Apple released a new Apple TV set-top box this year, but what it’s actually prepping is a branded, connected TV set, according to the rumors. And a new report from Reuters goes toward corroborating earlier reports, claiming that Apple is in talks to stream content to its new TVs.
The report claims that Apple entered talks with EPIX to stream video to its sets, as well as other devices, according to a pair of unnamed sources. EPIX is backed by three studios: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, MGM and Viacom's Paramount Pictures. Already, users are able to stream content from Major League Baseball and Netflix onto its Apple TV boxes and mobile devices, so a deal with EPIX would further increase Apple’s catalog as it gets ready to launch a new TV.
Here’s a quote from Reuters’ story:
“One of the sources told Reuters that any discussions would apply to its set-top box and also to upcoming devices that stream content. Apple is widely expected to unveil a full-fledged TV product later this year or in early 2013 to drive its next phase of growth and potentially revolutionize the industry.”
But the talks, apparently, are still in early stages, Reuters says, and there won’t be an agreement between Apple and EPIX anytime soon. Apple itself called the news “speculation” and refused to comment on it.
As Ars Technica reports, rumors of a full-fledged TV from Apple have been swirling for quite a while, and Steve Jobs was considering such a device back when he was CEO of the company. The idea behind the set would be a lot like what’s available in the current Apple TV set-top box – an iOS-powered, iCloud-integrated experience that allows users to stream content they own from the iTunes ecosystem to their TVs.
Meanwhile, PC World has a story citing Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley, who predicts Apple will launch its TV set this fall, alongside the company’s next iPhone release. He cited information from Apple’s supply chain for the assessment.
“Following our supply chain checks, we have increased confidence Apple will launch a 50-plus inch LCD-TV,” said Walkley. He also said he thinks the TV set will be available before the end of the year. Other rumors about the TV include built-in Siri support and potentially motion control support, which would basically give the Apple TV set the same functional capabilities as Microsoft’s Kinect motion controller for the Xbox 360.
But Walkley’s analysis is at odds, at least somewhat, with Reuters’ report about Apple coming to a deal with EPIX, since no deal is expected before September, the approximate, expected announcement for the next iPhone. So that would mean that Apple might have to announce, or even launch, without all the streaming support it’s hoping to procure, or hold back the device until all the deals are in place.
Apple made sure to secure deals with the Big Three music publishers before it launched iCloud, so it seems likely that it would make sure to have as much support as possible before bringing the TV set to market. And that’s if Apple ever really does announce such a device, which remains to be seen.