Apple Announces “California Streaming” Event for 14 September 2021

Originally published at: Apple Announces “California Streaming” Event for 14 September 2021 - TidBITS

Apple’s next product announcement event will be held 14 September 2021. Rumors suggest new iPhones with smaller notches and a redesigned Apple Watch.

I really hope they make a larger iMac with the M# processor. And as for the rumormills on the watch… I am all for a larger battery.
Still, anyone else think 13 unlucky version?

I’m hoping for a new MacBook Pro with an M2 chip, and I’m “California Dreaming” that prices for all new hardware won’t shoot into the stratosphere because of the price hikes on silicon chips.

I’m also hoping the “Streaming” refers to better, and more, streaming content. Apple’s TV+ and Arcade need more and better catalogs. Rumors of an Apple AR/VR headset that have been floating around for years. And there are also rumors about an upgraded Facebook Oculus to debut for the holiday season. If Apple is ready to rock and roll with it, they can get a leg up on holiday sales.

And one of my favorite 60/70s folk/rock bands was Pentangle, who had a virtuoso guitar duo number, “Lucky Thirteen”

Apple is doubling Apple TV+ productions.

TV+ only has a 3% market share, and this includes people who have free trial accounts::

Even tripling the number of productions won’t yield a catalogue that’s competitive enough in a supersaturated market. Disney debuted well after TV+ and they already have a 14% share. Netflix has 28%:

I am hoping for a M1 27" iMac.

It would be nice, but this is traditionally the time of year for mobile device announcements. If there are new Macs to come, I’ll expect laptop models to be announced in October or November with any new iMacs to be announced in the spring.

Of course, this is anybody’s guess and there will probably be an accelerated schedule as they rollout additional ARM-based Macs, but that’s my theory.

See also:

An M1X Mac mini could perhaps launch alongside the new M1X 14"/16" MBPs (wouldn’t bet on it though), but the 27"+ iMac and MP aren’t expected to arrive before spring 2022.

It looks like TV+ needs to do a lot more than doubling production:

I’m a little surprised it’s still that small. Ted Lasso just dominated the Emmys and Foundation is getting a lot of buzz.

But I think Apple always knew TV+ would be a long play and likely a money sink for a few years. Making successful content is hard, but the rewards for a company like Apple are invaluable. I explored all of this in “Four Reasons Why Apple Should Bid on Time Warner” (14 November 2016), which I think has aged pretty well besides the fact that Apple sadly didn’t buy Time Warner.

Apple has to be in content because all of its competitors are. And there’s no guaranteed formula for content. For instance, who would have guessed that a Jason Sudekis vehicle would have been Apple’s breakout hit while Jason Mamoa’s See has had a lukewarm reception? (Sudekis had been all but washed up when he started Ted Lasso while Mamoa is one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars.)

I was, too, but I noticed this report was from before Apple’s free AT+ plans switched to paid this summer (the plans had been extended because of the pandemic). I’m no accountant or lawyer, but I wonder if Apple can legally call free subscribers as paid? Or perhaps it’s optional/gray area and they didn’t in this case as they wanted lower numbers to get the production discounts for having under 20M subscribers?

Cleary with 200M phones sold last year with a free year of AT+ Apple could be bragging about 100M+ subscribers if they wanted (assuming only half of the buyers activated their free subs), but since those are free they don’t have much weight so Apple has been mum.

If that 20M number is actual paid subs, that’s amazingly good considering the service really didn’t start charging until this summer (the paid subs would have to be people who hadn’t bought a new device to get the free year). I’d be really curious what has happened since then. For instance, I switched to an Apple One bundle once my free AT+ expired (it didn’t make sense before that) so technically I’m now paying something for AT+.

The bottom line is I wouldn’t put much stock in these pre-summer numbers as to where the service is now.

The most logical explanation for Apple eliminating the extra free six months is because they were not converting the one year free audience to paid subscribers. The “pandemic” is far from over. It costs Apple money to serve TV+ programming, and their $4.99 per month is peanuts when compared to what Netflix, Disney, HBO, Peacock, etc. charge.

It does take a lot of time to produce content, but TV+‘s main competitors all have significant back catalogs of thousands of titles that were acquired or produced in house. These back catalogs inspired streamers to keep paying for streaming content during the many months when productions were forced into suspended animation.

TV+ did win a few Emmys, but Oscars have broader clout in international and English speaking markets. Netflix and Disney duked it out as the top contenders for Oscars this year, and Netflix ended up with 24 nominations:

It’s not like Apple is bereft of cash in the bank, or opportunities did not exist for them to acquire existing studios or catalogs. Netflix (especially) is gaining paid subscribers and holding on to existing ones and expanding to new markets across the globe, even after raising rates. AFAIK, Netflix hasn’t been giving away free subscriptions in the US or other countries even though the pandemic continues to rage. TV+s retention rate, or lack of anything resembling a significant retention rate, even at a very low price, is very scary indeed.