Apple Admits It Doesn't Know How to Change TV Just Yet (or Maybe They're Lying)

Eddy Cue talks about the complicated TV business during Re/code interview

On the same day Apple announced its massive Beats acquisition, Re/code invited Tim Cook, Eddy Cue, and Jimmy Iovine up on stage at the Code Conference to talk about the future of music, television, and everything else Apple has its hands on. On the state of television, Internet Services Chief Eddy Cue says, it “sucks.”

Whatever the occasion, TV is always the elephant in the room when Apple executives are on hand to discuss their business strategy.

Case in point, Code Conference hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher took the matter up with Apple’s Internet Services guy, Eddy Cue. According to a transcript of the show, Cue said something along these lines:

“There’s a lot of talk about TV because using a TV ‘sucks.’ All we have today is glorified VCRs, I don’t have to set the clock when the power goes out. I still have to manage storage. Did I remember to record it? It’s not the way the Apple TV experience works. I think there’s a lot of TV viewing. The experience has been stuck. It’s hard to watch my TV on my iPad. I have to authenticate, but the channels are hard to deal with. I think there is a long way to go in TV.”

Pressed to explain why Apple is still not offering the full experience, Cue suggested that it’s not about the technology or the costs. Rather, it’s about the people who just won’t barge, such as the cable companies and the content sellers, which either won’t take any chances, or see Apple as the enemy.

“TV is hard. There is no standards, either locally in the US, in some regions, certainly globally. There are lots of right issues down to rights issues. It’s a complicated landscape [...] Solving the problems are complicated because of all the companies involved.”

That doesn’t mean Apple will stop trying. Mossberg asked Cue “Will the current Apple TV evolve?” to which the Apple executive bluntly replied, “It will continue to evolve. It’s a great way to experience ESPN. We’re going to keep improving the experience.”

No Apple executive has ever been caught off guard by journalists trying to get them to confirm upcoming products. Cue, like his colleagues, is a master at downplaying questions that might give away plans like a full-fledged television set or a revamped Apple TV interface or a new remote control.

According to one prominent analyst from KGI Securities, it’s all happening this year. Cue probably did his best to conceal the evidence.

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