It was October 23, 2001, when Apple Inc. first released a little gadget called the iPod. Until 2004, Apple’s take on the MP3 player didn’t do particularly well, a result of minimal compatibility. By 2004, Steve Jobs was appearing on the cover of Newsweek, holding an iPod, and America was being dubbed “the iPod nation.” Even at that point, many critics wrote the iPod off as a trend which would fade with time.
While standalone iPod MP3 players are mostly a thing of the past — though not entirely — that’s only because Apple found a way to ostensibly put their iPods inside a cellular telephone, called the iPhone. While apple struck gold with iPod, it was unlikely they’d knock it out of the park with the iPhone. Right?
Wrong. Apple essentially pushed America into the age of the smartphone. They revolutionized music, but more importantly, overall communication, and connectedness within a single decade. So while many may scoff at their potential to revolutionize the film industry, it’s worth mentioning that Apple might be more in the know than critics think.
As reported by Bloomberg, Apple is in talks with Oscar-nominated animation studio Cartoon Saloon to acquire rights to an animated film. While the deal could still ultimately fall through, sources have apparently stated that Apple is laying the groundwork to start creating original video content.
Sources also went on to say that theatrical releases are by no means out of this ambiguous equation.
Since Netflix began airing a slew of successful original shows and films on its own steaming service, other streaming platforms have followed suit. Much to the chagrin of cable companies, the model has worked well at removing unnecessarily high cable television bills for services chock full of commercials and little control over what programming they can watch and when. Ironically, many behemoth cable companies such as Spectrum, are now offering their own streaming packages to customers.
So does Apple have a dog in this fight? Can they be competitive with original content giants like Netflix or Hulu when it comes to original programming? For now, audiences will have to wait and see.
Working against Apple is the fact that the streaming and original content market is already well-established. They’ll have to be competitors to begin with, rather than pioneers. While MP3 players existed before the iPod, Apple made them a household item. Streaming platforms already come pre-loaded on most televisions, gaming systems, and Blu-Ray players. Also working against Apple is the absence of Steve Jobs. Since the innovator died in 2011, Apple has been somewhat less groundbreaking in their new ventures, according to tech critics. While they’re still the single tech company to beat in today’s market, their innovation has been significantly less noteworthy in recent years.
But is that a result of Steve Jobs’ absence, or is it simply the nature of tech companies? Once the market is changed, historically, tech companies tend to sit back on their haunches a bit, having satisfied their initial thirst for success.
Still, Apple remains a terrible company to bet against. While there’s no guarantee their venture into film will be a massive success like their transformation of the music industry, there’s certainly evidence to suggest that it might be.
Might we look back on Netflix in 10 years the same way we look back on the Zune today?
That’s also a bet no one would likely take.