Samsung have announced that as of Spring this year, their smart TVs will feature a new “iTunes Movies and TV Shows” app. There’s no indication in the press release whether this is a Samsung exclusive or part of a wider roll-out of Apple’s media to non-Apple hardware. My guess is that it’s the latter; with Apple investing heavily in it’s upcoming TV service, they want to make it available to the widest possible segment of the population, and that means rolling out support to as many devices as possible. I expect to see similar apps on most TVs, and possibly even third-party streaming boxes, such as Roku or Amazon FireTV.
A worry I have is what this means for the Apple TV. Does it have much of a future in a world where all shipping TVs already have access to Apple’s media properties via built-in apps? This is really part of a wider anxiety I have about Apple hardware in a world where Apple is a services and media company; will it be deprioritised in favour of horizontal integrations? The iPhone is obviously safe; it easily generates enough revenue to justify its existence. The same‘s probably true of the Mac, the Watch and the iPad. But the Apple TV or the HomePod, which exist primarily as a way to put Apple’s services in people’s homes? Are they still worth the investment when everyone already has access to those services? Well, it’s early to say, but I’m a lot less confident.