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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

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Apple TV next gen premiere delayed
AFP
August 01, 2014
First Published: 10:11 IST(1/8/2014)
Last Updated: 10:21 IST(1/8/2014)

The launch of the eagerly awaited next generation of the company's set-top-box that allows consumers to cut the TV viewing cord, download film, watch TV on demand and access a host of apps might not go on sale until 2015 due to problems with US cable companies.

When the Apple TV was launched back in 2007, the company described it as a fun hobby, but over the years, as the way consumers watch television itself and access digital content has changed, the little ice hockey puck-sized box is becoming increasingly important.

During the company's April 23 quarterly earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the Apple TV was moving rapidly into the mainstream and had sold 20 million to date.

"The reason that I stripped off the 'hobby label' is that when you look at the sales of the Apple TV box itself and you look at content that was bought directly off the Apple TV, for 2013 that number was over a billion dollars," Cook said. "So it didn't feel right to me to call something that's over a billion a 'hobby.'"

To build on this momentum Apple has been developing a totally reimagined Apple TV complete with Siri-like voice commands, serious games console capabilities and motion detection and tracking features. And it had been tipped to launch in June.

However, according to a report in The Information, published Wednesday, the project has stalled due to disagreements between Apple and the cable companies that are going to partner with it to provide licensed content.

As the publication's story, based on unnamed sources including Apple engineers, notes: "Cable companies remain reluctant to leave an opening for Apple, which they fear could displace them as the brand that customers associate with television delivery."

If the stalemate remains, Apple won't be able to launch the device in time to capitalize upon the holiday season and so will push the launch back to 2015. And this is a big concern.

Speaking at the Code conference in May, Apple's SVP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, said: "Later this year, we've got the best product pipeline that I've seen in my 25 years at Apple."

But, as July turns to August, Apple is yet to reveal a killer new device or service, despite promises that 2014 was going to be one of the biggest years for innovation in the company's history.


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