Apple TV rumor roundup: Did Apple pull the plug on new Apple TV for WWDC event?

A new Apple TV is coming, but it looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer than we thought. Originally expected to be introduced at Apple’s WWDC event June 8, rumors now indicate the company is pushing back the products launch due to trouble finalizing deals needed to finish its streaming TV service plans. We’ve got all the latest news, starting with this latest development, indexed below.

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Apple reverses course, reportedly pulls the plug on new Apple TV at WWDC

Apple’s Worldwide Developer conference, which starts June 8, is expected to play host to a bevy of noteworthy new products, but the highly anticipated follow-up to Apple’s current-generation Apple TV apparently won’t be one of them. According to the New York Times, Apple’s pulled the plug on plans to unveil a refreshed Apple TV set-top streaming device next week.

The decision wasn’t made lightly — the announcement of a new Apple TV at the conference was on track as recently as mid-May — but Apple execs ultimately determined “the product was not ready for prime time,” sources tell the Times. The affects are wide-reaching, not only postponing the device’s unveiling, but also sidelining the improved remote control system to ship with the new box, as well as the app development tools for it.

While it’s a major disappointment to those of us neck deep in the streaming world, the push back of the new Apple TV’s launch is probably for the best. Apple’s forthcoming Internet TV service was once expected to punctuate the new hardware, but the company’s insistence on including live local TV helped derail plans for a June unveiling. Now, Apple has an opportunity to bring the TV service and platform back into alignment, although it may be months before it can do so — the company has yet to sign a major content provider for network channels like CBS or ABC, and is still in the process of negotiating terms individually with local network affiliates, many of which aren’t even owned by the networks.

A compelling Internet TV service to compete with other offerings like Dish’s Sling TV and Sony’s Playstation Vue will make the new hardware a much easier sell. While rumored Siri integration, speedier internal components, a new remote, and an app store would’ve put the new set-top box head-and-shoulders above the current-generation Apple TV in terms of functionality, in many ways it would’ve merely matched competing devices on the market. Amazon’s Fire TV, for instance, features voice search and apps, as do devices sporting Google’s Android TV platform, and Roku streaming devices.

Without a “killer app” to nudge purchasers, it’s not improbable to expect the cheaper, yet still-capable Apple TV ($69) would’ve continued to sell briskly until the debut of the Internet TV service.

In the interim, it seems, Apple’s current Apple TV will remain the Cupertino-based company’s de facto flagship streamer. And although the device debuted in 2012, it’s hardly going neglected — it continues to accrue streaming apps, and is expected to gain HomeKit remote features in a future firmware update.

 CBS will ‘probably’ be part of new Apple TV service

When Apple’s new online TV service makes its debut, CBS will “probably” be included — if the price is right.

Outspoken CBS CEO Les Moonves explained that he is in the process of negotiating terms with Apple about including the network in Apple’s forthcoming Web TV service at the Re/Code conference today. While he doesn’t know when Apple will launch the service, he did lay out in definite terms just what it will take for Apple to bring CBS on board: “Money,” he said succinctly.

“Apple TV is trying to change the universe,” Moonves continued. He expects that the over-the-top service will be similar to Dish Network’s Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue, both of which offer live TV delivered online. The service had been rumored to launch as early as June but will likely be delayed until September or later thanks in part to an effort to bring local network channels like CBS affiliates into the fold. The service is expected to offer around 15 to 17 channels for a price of $30-40 per month.

“I think the age of the 200 channel universe is slowly dying,” Moonves said. “The good news for us, is any one of those groups will need CBS.” He also noted that, in a proposed deal, CBS would receive a larger proportion of revenue from Apple than the network currently does from its inclusion in traditional pay-TV packages. This aspect of the deal is certainly significant, as the network wants to minimize revenue lost from cord cutters opting for Apple’s new service over cable or satellite.

Moonves said that he met with Apple SVP Eddy Cue to talk about it, and it’s part of an “ongoing conversation.” And while he understands the undeniable consumer shift from cable TV to streaming video services, the exec remains hopeful about the future prospects of network television.

“We’re being watched by more people now than we were 10 years ago,” Moonves said at the conference, as reported by TechCrunch. “Seventy percent or more of our audiences still watches in the time period when the show is. The other 30 percent are watching elsewhere.”

Still, Moonves admitted that the tide is turning when it comes to traditional TV. “Is that (70 percent) getting less? Absolutely.”

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