CES 2019: As Apple Shifts Into Services, Its iTunes App Will Be Coming to Samsung Smart TVs

By Tom McKay on at

In a move that could signal a major shift in the way it does business, tech giant Apple will make iTunes movie and TV show libraries accessible from 2018 and 2019 smart TVs manufactured by Samsung, the two companies announced on Sunday. The partnership will also result in support for AirPlay 2, which allows users to stream media directly from an Apple device to an Apple TV or other compatible device, for the models of TV in question.

As CNBC reported, Samsung and Apple have long been competitors in the smartphone market even as Apple relies on Samsung for key components in its products—and per the Verge, it’s “the first time Apple has allowed third-party devices to access its video library outside of Windows PCs.” Though it’s a departure from the way Apple has done business in the past, the company has recently run into trouble (and a stock flash crash) as customers have slowed down on phone upgrades and been reluctant to shell out for its ever-increasing prices. So it’s trying to beef up its services division, efforts that have included an as-of-yet-unannounced streaming service. CNBC wrote:

For the last couple years, Apple has been placing more importance on its services business, which continues to grow while iPhone sales plateau. Apple CEO Tim Cook said last week in his revised outlook that services generated $10.8 billion in fiscal Q1 and that Apple plans to double the size of its service business from 2016 to 2020.

If Apple hopes to compete with the likes of Netflix for binge-watching customers, selling more Apple TVs may not be enough.

In Samsung’s press release, senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue wrote, “We look forward to bringing the iTunes and AirPlay 2 experience to even more customers around the world through Samsung Smart TVs, so iPhone, iPad and Mac users have yet another way to enjoy all their favourite content on the biggest screen in their home.”

Apple, which has been pushing its tech-giant-that-won’t-sell-your-data brand even harder as of late, told the Verge that Samsung’s native ad-tracking features won’t be able to extract any customer data from the iTunes app designed for the smart TVs.

Late last year, it was also reported that Samsung’s 2019 models would also support Google Assistant, providing another option beyond the built-in Bixby assistant Samsung puts on its smart TVs. [CNBC/The Verge]

Featured image: Mark Lennihan (AP)