Munster: Apple streaming TV is 50/50 for Sept. 9 event

No Apple analyst knows the pain of Steve Jobs’ 1,000 nos better than Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, who paid the price of mistaking a better television set created in some Cupertino skunkworks for an Apple television set brought to market.

But for all his missed TV calls over the years, Munster knows the territory. So when he talks about Apple’s adventures in television land, I still listen.

In a note to clients Thursday, Munster takes as his starting point the report in BuzzFeed News last week that Apple has scheduled a Sept. 9 event that will include, along with a new crop of iPhones, a new Apple TV box—the one that the same BuzzFeed reporter said would be unveiled at the company’s developers conference in June. [See footnote.]

If there is a Sept. 9 Apple event, and if TV is on the menu, here’s what Gene Munster is looking to see:

  • What To Expect For New Apple TV Features. We expect the new box to incorporate Siri, HomeKit, and possibly an Apple TV app store. Highlighted features could include controlling a connected home, content channels, and getting answers via Siri (like Amazon Echo). The Buzzfeed report also suggests a new touch screen input device. Another potential key feature may be around video curation, which Apple executive Jimmy Iovine highlighted in a recent interview with Wired. In the interview, Iovine stated, “We all know one thing, we all have different television delivery systems, don’t we all wish that the delivery systems were better, as far as curation and service?” We believe this points to some type of curated video offering, although the timing could be beyond the September Apple TV launch.
  • Content Offering Likely A Wildcard. We continue to expect Apple will launch a live streaming video offering, but believe there is only a 50% chance it happens at the Fall event. The Buzzfeed report did not address a potential content offering. We believe Apple’s eventual content offering will include the majority of the network channels plus major cable offerings like ESPN, AMC, TNT, and TBS. Additionally, we note that Sling TV already offers a collection of cable TV channels for streaming starting at $20 per month. (ESPN, ESPN2, CNN, TNT, TBS, HGTV, Food Network, and the Travel Channel with AMC coming). Sling TV is compatible with Roku, Android, iOS, Mac, and PC among others.

The comparison with Sling’s $20-per-month offering is interesting. Earlier rumors put Apple’s streaming service in the $30 to $40 range.

Footnote: To his credit, the same reporter—BuzzFeed SF managing editor John Paczkowski, formerly of Re/Code and AllThingsDigital—scooped his own scoop, breaking the news five days before WWDC that Apple had postponed the debut of Apple TV.

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed.

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