Did Tim Cook Tip Us Off to What Apple TV Will Be?
You're getting peppered today with excerpts from powwows Cook gave to NBC's Brian Williams and BloombergBusinessWeek. Both worthy pieces, no doubt, but other than news that's two days old , there's not a whole heck of a lot to chew on.
As an unabashed Steve Jobs cheerleader, an Apple without the great one still worries me long term (just like the Oilers without Wayne Gretzky). However, Tim Cook can pack a punch. He continues to show that more and more.
He proves this by saying so much at the same time as saying nothing at all.
For instance, on the prospects of an Apple TV , Cook came with the standard "it's an intense area of interest" talking point, but he also said:
When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years.
I don't think he was talking about his wood-panelled walls and shag carpeting.
Cook told Williams he couldn't say anymore, but, if you read between the lines, he said a lot.
It's all about the user experience. That "back in time" quote focuses on what Apple does best -- creating beautiful products and the most intuitive and enjoyable user experience out there.
Cook's words make me think we're going to see some sort of device completely detached from programming other than the fact that you'll watch programming on it. In other words, the rumors that Apple is interested in all of this expensive programming -- from sports to movies -- probably have no merit.
It's not in Apple's purview to get into the cable business or the content ownership business. It can integrate what it already has via iTunes into its television platform, but it makes no sense for the company to get deeper into that mess.
Plus, it probably can't get deeper even if it wanted to. It doesn't make sense that Apple is holding itself up in intense negotiations with programmers. What are they negotiating for? Sloppy seconds to programming companies such as News Corp (NWSA) and Time Warner (TWX) pay billions of dollars for?
Do you really think Major League Baseball would go for Fox cutting some sort of sideline exclusive deal with Apple? It's not contractually or even logistically possible. Plus, Apple already has access to so much of this prime programming, such as MLB Extra Innings via its Apple TV set top box.
Certainly, if Apple can somehow score NFL Sunday Ticket or something, it will. However, that's not the focus. It cannot be the focus. It better not be.