Apple has never given Apple TV a whole lot of public
marketing support – and, as a result, the product has never been a runaway hit
for the company. The marketing is still lacking, but there seems to be some
movement occurring with the device.
Apple has quietly discontinued the 40 GB model of the set
top box and cut the price of the 160GB model by $100 to $229.
There are several possible reasons behind the move… Apple
could be slowly shuttering the division (it has, after all, referred to Apple
TV has a “hobby” many times in the past). It could be a proactive move to
distract attention away from tomorrow’s launch of the Zune HD by Microsoft. Or
the company could be dumping inventory as it gets ready to unveil a new product.
Piper Jaffrey analyst Gene Munster would probably argue the
later. He accurately predicted the price cut over a week ago and has also
speculated that Apple is planning to add DVR capabilities to the device.
If that turns out to be true, it could make Apple TV a
potential player in the digital hub battle that Microsoft, Sony and the cable
companies are fighting right now. Apple made no secret of the fact that it’s going
after game companies in its press event on Sept. 9. Perhaps an upgraded Apple
TV, with enhanced television offerings and the ability to incorporate selected apps
is the next step in that attack.