When Apple has had success revolutionizing industries, it’s been able to benefit from a key weakness in the industry.
So, for music, it was able to take advantage of piracy to get songs for $US0.99. It built its iTunes empire on the back of those low cost, easy to download songs. The iTunes empire helped support its highly lucrative iPod business. For the mobile industry, Apple was able to get AT&T, which was competing with Verizon, to give up control for the iPhone. For books, it went to publishers who were frustrated with Amazon to launch the iBookstore.
Apple is reportedly trying to crack the TV industry, but there isn’t the same sort of weakness for the TV business. It’s still a wildly profitable industry. There is no national pay-TV/Internet company that competes with another national pay-TV/Internet company like there is in wireless with AT&T versus Verizon.
As a result, there is no leverage point for Apple to get into TV. And as a result, Apple has been spinning its wheels to get in the TV business.
There’s only one way that this changes. And it involves the following chart. This chart shows net subscriber additions for pay-TV in the U.S. It’s trending downward. If it gets really bad, TV providers might eventually turn to Apple in the hope that it has a solution to get subscribers signing back up for service.