Is the Apple TV about to die?

The Apple TV is a long way away from being a roaring success

The Apple TV digital media receiver has never been one of Apple's great success stories since its release in January. Now, sales figures from a leading analyst show that it is selling even worse than first thought. So will Apple kill it off?

In May, Forrester Research forecast that one million Apple TV units would be sold by the end of 2007. Apparently this target figure is a long way off, Macworld reports.

It comes as no surprise. Right from the start questions have been asked about the limitations of Apple TV with regard to functionality, content and its hardware.

"In addition to the 400,000 Apple TV units we estimate Apple has sold thus far, the company will be lucky to sell another 400,000 in the year-end holiday rush, short of our one million estimate," Forrester analyst James McQuivey told Macworld.

Questionable results

One of the key reasons for the Apple TV's apparent lack of success has been a lack of decent video content on the iTunes Store. This is particularly true of the UK store, which is limited to pricey TV shows and short Pixar film movies.

However critics of Forrester's own research point out that its US-centric survey also includes responses from Canada where movies and TV programmes aren't even available in iTunes. This distorts the results.

Mac site Roughly Drafted has questioned Forrester's analysis. This is because Forrester claimed in January that iTunes sales were already in decline, even though other analysts were finding the opposite. Apple was forced to issue a rare statement dismissing claims made as a result of Forrester's research.

Apple TV is also less than 12 months in to an 18-month 'experiment' to see how well or badly it does. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has even called it a hobby. This suggests that Apple is rapidly learning lessons about what works and what doesn't and will bounce back with a revamped device in early 2008.

We'd certainly like to see it include a UK-centric TV tuner, DVD drive and PVR, Dolby Digital / DTS surround sound support and more connectivity options so you can hook it up to displays other than a flat panel TV.

We could see the results as early as Macworld Expo.