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Published on January 7th, 2019 | by Brad Gibson

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CES 2019: Samsung TVs to add Apple iTunes movies & TV shows

In what many are seeing a major development between two electronic arch rivals, Samsung announced Sunday it will integrate Apple iTunes movies and TV shows into its 2019 smart TV models in over 100 countries beginning this spring through a dedicated Apple TV app.

The surprise new deal will also allow people with iPhones and iPads to use Apple’s AirPlay 2 technology to display their device’s content on the Samsung TVs.

The deal is being seen as a strategic shift for Apple from focusing on hardware to emphasizing its growing services business. Other recent examples of this include Apple Music on the Google Play store, announced in Nov. 2015, and the Amazon Echo’s support of Apple Music announced in Dec. 2018.

“This is further evidence that Apple is willing to change its hardware-first approach and work with third parties to boost Services revenue,” said Gene Munster, a longtime Apple analyst and tech investor with Loup Ventures, in a note on Sunday.

“This news is noteworthy given it’s the first iTunes integration with a third party display manufacturer,” he wrote.

As Apple prepares to unveil a streaming service with over $1 billion of new television shows from the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg, and TV shows from JJ Abrams to Resse Witherspoon, the Samsung announcement shows Apple is looking for viewers well beyond the owners of Apple TV set-top boxes.

Instead of creating software to make its hardware more appealing, as has been the status quo, Apple is now permitting its software services on competing hardware. The Samsung arrangement further suggests that there is little chance Apple will launch its own TV in the next several years, something that has been speculated as far back as the mid-90s when co-founder Steve Jobs was routinely briefed on smart TV technology but never decided to create its own TV device.

The Samsung deal could be a step toward Apple distributing content to devices made by other electronic makers. Additional deals with other companies and Apple are not expected to be announced at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Apple internet software and services chief Eddy Cue described the deal as a way to give Apple customers “yet another way to enjoy all their favorite content on the biggest screen in their home.” Samsung’s Won-Jin Lee similarly described the partnership as “ideal” for both Samsung TV owners and Apple customers. Samsung said iTunes will be available on 2019 smart TV models starting in the spring and “support on 2018 Samsung smart TVs will be made available via firmware update.” It did not list which models will get the update.

Apple and Samsung have had a contentious, complicated relationship as smartphone rivals and collaborators. Last June, the companies settled a seven-year legal battle as Apple complained that Samsung had stolen its designs for its smartphones, while at the same time Apple was also buying screens and other components from Samsung.

 

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



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