Apple quietly cuts the 40GB model of its Apple TV and reduces the price of the 160GB model to $229, following recent price cuts in the company's other devices. Apple has made news in September on two fronts: introducing a revamped iTunes store and an iPod Nano with a built-in camera, and CEO Steve Jobs appearing at a public event for the first time since his lifesaving liver transplant earlier in 2009.
has slashed the price of its 160GB Apple TV to $229, a fairly substantial
reduction from the original $329, while eliminating the original 40GB model
entirely from its product lineup. The adjustment was performed quietly, with
visitors to the Apple
Website on Sept. 14 noting that the Apple TV offerings had been pared down
to the larger, newer 160GB model.
Despite relatively robust sales for the Apple TV, which allows users to port
content from the iTunes store directly onto their televisions, the 2-year-old
device has not generated the same amount of industry or consumer buzz as the
iPod or the iPhone.
During a 2008 earnings call, Apple CEO
Steve Jobs referred to products attempting to merge the Web with television as being
not quite ready for prime time: "I don't think anybody has really
succeeded at it, and actually the experimentation has slowed down," he
said. "A lot of the early companies that were trying things have faded
away, so I'd have to say that given the economic conditions, given the venture
capital outlooks and stuff, I continue to believe it will be a hobby in
While that statement may have seemed like a dismissal of Apple TV's
marketplace prospects, Apple has nonetheless continued to update the device's
software. In June, the device gained remote app directional control, Flickr
Search and updated view modes.
The reduction in the Apple TV's price and number of models fits into Apple's
larger trend of winnowing down its offerings. Several price reductions were
announced at Apple's Sept. 9 event at San Francisco's
Center for the Arts, with the cost
of the iPod Touch line dropping to $199 for the 8GB model, $299 for the 32GB model
and $399 for the 64GB model.
During the presentation, Steve
Jobs introduced a revamped iTunes 9 and a new iPod Nano with a built-in
camera, 2.2-inch color screen and FM radio. Looking very thin, Jobs encouraged
the audience to become organ donors, citing his own liver transplant earlier in
The Apple event was also notable for what was missing. Rampant rumors had
suggested that Apple would use the spotlight to issue the Beatles song catalog
on iTunes, confirm the existence of an Apple tablet PC, roll out an iPod Touch
with a built-in camera or announce the death of the traditional iPod. None of
these came to pass.
In the face of strong economic headwinds that have driven down sales of most
PCs and devices, Apple's own sales and revenue have stayed fairly strong during
the recession. During its July
21 earnings call, Apple announced that quarterly profits had risen 12
percent year over year to $1.23 billion, or $1.35 a share, beating Wall Street
estimates. About 5.2 million iPhones and 2.6 million Macs were sold during the
quarter, while sales of iPods declined 7 percent year over year to 10.2 million
The strong quarter seemed to negate analysts' fears that Steve Jobs' medical
leave for much of 2009 would negatively impact Apple's sales and product
Editor's Note: The
price in the article title has been corrected to $229.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.