All last week the press was all a flutter about how Apple is talking to Comcast about building a new streaming service for TV is fascinating. There was serious debate about how Apple was supporting a two tiered internet and other matters connected to the product.
However the Atlantic said that Apple TV is vapourware even though everyone is talking about it.
The source of Apple TV was Steve Jobs' comment to biographer Walter Isaacson, made shortly before he died, that he'd "finally cracked" the secret to disrupting the cloistered TV market.
Jobs did not say what he cracked, but implied it was definitely broken now. What happened next was Apple fanboys, fleshed out his mysterious comment with their own fantasies. Gene Munster, the widely cited Apple analyst at Piper Jaffray, interviewed his own head and dreamed up a voice-activated "40 or 50-inch iPad" to debut "in late 2012 or early 2013".
It never happened. There was Apple TV that slings iTunes, Netflix, Hulu and other online services onto the big screen. Atlantic said it is clear that if any negotiations are happening with Comcast, then it is not clear what Comcast gets out it.
It would have to invest in new network equipment to make this partnership work, it would tempt net-neutrality restrictions by giving Apple preferential treatment along its pipes just as its Time Warner Cable acquisition faces accusations of a law-breaking monopoly. Then it would have to give Apple a share of its pay-TV profits in exchange for popularizing a device that is partially seen as a replacement for pay-TV.
Therefore, this deal is not happening either. So why is everyone talking about it? Because Apple realises that being talked about gives the impression of it being innovative and doing things, when it is really sitting on its hands and churning out the same iPhone and iPad combo without much in the way of innovation. Rumours like this give it the image that something is really happening when nothing is and the company is sliding.