New Apple TV looks a lot like the old TV


Apple handled the distribution of news and magazines, a new credit card and games before it hit the Hollywood business, where the prevailing message seemed to be, "We came in peace, and see all these celebrities!"

The main problem is that while all previous flourishes seemed evolutionary – like the next-generation applications in each of these areas – the model for program delivery and original production was basically Apple's addition to what everyone is trying to do.

The new boss, in other words, still looks very much like the old one – a polished wrinkle, perhaps, but hardly a revolution.

In fact, the main difference in the festivities' programming is that there is no way to reinvent the wheel – that Apple is in the same business as networks, studios and streamers, which involves wooing talent and trying to identify hits. The same applies, in large part, to your efforts to simplify distribution, although at least the selling point – a more à la carte approach in which you "pay only for what you want" – has a clear potential benefit to the consumer .

Director Steven Spielberg talks during the launch of Apple TV +
By contrast, even the big-name show business crowd with Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, in what meant an unintentional "The Color Purple" meeting, had the overall feel of any traditional TV show where stars and filmmakers seem to help attracting media buyers.

Perhaps that's why Apple executives have proven to be more effective at launching their products than celebrity jokes, which any seasoned participant in the annual ritual known as anticipation has heard over and over again.

Yes, Apple had a lot of power in the sunroom. But so do any number of other services and networks that can present their own movie stars and the Oscar winners. Reese Witherspoon, after all, is currently on another show on HBO, and it's not as if Apple were the exclusive platform to watch projects by Spielberg, J.J. Abrams or Winfrey.

Apple's relentlessly optimistic CEO Tim Cook emphasized the power of television and its ability to do good in the world. Nothing speaks more about this idea than joining Winfrey, who is among the few talents who have managed to elevate what has often been derided as "broccoli TV" – programming intended to enrich it – into a viable commercial vehicle.

Most of the time though, Apple's programming schedule could easily have come to any other premium platform. And based simply on the volume involved, it seems to be more an ornament to the proposed distribution model than the main reason to take control.

Apple's billions, as well as other major technology competitors, immediately established the company as a force to be observed – and considered.

Still, while the TV marked the climax of Monday's performance, this was one of those live shows where the opening frankly outpaced the main attraction.


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