Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple TV Take 2: What's the hangup?

January 31, 2008: 9:21 AM ET

picture-26.jpgGiven the excitement with which the reinvention of Apple TV was greeted when Steve Jobs announced it two weeks ago at Macworld, it's surprising how little critical attention has been paid to the fact that the free update he promised to deliver by Tuesday has run into a snag.

The news was slipped into an Apple (AAPL) press release about the Macbook Air that was issued on Wednesday. Apple TV's second coming is now due "in a week or two" or "within two weeks," depending which paragraph you read.

Why the delay?

The update, according to the release, is simply "not quite finished." But that hasn't stopped outsiders from speculating that there might be more going on.

Could it have something to do with that awkward moment in Jobs' Macworld keynote when he went to demo Flikr photos on Apple TV and the giant screen went blank? ("I'm afraid Flikr's not serving up the photos today," he joked, but you know that inside he was fuming.)

Or could the hang-up be, as Valleywag's Jordan Golson speculates, some last-minute wrangling with the movie studios? If that's the case, a week or two may be optimistic.

I'm reminded of Daniel Eran Dilger's lovesong to the new Apple TV posted in Roughly Drafted last week, in which he praised it as "a full fledged, self contained media computer for watching and ordering Internet content" and bid good riddance to Blockbuster.

With the iPhone now running along smoothly at top speed, Apple now has the opportunity to fire up Apple TV as its fourth engine [of growth]. This time, the professional naysayers only have a couple weeks to disgorge their rivers of fear, uncertainty, and doubt before Take Two hits the public's hands and shows up their analysis as the stupefying nonsense that it is. (link)

Apparently Apple saw fit to give the naysayers another week to two.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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