The streaming market is booming, and everyone and their dog wants in on the action. Apple has of course been involved in streaming for a while, thanks both to its iTunes store and also its standalone Apple TV device. But as rumor has it, the company is going to begin taking things much more seriously over the next year.
It's not difficult to find a streaming device that does the job you need it to for a reasonable price. Google has Chromecast, and then there's of course Amazon's Fire TV and also Roku. The problem for Apple with those devices is that they're inexpensive, and with a starting price tag of $149 for its Apple TV, that requires some serious commitment from those who pick one up.
Well, thanks both to the fact that these cheaper solutions exist, and that Apple is planning to launch its own official streaming service in the near-future, it looks like a more compact solution is en route, and one that's inevitably going to cost a lot less than the Apple TV.
Like Chromecast, Apple's solution would plug straight into the TV, making it brain-dead simple to implement, and likewise configure. Apple could be launching its streaming service in the spring, and when it happens, the company targets over 100 countries for the rollout, which is significant given so many services launch with only a few countries supported.
Should Netflix be scared? Not necessarily, since this device is highly expected to support that service, but Apple does have strengths that could make people opt for only its own services. The company currently offers music streaming with Apple Music, and video and TV watching with iTunes. With its own streaming service, the company could group everything together, offering people a bigger discount, and in effect locking them into the ecosystem - similarly to what Amazon does with its Prime service.
The future of streaming is going to be interesting, one way or another, and ultimately, it's great to see such aggressive competition surrounding it.