The Apple Television has reached mythical proportions, representing the tech world’s version of the unicorn – said to be full of magic and wonder, yet no one (at least outside the walls of Apple) has claimed to have actually seen one.
Count Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries among the non-believers. “I don’t think Apple is going to build a TV,” he said Tuesday at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York, according to Bloomberg. Apple, he went on, is talking to cable operators about revamping the video user interface, the report added.
For now, Apple appears to be more interested in linking its Apple TV platform to iTunes and third-party over-the-top video services while also playing nice with the pay-TV providers by supporting an expanding group of authenticated TV Everywhere apps such as HBO Go, Watch ESPN, Watch Disney and Watch Disney XD.
Bloomberg reported in July that Apple was “nearing” a deal with Time Warner Cable, an operator that has been particularly aggressive with the development and deployment of TV Everywhere apps for mobile devices, smart TVs and gaming consoles. So that sort of thing seems to fit well with Apple's recent strategy for the big screen.
But Fries' quite educated opinion certainly pours some cold water on earlier speculation that Apple would go through the pain of building a TV and then taking on the daunting task of selling it in a hyper-competitive market that is scratching and clawing for growth. Of course, building a software and app distribution platform that is integrated with a wide variety of televisions is something else entirely, as that's a market already being pursued aggressively by the likes of Google and Roku.