Those disappointed that the music event last week failed to update Apple’s all but forgotten set-top box, may find hope in the company’s move to lower the price of the 160GB Apple TV by $100, to $229.
That new price for the 160GB model was the old price for the 40GB model, which is no more, and that is cause for speculation in itself.
At the beginning of the month, AppleInsider reported Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster noting long wait times for the 40GB model, resulting in predictions of a minor upgrade at the then rumored Apple event. That would be followed by a major upgrade of the Apple TV later this year, one that might include DVR capabilities. That first prediction proved to be incorrect, and, unfortunately, DVR capabilities will not be coming to the Apple TV, either.
Again via AppleInsider, Caris & Company analyst Robert Cihra put an end to the DVR speculation about a week later at a meeting with Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer. At that meeting, Oppenheimer said plainly that the DVR concept “just doesn’t fit Apple’s business.” Sadly, that business to date has been forcing the Apple TV into the role of an iTunes Store kiosk in the living room.
So, whither Apple TV? The price cut/storage bump provides a glimmer of hope, assuming the change is not a final, indifferent attempt to stimulate lagging sales, but let’s pretend it’s not. Clearly, the future of content consumption in the living room will be streaming. If the Apple TV is to survive, Apple needs to acknowledge this in a big way, creating “channels” in the software for the major players: Netflix, Hulu, even Amazon Video on Demand. Sure, that will impact iTunes rentals and video sales, but not as much as a failed product that ends up being canceled.