An Apple TV update is rolling out today. But this device update isn’t the news. Sure, streaming purchased TV shows to the device is a welcomed, but not really novel idea. Now, post update, users will have the choice to either buy or rent a TV show and stream it to their Apple TV. Great. But this update turns Apple’s little hobby into a full-fledged money-making machine.
The Apple TV is a sort of Trojan Horse. At only $99, Apple (AAPL) diehards and general consumers alike have been buying up the streamer in mass since it debuted. But it’s always felt, well, like Apple said, a hobby device or rather a side-project with an incomplete feature set and gimped media offering. Up until AirPlay, the Apple TV felt a bit like a suckers device, a high-margin product designed to draw out a few more dollars from Apple buyers.
Not any more. The Apple TV is now the living room division of what’s sure to be a huge offensive by Apple. TV episodes bought on any device now are now accessible on other Apple devices and vice versa. Spend $2.99 to buy an episode of Community and it’s available on your iPhone, iPad, Mac and now Apple TV. Don’t underestimate Apple’s reach now. TV shows are likely only the beginning. This cloud streaming storage method will likely work with movies as well — as long as the movie studios play ball.
Apple has long relied on iTunes for local content delivery. Plug in your iPod and your media library was synced to the the device. But this requires local storage, which is slow, expensive and not very flexible. Once Apple puts video content in the cloud, a device’s local storage is left to just handle the trivial task of storing music and photos.
The update seems to be only for the US market right now. Other markets are likely on tap for the coming days and/or weeks.
The Apple TV is no longer a hobby, for Steve & Co.. It’s now a made man of the iTunes cartel. Apple has always made it easy for its users to spend money. Forget renting a TV show, Apple wants users to spend three times as much, but have access to it forever on all of their Apple devices. Sounds like a fair deal to me.