Beck Diefenbach | Reuters
The new Apple TV is displayed during an Apple media event in San Francisco, September 9, 2015.
Apple has been associated with 34 different productions, according to a tally from Goldman Sachs, and we’ll get our first glimpses of that content on Monday. Apple has reportedly invited several Hollywood celebrities to attend the launch, including Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, and is shelling out a reported $1 billion per year on video content.
That content will be part of a new digital TV strategy, CNBC reported in October. Apple plans to mix its original shows, which it will provide for free, alongside subscription “channels” from services like HBO and Starz, which users could either purchase individually or subscribe to as a bundle for a discount.
This would be a significant reduction of Apple’s grand ambition over the past decade. In Issacson’s biography of Jobs, it sounded like Apple was going to build a magical television, instead of a marketplace for channels.
“I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,” Jobs told Issacson. “It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud,” and would have the “simplest user interface you could imagine.”
The prototype TV in Apple’s labs included an ultra-high-definition display, online videoconferencing cameras and a streaming TV service separate from cable.
The Apple TV rumors affected Apple stock. Carl Icahn wrote letters in 2015 saying that he was investing in the company because he expected Apple to release a new TV in the near future, but Apple had already shelved those plans, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Instead of an Apple television set, Apple’s TV service will stream on iPhones, iPads and the Apple TV set-top box. Apple has also shown that it’s willing to distribute video on third-party gadgets. In January, Apple partnered with Samsung to bring the iTunes video store to Samsung’s smart TVs, for example.