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What a cable-free HBO subscription could mean for Apple TV

Michael Simon | Oct. 17, 2014
Apple TV has never followed a predictable update path. Officially unveiled alongside the iPhone in January 2007, it has had just two revisions to speak of during its lifespan, and aside from a quiet silicon swap last year, there hasn't been any movement on the Apple TV front since March of 2012.

The industry is finally coming around to his way of thinking; like the iPod and the iTunes Store, programming on Apple TV needs to be on-demand and à la carte to be truly simple and satisfying, not tied to a provider that may or may not let you watch via an app. There're still plenty of hands left to be shaken, but now that Apple has a major player in their court, getting other networks on board should be that much easier.

Once the content is there, everything else will fall into place. By taking the various middlemen out of the equation, Apple can work directly with the networks to integrate everything into a universal or Siri-style search mechanism that lets you instantly find what you need. There could be a master queue that shows you everything from Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and HBO that you want to watch. Or your Apple TV could automatically switch to the HBO Go app when Game of Thrones is about to start, via a reminder sent from your Apple Watch.

This is the moment Apple TV has been waiting for. For the past two and a half years, Tim Cook and Eddie Cue have been trying to sell content and cable providers on Jobs' simple, coherent vision. HBO Go is the first domino to fall. Now it's up to Apple to make sure the rest are properly lined up.


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