Apple nixed a cheaper Apple TV dongle to protect its reputation: report

Apple TV+
According to the report, Apple TV+ had roughly 40 million subscribers as of this summer. (Apple)

A new wide-ranging report from The Information digs into Apple’s plans around TV including the reason it nixed a proposed cheaper version of its Apple TV hardware.

According to the report, as detailed by 9to5Mac, at least one executive at Apple was on board with introducing a less expensive Apple TV dongle to give consumers a cheaper way to access Apple TV+ programming. Tim Twerdahl, who joined the company after years spent working with Netflix, Roku and Amazon Fire TV, pushed for the device but was shut down by Apple executives Greg Joswiak and Phil Schiller, who felt such a device would “tarnish” Apple’s reputation for building premium products.

Apple ultimately settled on building Apple TV apps for third-party devices including Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Chromecast with Google TV along with smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Vizio and Sony. The company earlier this year rolled out its Apple TV app to Android TV devices shortly after debuting the second generation of its Apple TV 4K device, priced at $179.

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The report also provides details about the company’s plans for Apple TV+. Apple is reportedly looking to accelerate content releases to at least one series or movie per week in 2022 and plans to spend about $500 million marketing the service, which could include buying more dedicated buttons on third-party device remotes like Roku.

Apple has yet to give out specific subscriber numbers for Apple TV+. The company earlier this year said that it has more than 660 million subscribers across all its services. However, The Information cited unnamed sources that put Apple TV+ at roughly 40 million subscribers as of this summer. Approximately half of those are paying customers and the other half are getting the service through a free trial.

The report also downplays Apple’s reported efforts to bulk up on content through potential studio acquisitions or NFL deals, suggesting that the company has “never been a serious contender” in any of those negotiations.