Rumours of a new TV set from Apple continue to grow, and US blogs and commentators are giddy with talk of a ‘game changing’ intervention that will ‘destroy’ the cable business.
I’m sure it could, in America. But what, if anything, could Apple bring to the UK TV market?
As I’ve remarked before, the existing Apple TV set top box is the most disappointing Apple purchase I’ve made, largely because Apple have refused to localise the box to provide UK-specific services and rolling out useful features to the UK has taken ages.
Hell, it’s not even bothered to correct the spelling of ‘theatre’ in the menus!
So how would a device designed to take on the US cable giants fare in a country where cable is a minority product and where multi-channel free TV services more than hold their own against Sky, the biggest pay-TV provider?
One suggestion I’ve heard is the ability to allow you to pay only for what you want to watch.
Which doesn’t mean Apple can’t also offer this service, just that it’s not going to be the radical departure from the norm that the more excited commentary predicts.
And what about the basic features UK TV viewers expect from their TVs?
Will Apple include a Freeview tuner in their set?
Would people buy an internet-enabled TV which lacked the UK’s free catch-up services – iPlayer, Demand 5, 4oD and ITVPlayer? Without these, the Apple TV would lag behind fairly cheap Blu-ray players and games consoles.
And if Apple did add catch-up services, could it bring itself to play by the BBC’s fairly strict rules controlling the look and implementation of the iPlayer and BBC content?
Few, if any, of these points have been addressed in the acres of coverage and speculation surrounding the rumoured new device but, if Apple hope to sell more than a few sets here in the UK, they will need to have answers and solutions to them.
However, going by their current offering, there’s nothing to suggest Apple ‘gets’ the TV industry outside of of the US or that that’s going to change anytime soon.