Apple is apparently considering new avenues for how to spread the reach of its upcoming original content TV show service, via The Information. The report says Apple is toying with the idea of making a cheap TV dongle similar to the Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV Stick.
If it went through with the idea, it would represent a pretty big shakeup to its set-top TV offerings, as its current Apple TV lineup is anything but ‘low-cost’.
Apple introduced the tvOS based Apple TV in 2015 for $149. In 2017, it released the Apple TV 4K. Rather than dropping the price of the previous generation, it simply added the 4K Apple TV above it at $179 and kept the aging 2015 model around at the exact same price point.
The mini smart TV dongle market is the polar opposite of that, with prices generally in the low double digits. The Apple TV’s Siri Remote alone costs more than most of these dongles, in fact.
These TV dongles and sticks provide a more basic experience than what tvOS can offer with its powerful A10X processor and rich App Store, at least in theory, but offer the necessary access to TV streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Netflix and more.
Of course, Apple would surely be selling its less-expensive Apple TV stick product with the assumption that users will sign up to its forthcoming TV subscription service, which will feature a wide variety of original content television shows. It is widely believed that the new streaming service will only be available on Apple devices; be it iPhones, iPads, Macs, or Apple TV. This is unlike Apple Music which is also available on Android. Interestingly, The Information says that original Apple shows will be free on the service.
Of course, Apple ‘considers’ a lot of different projects and The Information does not confirm that the idea will ultimately bear fruit into a user product. It is interesting though that Apple is open to such shifts in its hardware product range to accommodate its burgeoning Services business.
The new TV service is expected to launch sometime in 2019 with a bevy of shows, featuring top-billing stars like Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell.