Apple Event: Top CE Takeaways

by Kristen Hanich | Mar. 25, 2019

Over the past few years, Apple has been pivoting from devices to services. This has particularly been the case this year; normally the company announces hardware during its Apple events, but rather than talk about its new AirPods or the iPad lineup refresh, in its March 25th event Apple announced a slew of new services around news, payments, gaming, and TV. These announcements have a few interesting implications for the CE ecosystem as a whole.

Breaking out of the walled garden

One of the most interesting things of note from the event is how Apple continues to break outside of its walled ecosystem to offer its new services. Recently we've seen Apple Music launch on Echo smart speakers, and Apple and Samsung announced that iTunes would be coming to Samsung smart TVs.

Now the Apple TV app is launching not just on smart TVs—from Samsung, Sony, LG, and Vizio—but on streaming media players from Roku and Amazon. Roku and AmazonApple's direct competitors in the streaming media player space.

The takeaway from this is that using the Apple TV app to sell the Apple TV box is less important to Apple than getting its content to as many users as possible. It's a refreshing change for a company once known for selling its services with the sole purpose of getting people to buy its devices.

An entry into the game console space?

In addition to its TV app announcements, Apple announced a new game subscription service. Users will be able to subscribe and gain access to 100+ games across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV with no ads or in-app purchases.

While others in the game space are announcing streaming game services, Apple is embracing app downloads and on-device processing. This makes sense because Apple is already a leader in mobile gaming and knows how people use their devices today. However, there's a bit of a question mark around the Apple TV – while the Apple TV today allows users to download and play games, the Apple TV 4K has less storage and processing power than the Mac or even a large percentage of iPhones. This presents problems – less storage means gamers can't download as many games, less processing power means worse performance and lower quality graphics.

Gamers have high expectations for the living room. If Apple is truly targeting a living room experience with its new Apple Arcade service, wouldn't it make sense to offer a compelling experience with Apple TV? Well, as a matter of fact, the most recent Apple TV model, the Apple TV 4K, was released in 2017 and is due for a refresh this year. With no new compelling video technology on the horizon to lure users into upgrading, it seems that gaming should be the main selling point.

Expect to see a new Apple TV launch this fall alongside the Apple Arcade service, with more storage, a more powerful processor, and a renewed focus on gaming. This will put the Apple TV in competition with the NVIDIA Shield gaming SMP, as well as Microsoft's upcoming disc-less Xbox One S – which according to rumors is launching this spring.

Further Reading:

Tags: Apple, streaming

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