Apple may have created entire product markets, but there’s one category where it’s an also-ran: The Apple TV. It’s not a total disaster, but it didn’t seize control of the streaming market the way it was supposed to. So, Apple has decided what it really needs is Comcast.
Essentially, Apple doesn’t want to deal with the same problems the plebes do. So according to the Wall Street Journal, it’s paying Comcast to prioritize its traffic:
Apple’s intention is to allow users to stream live and on-demand TV programming and digital-video recordings stored in the “cloud,” effectively taking the place of a traditional cable set-top box. Apple would benefit from a cable-company partner because it wants the new TV service’s traffic to be separated from public Internet traffic over the “last mile”—the portion of a cable operator’s pipes that connect to customers’ homes, the people familiar with the matter say.
Essentially Apple’s plan is to pay for that access and then state that you’ll get network-quality TV from the Internet with no hiccups or stuttering. However, it seems unlikely this deal will ever come together, for a few reasons.
One, Apple both wants a cut of cable subscriber revenues for using their box: Good luck with that. Secondly, Apple wants you to log in with an Apple ID and control the customer data, which Comcast is not enthused about. In other words, Apple hasn’t learned anything from the last time it tried this.
That said, Comcast has to realize that Netflix is only paying it money until fiber networks are laid or white-space broadband becomes commonplace. They’re going to need something to keep their customers at that point, and Apple might just be it. So, even though the two companies will never get along, expect them to keep trying.