Rumours of an imminent Apple TV refresh were silenced today by Apple employees speaking with The Information. Apple won’t be able to launch the revamped set-top box this year, the engineers working on it have been told by their bosses.
A possible refresh of the Apple TV will instead have to wait until next year. Sources speaking with The Information say the reason for the delay is the cable companies, particularly Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable.
Apple engineers who are working on aspects of the device have been told by their bosses not to expect a launch this year and are working off timelines that assume a launch next year, according to a person familiar with the plans. Apple employees have cited cable companies “dragging their heels” and the pending Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger as reasons the device and accompanying TV service haven’t launched.
But that’s just the Apple side of the story. On the other side, the cable companies say that Apple “bit off more than it can chew” and that it needs permission from multiple rights holders in order to launch the service it wants to offer.
Apple was rumoured to have ambitious plans, according to the Wall Street Journal’s sources, although they are now less ambitious than before: The original plan supposedly was to obtain content rights directly from media companies for an Internet-based digital video recording service. Apple has allegedly scaled back its plans since then, but apparently not enough, considering the cable companies’ comments on the matter.
As mentioned above, this isn’t the fist time we’ve heard that Apple’s set-top-box plans have been pushed back by cable companies. Apparently, the two parties cannot reach an agreement, and since Apple has big plans with Comcast, it will have to wait until the merger finalizes before making the moves it has planned.