Why the law will stop Apple 4K being as big a hit as Amazon and Google competition

(I’m not going to say too much about the Apple event – that’s Ewan Spence’s gig, but there are two things that stick out and are worth a quick comment…)

So the Apple 4K has been announced and Apple pulled off a nice unleaked surprise in that the company is offering 4k material for the price of the non-4K content. But it’s not going to be enough for the machine to take off like competing devices from the likes of Amazon and Google for two simple reasons – the main one is cost, but the second one is to do with the long arm of the law…

Piracy has been a double-edge sword for the computer industry for decades, going back to the days of Commodore 64s, Spectrum 48Ks, Amigas and so on with people swapping or buying pirated tapes or discs. Fast forward to the broadband era and it was with a nudge and a wink that companies would tell you how quickly you could download content from online – or view pirated material on the likes of YouTube. It hasn’t needed piracy to survive but at the same time, piracy has done it little harm.

The latest entertainment battle is nothing different. You don’t have to hit the edges of the darkness to see people talking about buying Android-powered Kodi boxes or IPTV channels and how you can sideload various devices with the software needed to watch Sky, BT and channels from all across the world.

It’s very reminiscent of the early days of PCs. They were cheaper than the competition, but it was also easier to get access to – and install – pirated software on them.

And it’s this double whammy that will stop Apple getting the adoption that the others have – the devices are more expensive (and therefore less likely to be in people’s homes for word of mouth recommendations) and harder to use for the more illicit activities (thanks to the way Apple protects devices – though there are workarounds – and because piracy coders are more likely to develop for the mass market – which always skews towards cheap devices).

But is this a problem for Apple?

Why Apple doesn’t care TV4K won’t beat Firesticks and Chromecasts

Ultimately Apple TV has always been deemed as a hobby device – and is likely to stay so until the connected home takes off more – but Apple has never chased marketshare over profit for any device. This new device won’t change that. It’s part of an ongoing stealth move for the living room and the house, just as Alexa, Fire and other devices are.