Apple has scored successes in consumer tech with the iPhone, iPod, and iPad, but there's one part of the market where CEO Steve Jobs' supposedly golden touch has yet to take effect—television.
Rivals like Tivo, Microsoft, and Sony have made big inroads with consoles that act as gateways to digital content and other services. But Apple's offering, Apple TV, has so far failed to catch on.
Jobs said that's about to change.
On Wednesday, the turtlenecked tech titan announced several major content deals and unveiled a new, streamlined version of the Apple TV console. Apple will make TV shows from ABC, Fox, Disney Channel, and BBC America available for download via the console for just 99 cents per episode.
"The new Apple TV, paired with the largest selection of online HD movie and TV show rentals, lets users watch Hollywood content on their HD TV whenever they want," said Jobs.
In addition to the television shows, Apple TV also offers access to streamed movies from Netflix, YouTube videos, 200,000 podcasts, and more than 4,000 Internet radio stations, as well as photo sites MobileMe and Flickr.
The new console features built-in HDMI, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet ports in an enclosure that's less than four square inches—80% smaller than its predecessor.
Jobs said the new version of the Apple TV box will be available later in September for just $99.
"This tiny, silent box costing just $99 lets users watch thousands of HD movies and TV shows, and makes all of their music, photos, and videos effortlessly available on their home entertainment system," said Jobs.
Apple shares were up 1.94%, to $257.05, in early trading Friday.