Back in November, The Information reported that Apple was considering a low-price Apple TV dongle. Amazon, Roku, and Google all have dongles that cost $30-40 with 4K support. Apple TV starts at $150 and you have to pay $180 to get 4K support. For people who just want something to plug in the back of their TV to watch streaming video, Apple TV’s prices are exorbitant. Me, I love Apple TV, and the price is well worth it. But Apple’s getting their ass kicked in this market and the reason is price — it doesn’t look a little more expensive, it looks 4 times more expensive.
Given that Apple announced this month they’d be building support for iTunes TV shows and movies into smart TVs from Samsung, and that TVs from Sony, LG, and Vizio will include built-in support for AirPlay 2, of course it makes sense for Apple to make a low-price Apple TV dongle. Sell it for cost and make money on movies, TV shows, and subscriptions to Apple’s upcoming content service. Bang the marketing drum on the privacy angle — no tracking what you watch — and the fact that it doesn’t show you ads.
They should keep the excellent high-performance $200 Apple TV around, include a real controller in the box, and make a serious run at turning it into a successful gaming console. Free games — if you subscribe to Apple’s all-included subscription service.
Update: Think of an Apple TV dongle as the iPod Shuffle of Apple TVs — iPod Shuffles sold for as low as $49. Maybe they make a dongle that costs $69, but they offer it for $29 if you sign up for a year-long subscription to their original content subscription plan. Whatever it takes to make every recent TV out there a potential target for iTunes and Apple original content.
★ Monday, 28 January 2019