Apple’s subscription television service reaffirmed to remain on hold ahead of September 9 event

Apple TV Air Remote (Martin Hajek 004)

A next-generation Apple TV hardware with Siri voice control, a revamped remote and a dedicated App Store is expected to launch alongside new iPhones and iPads at the September 9 media event at San Francisco’s gigantic Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

But don’t expect a rumored subscription television service to go live anytime soon.

A report Friday by Jessica Lessin of The Information contends that content makers are not down with a monthly subscription fee Apple reportedly wants to charge consumers for streaming live television and premium channels to their devices.

Getting the economics to work

“The long, long, long-rumored television service remains delayed because Apple still can’t get the economics to work, people who have talked to the company about it have told me,” Lessin wrote.

Apple is widely believed to target a $40 per month subscription fee for the basic iTunes television service. The basic package was previously reported as offering at least a dozen premium channels from well-known broadcasters and networks such as CBS, Fox and NBC.

By comparison, cable companies typically charge twice as much, or more, to serve hundreds of channels that most consumers will never watch anyway.

“There’s still a big gap between the price media companies want for their TV channels and the roughly $40 a month Apple wants to charge consumers,” she wrote.

“Something has to give.”

The rest of Lessin’s report mentions that in the absence of a subscription service Apple will highlight other Apple TV features like security and HomeKit integration, adding that users’ HomeKit data will be stored on the Apple TV itself and not in the cloud.

Infrastructure woes

Apple’s TV plans face another major hurdle: infrastructure.

Were consumers to pay a monthly fee to stream their entertainment through iTunes, Apple’s servers better be ready for major traffic spikes as high-definition video streams start flowing to consumers.

The Cupertino firm currently operates huge data centers in California, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon and is though to be building new facilities around the world to support a high-quality, Internet-only television service on a mass scale.

Apple has been building a proprietary content delivery network as well, to speed up downloads and streaming video. For the time being, it uses Akamai and Level 3 services to distribute apps, video and other iTunes downloads.

Way cooler than cable

A next-generation Apple TV set-top box promises to be way cooler than cable.

It should be slimmer and smaller than its predecessor, a lot faster thanks to the use of Apple’s speedy A8 chip, allow downloadable third-party apps and games and include Siri voice control and a redesigned remote with touchpad.

Speaking of which, TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino learned today that the new remote will incorporate Nintedo Wii-like sensors for motion control in games. The new Apple TV hardware will “blow away the types of junky smart TV interfaces we’ve had to deal with so far,” he added.

In addition to motion sensors and touch-sensitive area, the remote is said to have at least two physical buttons and a microphone, likely for Siri voice commands.

Source: The Information