Tech analysts and pundits have been beside themselves since Sunday when The Wall Street Journal revealed that Apple and Comcast were negotiating some sort of deal that would keep Apple's streaming video separated from other Internet traffic, ensuring a smooth user experience.
Somehow many immediately assumed that such discussions will lead to a much bigger deal that would combine Apple TV and Comcast's content.
Such speculation pushed Apple stock higher on Monday by as much as 1.43%.
While the idea of a cool, easy-to-use Apple-designed interface connected to Comcast's vast trove of content is compelling, it's never going to happen. It's simply not in the DNA of either company to share control of the user experience.
Any Apple-Comcast deal - if it happens - will be a straight-up payment by Apple of a "toll" to Comcast to ensure the smooth flow of its video traffic. Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) made a similar deal with Comcast last month.
All it means is that Apple wants to make sure that as it moves forward with additions and changes to Apple TV, its customers will continue to get the best possible experience. Apple learned the hard way (MobileMe, anyone?) that nothing else matters if customers have trouble using a service.
But what does Apple have in mind for Apple TV?
Apple has spent a long time trying to find the right strategy for its TV "hobby." The Apple TV set-top box debuted in 2007, but rumors of an actual Apple television set, sometimes called the iTV, have raged for at least three years.
Some analysts still think Apple will introduce an actual big-screen $7,000 ultra-high definition smart TV this year or next.
But that's not going to happen, either.
Steve Jobs said so himself, according to the just-released book on Apple, "Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs." The late Apple founder and chief executive officer told a group of top executives in 2010, "TV is a terrible business. They don't turn over and the margins suck."
But supposedly Jobs also said the company had plans to dominate in the living room via the $99 Apple TV.
And two things the company is likely to introduce this year will go a long way toward turning Apple TV from a hobby into a significant source of revenue.
About the Author
David Zeiler, Associate Editor for Money Morning at Money Map Press, has been a journalist for more than 35 years, including 18 spent at The Baltimore Sun. He has worked as a writer, editor, and page designer at different times in his career. He's interviewed a number of well-known personalities - ranging from punk rock icon Joey Ramone to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Over the course of his journalistic career, Dave has covered many diverse subjects. Since arriving at Money Morning in 2011, he has focused primarily on technology. He's an expert on both Apple and cryptocurrencies. He started writing about Apple for The Sun in the mid-1990s, and had an Apple blog on The Sun's web site from 2007-2009. Dave's been writing about Bitcoin since 2011 - long before most people had even heard of it. He even mined it for a short time.
Dave has a BA in English and Mass Communications from Loyola University Maryland.