With a view of kick off its content streaming service for the masses, Apple reportedly has plans to launch an affordable dongle. The dongle, which is likely to sit alongside the existing Apple TV, would compete against Amazon's Fire TV Stick and Google's Chromecast. The Cupertino giant notably launched the fifth generation Apple TV that dubbed Apple TV 4K in September last year to enable high-end viewing experience. The latest model supports 2160p playback as well as works with standards such as HDR10 and Dolby Vision.
The low-priced streaming dongle has been a part of internal discussions at Apple, reports The Information, citing people familiar with the development. The dongle is speculated to set the pitch for the upcoming video streaming service that is likely to take on contenders such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. Earlier this year, it was also reported that Apple could bring a subscription bundle to provide original TV shows, music service, and news content under one roof - somewhere similar to how Amazon drives its subscription-based Prime service that includes Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Reading, and Prime Now among other key services.
So far, Apple TV is available as the lone streaming device by Apple. While the latest Apple TV model ticks all the boxes - be it 4K video streaming or support for HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos, it carries a starting price tag of Rs. 17,430 ($179 in the US) that is far expensive over the Chromecast and Fire TV Stick. Amazon even recently brought the Fire TV Stick 4K that comes at Rs. 4,999 ($49.99 in the US). This highlights the need for a low-cost Apple dongle.
The new dongle could help Apple widen its presence in the market of streaming media players. As per a recent report by Parks Associates, the ownership of streaming media players has grown from about six percent of US broadband households in 2010 to 40 percent at the beginning of 2018. The report also mentioned the Apple TV leads on the avenues of gaming and ease of finding something new to watch and purchasing new content. Data startup Thinknum also reported that Apple TV has now been the second most selling 4K streaming device in the US after Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K. This is despite the fact that the Fire TV Stick 4K is significantly lower than the Apple TV 4K.
Apple is also planning to bring a dedicated app for smart TVs that would work for its original content. The company is rumoured to have plans to spend $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,100 crores) for its original shows. The content is expected to be available for free for viewers who own Apple devices.
In the recent past, Apple has signed some production deals to kick off the development of its content streaming service. The company also brought celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey on board to make a model competing with Amazon, Netflix, and other streaming services.
We need to wait for sometime to see what Apple is cooking up behind the scenes. Meanwhile, it is safe to take the report around the streaming dongle with a pinch of salt.