A flavour of the Apple reaction:
Charlie Wolf, Needham (via AP): Rampant speculation on Mac-fanatic sites meant investors anticipated the announcement and shares edged up only slightly. Wolf praised the improvements to iTunes, saying that the software was the secret of Apple’s success in music downloads and would be the biggest barrier to rivals.
Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray (via AP): Movies are a “new leg” for Apple: “We consider the living room as one of the key, untapped consumer electronics markets. While the impact to numbers won’t start until the March quarter of 2007, we consider the move into the living room as significant, given it represents Apple’s third major addressable market.”
Michael Gartenberg, JupiterResearch (via ABC News): Apple’s offering will be hard for others to match. “Don’t look at the initial selection as meaning all that much. When the music store opened, it barely had 200,000 songs. When they added TV shows last year, it started with just a handful of ABC shows. We believe that Apple will have greater success than other players have had here.”
Ted Schadler, Forrester (via Boston.com): Most people just want to watch a movie once; he was surprised Apple didn’t announce a rental option or a DVD burning facility in iTunes. But he does think iTV will work: “When Apple gets into a market, they do it right. It looks like they’ve got the pieces put together pretty nicely here.”
Rob Enderle, Enderle Group (via Boston.com): Apple will be at a disadvantage by not having the iPod for “the critical fourth quarter”. He also said iPods may be approaching market saturation point and said the iTV isn’t going to drive consumers back.
Ian Fogg, Jupiter (via BBC): Although the movie downloads market is much more competitive, Apple was a late entrant to the music store/MP3 market too. He said the pre-announcement was a sign of Apple acknowledging the brevity of the challenge it faces, wanting to get the buzz going. Ovum’s Aleksandra Bosnjak said: “There are too many players and too many contractual co-dependencies for all to survive.”
Stephen Baker, NPD Group (via Chicago Tribune): It’s hard to see how iTunes’ movie downloads will be very popular to start with given lengthy download times for many users and a 2.5″ screen. “Until better bandwidth availability and more cooperation from other studios comes along, it’s really heard to see this being a very popular offering.”
Victor Keegan, Guardian Technology: The tech editor thinks Apple’s reign is over. “If all that Mr Jobs can rustle up to start off with is less than a hundred films all related to Disney, of which he is the biggest single shareholder, then there is still a lot to play for in what is becoming an increasingly crowded market place.” Keegan’s not the only one to point out that the iTV brand can’t stick in the UK (it’s one of our main terrestrial TV channels), which is an inauspicious start, but he also questions why we need an intermediary to get movies to our TV sets. “This time Apple is leading from the rear. Shareholders may have to console themselves with the fact that Apple is now a much more balanced company than it used to be.”
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.