Amazon and Apple are beginning to run out of time if they still intend to release a Prime Video app for the Apple TV in 2017 as previously promised. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in June that the streaming app would be available on the company’s set-top box by the end of the year, giving Apple TV owners a direct path to watching TV shows and movies available from the popular service.
“Amazon is coming to the TV app and all Apple TVs later this year with Amazon Prime Video,” Cook said at Apple’s WWDC keynote, before rattling off a string of original Amazon shows including Mozart in the Jungle, Man in the High Castle, and Transparent.
Tomorrow will mark six months since that news. It’s now December, and several potential release targets — including Apple’s September event (where a 4K Apple TV was unveiled) and the debut of NFL Thursday Night Football earlier this fall — have come and gone.
Amazon and Apple failed to respond to requests for comment on the current status of Prime Video for Apple TV. Both companies have released new 4K streaming products in recent months in advance of the holiday shopping season, with Amazon’s $69.99 4K Fire TV priced significantly lower than the $179 Apple TV 4K.
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Content from Amazon Video can already be played on an Apple TV from an iPhone or iPad using Apple’s AirPlay feature, but that’s far less convenient than a native application. Unlike Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services, Amazon doesn’t have its own app on the Apple TV. The company has for years brushed off the idea of releasing one. In 2015, Amazon stopped selling Apple TV (and Google’s Chromecast) altogether to avoid “customer confusion” since the devices offered no built-in Prime Video app.
“We want our player, our Prime Video player, to be on the device, and we want it to be on the device with acceptable business terms,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said at Code Conference 2016. “And if you can’t, then we don't want to sell it to our customers, because they’re going to be buying it thinking they can watch Prime Video and then they’re going to be disappointed. And they’re going to return it.”
But then, several reports from earlier this year made it seem as though Apple and Amazon had hammered out a reconciliation of sorts. Recode broke the news that an agreement to bring Prime Video to Apple TV was finally near. And in May, BuzzFeed News reported that Amazon would “likely” resume sales of Apple TV as part of the deal. Tim Cook confirmed the app was coming at WWDC, and Amazon said it would be compatible with second-gen and newer Apple TVs.
Presumably the app availability and device relisting are tied together, and since the Apple TV is still without a Prime Video app, the device remains completely absent from Amazon.com, though it appeared extremely briefly in late September. Amazon’s next premiere date for one of its originals is the December 8th season-two kickoff of The Grand Tour, which could be another potential release date for the Apple TV app — if it’s not getting delayed until next year, that is.