Fall of the iCurtain: Apple brings iTunes to Samsung smart TVs

Surprise move signals wider opening up of Apple ecosystem as tech firm seeks new revenue

Apple has announced that iTunes films will be available on Samsung smart TVs, ending the company’s insistence that users buy an Apple TV to watch their purchases on a big screen.

Fifteen years after Steve Jobs launched iTunes for Windows, quipping that he was “giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell”, the move signals a wider opening up of the Apple ecosystem, with TV manufacturers including Sony, LG and Vizio announcing integration with Apple’s AirPlay 2 streaming technology, to allow users to broadcast from their phones or tablets directly to their televisions.

Apple’s senior vice-president of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, said: “We look forward to bringing the iTunes and AirPlay 2 experience to even more customers around the world through Samsung smart TVs, so iPhone, iPad and Mac users have yet another way to enjoy all their favourite content on the biggest screen in their home.”

The news follows an unexpected profit warning from Apple, which blamed a slowdown in China for a $5bn (£4bn) reduction in the company’s expected revenue, as worldwide predictions showed customers are likely to purchase fewer iPhones, Macs and iPads than previous estimates had suggested.

After that warning, which wiped 7.5% off the company’s shares, Apple told investors that one ray of light was the company’s services division, which includes revenue from the App Store, iCloud online services, and Apple Music and the iTunes stores.

“Revenue outside of our iPhone business grew by almost 19% year over year, including all-time record revenue from services, wearables and Mac,” wrote the chief executive, Tim Cook, in a letter to shareholders.

“Our non-iPhone businesses have less exposure to emerging markets, and the vast majority of services revenue is related to the size of the installed base, not current period sales.

“Services generated over $10.8bn in revenues during the quarter, growing to a new quarterly record in every geographic segment, and we are on track to achieve our goal of doubling the size of this business from 2016 to 2020.”

By bringing iTunes to TVs made by competitors, Apple is hoping it can grow services revenue without harming device revenue from top-tier product lines.

The Apple TV, sales of which are likely to be dented by the shift, has not been particularly profitable, with the £179 device viewed as overpriced compared with similar offerings from Amazon, Roku and Google.

The iTunes and Samsung tie-up has reignited speculation that Apple is preparing to launch a Netflix competitor, either by bundling in a new TV streaming service with its Apple Music platform, or by combining both features with its wider iCloud service, which offers online storage and syncing to owners of the company’s hardware products.

The service is expected to launch in the US in the next few months, expanding rapidly to more than 100 countries, according to the tech news site The Information.

The company had a reported $1bn budget for original content last year, and has a few original shows available for Apple Music subscribers, including James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, and Planet of the Apps, a Dragons’ Den-style programme in which budding developers pitch their software to Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, will.i.am and the YouTuber Gary Vaynerchuk.


Alex Hern

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
iTunes Radio: Apple reveals Spotify rival - and says it will be free to iPhone and iPad users

Tech company trumpets new music service which will directly challenge Google, Spotify, Pandora and Last.fm

Charles Arthur, technology editor

11, Jun, 2013 @7:34 AM

Article image
Apple bags Pharrell Williams, Kylie and Maroon 5 for iTunes Festival 2014
Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Beck, Blondie and Sam Smith also confirmed for month-long series of concerts. By Stuart Dredge

Stuart Dredge

21, Jul, 2014 @6:44 AM

Article image
Samsung may hit Apple with iPhone 4S ban
Apple could face court injunctions to halt sale of new iPhone 4S as Samsung says it breaches patents it owns. By Charles Arthur

Charles Arthur and agencies

05, Oct, 2011 @11:29 AM

Article image
Apple's top 10 products

Steve Jobs's legacy includes groundbreaking computing and technology products from the Apple II to the iPhone. Here are 10 of the best. By Josh Halliday

Josh Halliday

06, Oct, 2011 @10:56 AM

Article image
Samsung v Apple: Obama overturning import ban is not about favouritism

Analysis: The reversal on US imports for the iPhone 4 is about stopping owners of standards-essential patents from charging extortionate prices

Charles Arthur

05, Aug, 2013 @3:41 PM

Article image
Apple marketing chief attacks Android before Samsung launch
Apple's Phil Schiller says Android operating system isn't as good as iPhone and phone services 'don't work seamlessly together'. By Charles Arthur

Charles Arthur

14, Mar, 2013 @2:46 PM

Article image
Apple and Samsung smartphone patent row set for new jury trial
Judge Lucy Koh rules jury must decide how much Samsung must pay for infringements by 14 devices from original trial. By Charles Arthur

Charles Arthur

04, Mar, 2013 @11:52 AM

Article image
iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C launch to 'brighten everyone's day', says Apple

Apple will launch top-end iPhone 5S and cheaper iPhone 5C in an event to be shown to a select group in China

Charles Arthur, technology editor

09, Sep, 2013 @10:05 AM

Article image
Apple and Samsung urged to make peace by patent trial judge
Tech giants' chief executives advised to explore a settlement, as high-stakes case over iPhone and iPad designs heads to jury. By Charles Arthur

Charles Arthur and agencies

16, Aug, 2012 @7:10 AM

Article image
Apple faces multimillion US settlement over 'in-app purchases' by children
Lawsuit filed in 2011 by five parents in California complained expensive paid-for extras were accessible by children without password. By Charles Arthur

Charles Arthur, technology editor

26, Feb, 2013 @3:46 PM