The Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address offered a wealth of news from the company.
In addition to announcing its first subscription-based all-you-can-listen music service, the company announced the next edition of OSX, and iOS. It also told the public about a new operating system for its watch, improvements to some of its most popular apps, and updates to the Siri voice assistant. The event, led by CEO Tim Cook, also offered news about new Apple pay partners, a news app, true multitasking on the iPad, and, to the delight of the crowd of developers in attendance, the fact that the company's Swift programming language was becoming open source.
And while this flood of information sent the audience at WWDC into fits of applause and blew up the Internet, it did not contain some items many expected to hear. Apple made news but it stopped short of delivering any information about the company's heavily rumored live streaming TV service, and it didn't offer anything about new hardware for its getting a bit long in the tooth Apple TV hardware. In fact, the company made no hardware announcements at all and did not mention the larger iPad that some believe it's planning.
But just because something is not introduced at WWDC does not mean it won't be happening. Apple may be back in the news, perhaps even soon, with announcements about any of the three.
Where is the company's cable replacement?
Apple plans to offer a digital live streaming television service as an alternative to traditional cable or satellite TV as soon as the fall, according to The Wall Street Journal. The paper describes the offering as a slimmed down service which would offer about 25 channels. It sounds a lot like DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH) Sling TV except it will feature at least some of the major broadcast networks, which Sling does not.
Apple had planned to announce the TV service at WWDC, but was not able to do so because it has not completed negotiations with enough content providers, Re/Code reported:
Apple wanted to launch a subscription TV service in early fall to coincide with the start of the new broadcast television season. But the debut got bogged down by negotiations over financial terms and new technology that would be required for broadcasters to deliver local programming to Apple's Web TV service.
The launch of the service is complicated by Apple's desire to deliver local content. The company want subscribers to get the market-specific version of whatever broadcast networks it partners with. This would give them access to local news, weather, traffic, and other area-specific content. Currently only Sony (NYSE:SNE) offers that on a streaming basis and only in very limited markets.
Apple is trying to do something on a national basis and the deals aren't done, but it's still likely to happen soon -- perhaps even in time for the new fall TV season.
I want my Apple TV
Apple has not released an update to its set-top streaming box in about two years. Many expected that would change at WWDC and speculation centered around a new remote as well as a developers' toolkit to allow for creation of outside apps for the device. No mention of Apple TV was made during the WWDC keynote and The New York Times explained why:
The company planned as recently as mid-May to use the event to spotlight new Apple TV hardware, along with an improved remote control and a tool kit for developers to make apps for the entertainment device. But those plans were postponed partly because the product was not ready, according to two people briefed on the product.
It's also likely that Apple wants to pair the hardware announcement with the launch of the live-streaming service. This is another case of the company not being quite ready, but the news being imminent.
Is a big iPad coming?
While the two television-related products firmly fit in the not announced, but coming soon category, the existence of a third item not announced at WWDC may not be so certain. The possibility of the company releasing an iPad with a larger screen has long been a rumor. Like the Apple Car or the Apple TV set, the mega iPad may be an initiative the company explores but never releases.
Still, the same could have been said about a larger iPhone or the iPad Mini and both of those now exist. Though now larger iPad was announced, there are some signs it might be coming soon. Bloomberg reported in March that a bigger iPad was in the works, but its launch had been delayed:
Production of the 12.9-inch-screen iPad is now scheduled to start around September because of delays involving the supply of display panels, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren't public. Apple had initially planned to begin making the larger version this quarter, people familiar with those plans had said.
All of the timing seems a bit squishy, but generally, once Apple begins working with suppliers on a product it eventually sees the light of day. A larger iPad makes sense -- especially as Apple increases its effort to reach business customers -- but it was not to be at WWDC.