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Apple has abandoned its plans for a low-cost Apple TV dongle and is set to significantly accelerate and expand the output of new content on Apple TV+ next year, according to The Information.

Apple-TV-Stick-vs-Box-Feature.jpg

Sources said to be familiar with Apple's plans speaking to The Information have apparently revealed many of the company's internal discussions and attitudes around Apple TV+ in detail. The company allegedly sees Apple TV+ as a standalone business rather than a mechanism to encourage users to buy into the Apple ecosystem.

The Information reported in 2018 that Apple was working on a low-cost TV dongle device as a more inexpensive alternative to the Apple TV, which starts at $149. The project was driven by Tim Twerdahl, an Apple video and audio marketing executive, who argued that a low-cost TV device would make it more affordable for users to access Apple TV+ based on his experience overseeing similar projects at Netflix and Amazon.

Greg Joswiak and Phil Schiller reportedly overruled Twerdahl, insisting that Apple should not begin making cheap, low-margin devices due to its potential to damage its reputation for premium products, meaning that Twerdahl's low-cost TV device project was abandoned. Twerdahl is said to have recently left the company.

Apple decided that an appropriate middle-ground solution would be to develop apps for Apple TV+ on other platforms, such as devices from Samsung, Roku, Amazon, Sony, and Microsoft, which aligned with earlier concerns among executives, including Eddy Cue, that Apple TV+ would need to be available on a wide range of devices, including non-Apple ones.

Executives are said to have debated putting the Apple brand on another company's device for over a year, ahead of Apple reaching an agreement for a dedicated Apple TV+ button on the Roku remote control. Apple has apparently discussed similar arrangements with at least one other TV manufacturer, but there are no imminent plans for another dedicated button.

The report explained that Apple intends to increase the amount of regular new content on Apple TV+ in 2022, with at least one new item added per week, at more than double the pace of new content in 2021.

Despite Apple's willingness to pay a premium for Apple TV+ content, the company apparently refuses to cover budget overruns, insisting that studio partners pay for any additional costs.

Some studio executives have apparently felt frustrated with Apple's lack of willingness to market shows aggressively before they come out, treating the debut of new shows like hardware products. The company is also said to share little detail with studio partners about the objectives of marketing campaigns, and whether they are aiming to advertise to acquire subscribers or raise awareness of an individual show.

Apple TV+ is also set to benefit from more than $500 million in marketing this year. The company is believed to have spent significantly less than this on marketing in 2020. Netflix, by comparison, spent $1.1 billion on marketing during the first half of 2021 alone. Apple has also reportedly told advertising partners that it will not buy campaigns for Apple TV+ titles on Facebook or Instagram.

It was estimated that by the end of 2020, Apple TV+ had around 40 million subscribers. These numbers are roughly the same as of this summer, according to an individual said to have knowledge of Apple's subscriber figures. Approximately half of Apple TV+ subscribers are now paying for the service, with the other half still using a free trial period.

Other tidbits from the report include the fact that Apple has endeavored to protect its brand within Apple TV+ shows, insisting that the unlikeable character of "Jo" in "Mythic Quest" was not seen using Apple devices during the show's second season.

For more details, see The Information's full report.

Article Link: Apple Abandoned Low-Cost TV Dongle Plans, but Looking to Double New Apple TV+ Content Rate in 2022
 
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oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,775
13,403
The issue is Apple, Google, Amazon, and Roku are not really competing in the same markets.

Amazon and Google sell loss-leaders because their actual customers are advertisers, and the product they are selling is user engagement. They have no need or intention of making a profit on the hardware.

Apple is selling the best possible hardware and software experience. They need to make a profit on each unit sold, and on any transactions that occur on the device. They're not making any money on the side elsewhere.

Roku a hybrid of both approaches. They are trying to make a profit on the hardware, but they also have an advertisement network.

I don't know how Apple or anyone else can overcome these desperate approaches. It sucks for the consumers.
 

dguisinger

macrumors 65816
Jul 25, 2002
1,062
2,090
Overruled because they want to make $120 on a $150 device.... frickin executive fools like shooting themselves in the foot. Most people who even know about AppleTV+ assume you need AppleTV or an iPhone/iPad to even access it, its brain dead that they haven't found a way to clear that up, or capitalize on that by selling a cheaper dongle that can compete with the market that the AppleTV itself has trouble competing in.

Honestly, I don't think they need to create a cheaper version to begin with.
We've all seen the BOM on these devices are tiny, they always use previous generation iPhone chips and have none of the screen, cameras, and batteries. Just cut the dang price and get it into more peoples hands.

I wonder at what point all these stupid decisions will make them cut their losses with TV+.... I mean, sure they can subsidize these big budget productions for as long as they want....but they have shareholders, they won't.

They need more subscribers. They need better marketing. They need cheaper "gateway drugs" aka a dongle.
 

chucker23n1

macrumors 604
Dec 7, 2014
7,140
9,222
It just doesn't make any sense for Apple to enter that market. Their choice to let companies like Roku offer the Apple TV app instead is a better compromise.
 

dr_lha

macrumors 68000
Oct 8, 2003
1,626
129
Biggest issue with AppleTV (the hardware) is that you can't get non-Smart TVs any more, which means AppleTV is always hidden behind an option in a crappy smart TV interface on power-up. Makes me wish that Apple would just make their own TV. Otherwise, I'm clinging to my "dumb" TV for dear life.
 

Maconplasma

Cancelled
Sep 15, 2020
2,489
2,212
What a shame to hear that a dongle was abandoned. I would have bought several of those devices if AirPlay was a feature. The ability to turn any TV into a wireless display with a small unit would have been incredibly useful!!
Roku works great. They make low cost dongles as well as the set top version. They all have AppleTV+ and do Airplay. I play my Apple Music through my Mac, iPhone and iPad wirelessly to my TV’s.
 

sub150

macrumors 6502
Aug 7, 2018
268
427
They need to make a profit on each unit sold, and on any transactions that occur on the device. They're not making any money on the side elsewhere.

They don't need to make a profit on each unit sold because they make plenty of money on services now. In fact, a cheap Apple TV dongle that delivered a great UX may bring more people in to the Apple ecosystem.

I remained befuddled by this decision to let Roku and other extreme anti-privacy devices (mainly the "smart tv's" themselves) rule the "TV OS" ecosystem.

Apple is committed to privacy, but only if it meets their profit margin requirement. Can't have their profit margin falling half a 0.5% point if they sell 10M dongles at $75 each.
 

Maconplasma

Cancelled
Sep 15, 2020
2,489
2,212
Biggest issue with AppleTV (the hardware) is that you can't get non-Smart TVs any more, which means AppleTV is always hidden behind an option in a crappy smart TV interface on power-up. Makes me wish that Apple would just make their own TV. Otherwise, I'm clinging to my "dumb" TV for dear life.
I mentioned this another member. The Roku has a great UI and AppleTV+ and Airplay. Apple is doing the right thing and no longer forcing customers to buy an AppleTV just get AirPlay and AppleTV movies/shows.
 

dguisinger

macrumors 65816
Jul 25, 2002
1,062
2,090
They don't need to make a profit on each unit sold because they make plenty of money on services now. In fact, a cheap Apple TV dongle that delivered a great UX may bring more people in to the Apple ecosystem.

I remained befuddled by this decision to let Roku and other extreme anti-privacy devices (mainly the "smart tv's" themselves) rule the "TV OS" ecosystem.

Apple is committed to privacy, but only if it meets their profit margin requirement. Can't have their profit margin falling half a 0.5% point if they sell 10M dongles at $75 each.
You didn't really think Apple cares about your privacy did you?
 
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