differentiation from the previous Apple TV, not to mention the forthcoming subscription package.I think there’s a lot to be excited about.

      • Merman123

        I can’t think of any apps that I would want on my TV that my smart tv doesn’t already do well. The apps they demoed on the keynote were not compelling. Clothes shopping ? No thanks. Maybe someone can give me a better idea of what would be “game changing” apps ?

        The subscription would be interesting but it’s only a rumor at most right now. And if it plays out anything like Apple Music has for me, then I’m not excited about it.

      • Ed

        I think better apps will be coming soon, as now there is finally a tvOS

      • Merman123

        Hopefully. We’ve been hearing that for the watch for months , and frankly I lost hope.

  • There’s really nothing new on this device though. The interface is essentially the exact same clunky design as previously released. Siri integration means nothing when you can do all that from your phone or smart watch. Games? Seriously.. sorry but unless there’s actual exclusive content via only ATV4 it’s not going to matter. To be taken seriously you need a good driver character.. Nintendo has Mario, Xbox has Master Chief, Sony/Playstation has Spiderman and others.. the point is.. Unless Apple has their own Mario.. or nintendo allows a port of those games over.. ATV4 games really won’t matter much to the hardcore gamer. Not to mention it’s extremely hard to pull people away from systems they’ve grown with. So exclusive content will help, but again.. need a good driver.

    • QuarterSwede

      Apps. That’s what it’s all about. That’s the difference.

      • Not worth a 150.00 to use those. I can already use apps on my devices and have them show on my tv.

      • Ed

        We already had “phones” when the iPhone came along too.

      • Rowan09

        The Amazon Fire TV even though I love it has 8Gb only 5 usable for $100 and you don’t think $50 is worth it for 32Gb? According to what I’ve seen you can side load apps so that means you can play those Super Nintendo, N64, etc games as well.

      • QuarterSwede

        So can I but not having to pull out my phone or have it tied to the TV is a benefit. I would say the apps for TVOS will be great with innovative UI’s. It certainly has to be a better experience than the ROKU apps.

  • Dan

    Not really a game changer if you ask me. Nothing that can’t be attained with Kodi/Netflix.

  • Apple TV will be worse than cable. Who’s going to spend money for each app? Yeah tv is in bad shape right now but at least you get a lot more choices for your money, albeit not much on-demand material. The future I thought tv was heading was Netflix acquiring a lot more movies and tv shows and basically being the one stop shop for all my tv purposes. They have difficulty acquiring licenses though and don’t have much to offer me. They are doing well with their own official exclusive content however, which I think is a step in the right direction.

    • Micrones

      Cracking the TV problem is going to be quite interesting and i don’t think Apple has the solution if their launch of the new ATV is part of their proposed solution, bringing in a subscription cable service or licensing content is not the solution as people are work on cutting the cable. Apple’s concern is about creating a new revenue stream and not necessarily fixing the TV problem per say.

    • Rowan09

      Huh? Pay for every app who said that? Regardless they are working on licensing live tv just like every other streaming provider so I don’t see how it’s worst than cable at all.

      • I stated it very clearly. With apple TV you have to buy HBO, cbs, and all that individually. That pales in comparison to cable TV right now.

      • Rowan09

        Their streaming plans wasn’t yet revealed, but of course you have to pay for them it’s not Apple’s fault. USTVNOW charges as well for streaming tv channels and its cost $29.99 a month (for about 30 channels) which from what I remember is in the same ballpark as Apple. You can also purchase a high definition antenna to get a bunch of channels as well. Cable is horrible because they bundle everything and if you want to get rid of any you lose out.

  • mav3rick

    The same way it fixed a “terrible, broken’ process of” music streaming. Or watchin’ the time at wrist. Not at all.

    • Micrones

      LOL You are funny but so right…..
      Apple loves those hyperbole….

    • Micrones

      Our driving experience is terrible and broken indeed LOL
      Apple has the solution to fix it and as usual, John Ive will go about saying the auto industry is in trouble just as the watch industry was in trouble before the launch of the Apple watch lol

      • George

        Except it will be a first gen product and the car can explode and people will still say “but its only a first gen product what did you expect???”

      • mav3rick

        He’s gone, already talkin’ about fashion industry… Next design will be the iDress or iShoes.

  • Tko

    …here’s hoping it becomes jail broken and prices skyrocket to $300+ on ebay. lol

  • CryptoCoin420

    Well too bad Apple, I loved my jailbroken Apple TV II but with the lockdown of the software for the Apple TV 3 and not being able to upgrade the hardware from Apple TV II to 3, I ditched Apple TV and went with Amazon Fire TV. So much easier to deal with and I don’t even use the Apple TV for anything other than KODI (formerly known as XBMC) to stream tv shows and movies. With the Apple TV II it had only 256 MB of memory and that is just not enough for KODI. My Amazon Fire TV was only $99 dollars and have found that my Amazon Fire Stick for $25 each on sale (Regular price $39.99) is a much better deal. Plus you can side load android apps (I know, not a fan of Android, but the option is there if you want it, but KODI is enough for me at the moment with the 100’s of plugins to choose from.) Sorry Apple too slow on the DRAW.