updated 11:30 am EST, Thu December 31, 2009
Apple TV 3.0 and price cut accomplish little
Most of Apple's networking peripherals sold only adequately during 2009, according to data from the NPD Group. The firm notes that Apple TV sales were up less than 10 percent in 2009, continuing a lethargic trend that emerged in 2008. The product has not been helped materially by the release of the Apple TV 3.0 firmware -- adding features like Internet radio -- or a price cut down to $229.
The Apple TV has regularly been considered overdue for a hardware upgrade by analysts, as it is incapable of 1080p video, and its 160GB storage capacity is considered underwhelming. The device could also potentially be given a motion-sensitive remote, and support for subscription TV services. More radical predictions have called for a TV tuner and/or DVR functions.
Apple's AirPort base stations are meanwhile said to have lost "a little bit of share" during the past year, although they still rank fifth in the wireless market behind Linksys, Belkin, D-Link and Netgear. The AirPort Express in particular is described as slowing down in terms of unit volume. NPD's VP of industry analysis, Stephen Baker, suggests that AirPort products may be too expensive compared to other options.
The Time Machine is said to be doing comparatively well however, and in fact represent one of the market leaders in network-attached storage. The one problem with sales is said to be the relative unimportance of NAS. "Consumer NAS is a minuscule marketplace compared to external hard drives for consumers," says Baker. "So it's the big fish in a very small pond."