Why Apple is building a TV guide

Peter Kafka, reporting for Recode:

Apple has started talking to TV programmers and other video companies about creating a digital TV guide that would work on both Apple TV boxes and other Apple devices, like iPhones. 

The idea is to let users see what kind of programming is available in video apps made by the likes of HBO, Netflix and ESPN, without having to open up each app individually, and to play shows and movies with a single click.

This shift in strategy was predictable once it became clear the TV networks were not ready to give in to Apple's demands for a skinny bundle service. If Apple is not able to differentiate the Apple TV with content (which would presumably include some sort of guide), then the logical next step would be to follow what they do with all of their products: best in class hardware differentiated by software and UI. 

Just as the iPhone and iPad do, the Apple TV could lead the competition in quantity and quality of apps, developer tools, and higher market share among the most desirable consumers. This could make it the platform of choice for developers and current Apple customers, and Apple would be able to command a premium price. Not the next iPhone-sized business, but a nice profitable business with some ecosystem lock-in effects.