We noted on Thursday that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is losing market share in the streaming media player market. Apple claims less than half the market share of leader Roku and trails second-place Amazon by nine points and Google’s share by three points.
The Cupertino company will be playing catch up at its September launch party with an upgraded 4K version of its Apple TV set-top box. Bloomberg News reported that the new box will also be able to play content for TVs able to play HDR video.
At Apple’s June developer conference, CEO Tim Cook promised more news related to tvOS, the operating system for the set-top box. Apple TV is also scheduled to begin supporting Amazon Prime video later this year.
Some may say it’s about time Apple did something with Apple TV, which last got an upgrade in 2015. Apple released a new TV app last year.
But will the company release a product that competes with Roku’s Premiere+ HD, 4K, HDR player that lists for $89.99? The current version of the Apple TV sells for $149 at Apple’s online store.
The other gotcha here is that consumers need a 4K TV and the content must be tailored for 4K transmission. HDR content requires HDR-compatible content and an HDR-compatible TV. All of this costs extra, and if Apple prices its new box much above Roku’s, only committed Apple fans are likely to buy.
After all 4K is 4K the same on every device, and so is HDR. Why pay more than necessary?
Apple seems to be tinkering around the edges of TV. It recently committed $1 billion for new content, far less than either Amazon or Netflix. Will that new content be compelling enough to lure consumers to Apple’s TV ecosystem? If not, it didn’t cost much; if so, what will Apple do next? That’s the interesting question.