Apple Abandoned Low-Cost TV Dongle Plans, but Looking to Double New Apple TV+ Content Rate in 2022

Apple has abandoned its plans for a low-cost Apple TV dongle and is set to significantly accelerate and expand the output of new content on Apple TV+ next year, according to The Information.

Apple TV Stick vs Box Feature
Sources said to be familiar with Apple's plans speaking to The Information have apparently revealed many of the company's internal discussions and attitudes around ‌Apple TV+‌ in detail. The company allegedly sees ‌Apple TV+‌ as a standalone business rather than a mechanism to encourage users to buy into the Apple ecosystem.

The Information reported in 2018 that Apple was working on a low-cost TV dongle device as a more inexpensive alternative to the ‌Apple TV‌, which starts at $149. The project was driven by Tim Twerdahl, an Apple video and audio marketing executive, who argued that a low-cost TV device would make it more affordable for users to access ‌Apple TV+‌ based on his experience overseeing similar projects at Netflix and Amazon.

Greg Joswiak and Phil Schiller reportedly overruled Twerdahl, insisting that Apple should not begin making cheap, low-margin devices due to its potential to damage its reputation for premium products, meaning that Twerdahl's low-cost TV device project was abandoned. Twerdahl is said to have recently left the company.

Apple decided that an appropriate middle-ground solution would be to develop apps for ‌Apple TV+‌ on other platforms, such as devices from Samsung, Roku, Amazon, Sony, and Microsoft, which aligned with earlier concerns among executives, including Eddy Cue, that ‌Apple TV+‌ would need to be available on a wide range of devices, including non-Apple ones.

Executives are said to have debated putting the Apple brand on another company's device for over a year, ahead of Apple reaching an agreement for a dedicated Apple TV+ button on the Roku remote control. Apple has apparently discussed similar arrangements with at least one other TV manufacturer, but there are no imminent plans for another dedicated button.

The report explained that Apple intends to increase the amount of regular new content on ‌Apple TV+‌ in 2022, with at least one new item added per week, at more than double the pace of new content in 2021.

Despite Apple's willingness to pay a premium for ‌Apple TV+‌ content, the company apparently refuses to cover budget overruns, insisting that studio partners pay for any additional costs.

Some studio executives have apparently felt frustrated with Apple's lack of willingness to market shows aggressively before they come out, treating the debut of new shows like hardware products. The company is also said to share little detail with studio partners about the objectives of marketing campaigns, and whether they are aiming to advertise to acquire subscribers or raise awareness of an individual show.

‌Apple TV+‌ is also set to benefit from more than $500 million in marketing this year. The company is believed to have spent significantly less than this on marketing in 2020. Netflix, by comparison, spent $1.1 billion on marketing during the first half of 2021 alone. Apple has also reportedly told advertising partners that it will not buy campaigns for ‌Apple TV+‌ titles on Facebook or Instagram.

It was estimated that by the end of 2020, ‌Apple TV+‌ had around 40 million subscribers. These numbers are roughly the same as of this summer, according to an individual said to have knowledge of Apple's subscriber figures. Approximately half of ‌Apple TV+‌ subscribers are now paying for the service, with the other half still using a free trial period.

Other tidbits from the report include the fact that Apple has endeavored to protect its brand within ‌Apple TV+‌ shows, insisting that the unlikeable character of "Jo" in "Mythic Quest" was not seen using Apple devices during the show's second season.

For more details, see The Information's full report.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

countryside Avatar
5 weeks ago
Please rename the Apple TV/Apple TV+/TV app/devices. WAY too confusing.
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrPresident Avatar
5 weeks ago
What a shame to hear that a dongle was abandoned. I would have bought several of those devices if AirPlay was a feature. The ability to turn any TV into a wireless display with a small unit would have been incredibly useful!!
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Böhme417 Avatar
5 weeks ago
How annoying. Some of us may want a smaller device for travel. The fire stick I currently travel with is garbage. I would love an Apple TV stick instead and wouldn’t mind paying a premium for it.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zimmy68 Avatar
5 weeks ago
They probably abandoned it because it would be too cheap to make/price and would cannibalize into the over priced 4kTV.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
siddavis Avatar
5 weeks ago

Greg Joswiak and Phil Schiller reportedly overruled Twerdahl, insisting that Apple should not begin making cheap, low-margin devices due to its potential to damage its reputation for premium products, meaning that Twerdahl's low-cost TV device project was abandoned. Twerdahl is said to have recently left the company.

Apple decided that an appropriate middle-ground solution would be to develop apps for Apple TV+ on other platforms, such as devices from Samsung, Roku, Amazon, Sony, and Microsoft, which aligned with earlier concerns among executives, including Eddy Cue, that Apple TV+ would need to be available on a wide range of devices, including non-Apple ones.
This seems (a little at least) contradictory to me. "We can't soil our brand by making low margin devices, so instead, we'll put our product on other crappy low margin devices that we have no control over."
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zaft Avatar
5 weeks ago

What a shame to hear that a dongle was abandoned. I would have bought several of those devices if AirPlay was a feature. The ability to turn any TV into a wireless display with a small unit would have been incredibly useful!!
You don’t need an Apple TV for that anymore. All my Rokus have AirPlay 2 which does exactly this
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple tv plus banner

Apple TV+ Expected to Reach 36 Million Subscribers By 2026, Far Short of Rivals

Wednesday October 13, 2021 4:56 am PDT by
Apple's TV+ digital streaming service is expected to have a total of 36 million subscribers by the end of 2026, according to research firm Digital TV Research (via The Hollywood Reporter). According to the research, Disney's wildly successful streaming service will overtake Netflix and reach 284.2 million subscribers by 2026. Netflix by comparison is expected to hit 270.7 million subscribers ...
Apple TV Piracy Feature 1

Apple Struggling to Keep Up With Increasing Piracy of Apple TV+ Content

Tuesday October 12, 2021 8:13 am PDT by
As the popularity of Apple TV+ grows, Apple appears to be struggling to contend with increasing levels of online piracy, despite concerted efforts to take down its stolen content, MacRumors has found. Piracy is a lucrative business for torrent sites, with a report from August estimating that the top five piracy websites raise around $18.3 million in ad revenue and sponsorships per year....
apple tv plus app lg tvs 2016 2017

Scaled Down 'Apple TV+' App Now Available on 2016 and 2017 LG Smart TVs

Thursday October 7, 2021 3:10 am PDT by
Apple has started making a scaled down "Apple TV+" app available on select 2016 and 2017 LG smart TVs. The app is appearing on LG's content store in several regions including Germany, Poland, and the Nordic countries, and its existence is confirmed in an LG support document. Image credit: Bartłomiej Wiśniowski First spotted by FlatpanelsHD, the app interface looks very similar to the standard ...
apple tv 4k design

Sketchy Report Claims Apple Working on Redesigned Apple TV With Thinner Design and 'Plexiglass' Top

Tuesday October 12, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Apple is working on a redesigned Apple TV box that will feature a flatter, thinner footprint, and a "plexiglass" top, according to a questionable report from iDropNews. The report, citing "sources," claims that an Apple TV with a thinner and flatter design is in the works, eliminating the "horribly outdated and bulky" design of the current generation Apple TV. According to the sketchy...
jason segel shrinking apple tv plus

Jason Segel to Star in Apple TV+ Series 'Shrinking' From 'Ted Lasso' Creators

Wednesday October 13, 2021 11:53 am PDT by
Jason Segel is set to star in upcoming Apple TV+ series "Shrinking," Apple announced today. Segel is writing and executive producing the show alongside "Ted Lasso" co-creator Bill Lawrence and "Ted Lasso" star and writer Brett Goldstein, who plays Roy Kent on the series. The 10-episode comedy series will feature Segel playing a therapist who begins to break the rules and tells his clients...
Apple tv on the rocks

'On the Rocks' Becomes First Apple TV+ Movie to Get DVD and Blu-Ray Release

Tuesday September 7, 2021 12:25 am PDT by
Sofia Coppola's Apple TV+ comedy "On the Rocks" will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD next month, the first Apple TV+ movie to be made available on physical media. First revealed by Sigmund Judge, "On the Rocks" can be pre-ordered now on Amazon for $17.99. According to the Blu-Ray version information, the physical disc is being distributed by Lionsgate and will ship from October 26, 2021,...
defending jacob dvd and blu ray

Apple TV+ Series 'Defending Jacob' Now Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Wednesday July 7, 2021 2:26 am PDT by
The Apple TV+ series "Defending Jacob" is now available for customers to purchase on Blu-ray and DVD instead of being exclusively available through Apple TV+ on Apple's devices and supported TVs and streaming boxes. Spotted by 9to5Mac, the Paramount-backed series can be purchased on Amazon in either Blu-ray or standard DVD format for $34.99 and $19.99, respectively. The show initially...
apple tv verizon fios

Verizon Releasing Fios TV App for Apple TV Tomorrow

Wednesday July 21, 2021 9:37 am PDT by
Verizon this week announced that it will be releasing a Fios TV app for the Apple TV 4K, Apple TV HD, and Amazon Fire TV tomorrow, July 22, providing Fios TV subscribers with additional platforms to watch live television. All new Fios TV plans will come with Verizon's voice-powered Fios TV One box at no additional charge, and instead of subscribers having to pay a fee for a second Fios TV...
carpoolkaraoke

Apple Renews 'Carpool Karaoke: The Series' for a Fifth Season, Migrates It to Apple TV+

Tuesday August 17, 2021 11:49 am PDT by
Apple has renewed "Carpool Karaoke: The Series" for a fifth season, and with the renewal, the TV show will be migrating from Apple Music to Apple TV+. "Carpool Karaoke" could be watched through the Apple Music app or the Apple TV app, but it has not previously been a part of Apple TV+ and limited to Apple TV+ subscribers. Based on the "Carpool Karaoke" segment of the "The Late Late Show With ...
apple tv keyboard notification iphone tight

iOS 15 Doesn't Offer a Way to Disable Apple TV Keyboard Notifications

Wednesday September 29, 2021 11:56 am PDT by
iOS 15 was released last week with a long list of new features, but there is one change that is proving to be an annoyance to users. On the Apple TV, users who prefer not to input text using the Siri Remote can use a nearby iPhone or iPad to type. Whenever a text field appears on the Apple TV, a notification appears on the iPhone or iPad, and after tapping the notification, users can use the ...