I’m a daily Apple TV user, and that fact apparently puts me in the minority: even when the Apple TV’s price dropped to nearly iPod shuffle levels, it didn’t take off like Apple’s iPads or iPhones. From what I’ve gathered, many people think the little black box can’t do much. And it’s amazing to me that most people can’t describe what the Apple TV can do, even though it’s been available for years.
Adding an App Store to the Apple TV — a place to download games, new channels, and apps — has seemed for years like a no-brainer for everyone… except Apple. Blame the hardware, the software, or protracted negotiations with potential partners, but after years of waiting, it just hasn’t happened. Calling this a missed opportunity would be an understatement: video games alone generate tens of billions of dollars of revenue annually, and well over half of them are now sold digitally. Thankfully, 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman reports, Apple will finally bring both iOS 9 and an App Store to the Apple TV this year.
The big question on my mind is how Apple plans to monetize the new Apple TV, particularly given its potential as a gaming console. Prior-generation Apple TVs failed to thrive at $99 (or even $69) price points, which is the same range where Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Ouya and others have struggled to match the market share of PlayStations, Wiis, and Xboxes. Moreover, Apple’s customers have shown little interest in paying ridiculous prices for iOS game controllers, so the hardware upside appears to be somewhat limited for Apple. There is, of course, a logical solution: Apple should accept the lessons it has learned about Apple TV and game accessory pricing, compensating for relatively low hardware profits by selling massive quantities of affordable software…
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