If the late 2018 deal that brought Apple Music to Amazon Echo speakers wasn’t surprising enough, Samsung today announced a similar partnership with Apple for 2018 and 2019 Samsung Smart TVs: support for iTunes movies, iTunes TV shows, and AirPlay 2 will be coming in spring 2019. From a report: The deal is all but unprecedented for Apple, which has historically restricted playback of iTunes videos solely to its own devices, including Apple TVs, iPods, iPhones, iPads, and Macs, with no support for competing media players such as Roku, or various smart TV platforms. That said, PCs running iTunes have been able to play iTunes videos, and the company has allowed third-parties to license both AirPlay and AirPlay 2 for years. According to Samsung, a firmware update to 2018 Smart TVs will add a new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app in more than 100 countries. AirPlay 2 will become available on Samsung Smart TVs in 190 countries around the world. There are lots of unanswered questions about this iTunes deal. The Verge: Is Apple going to allow Samsung’s smart TV tracking to snoop on iTunes viewers? Smart TVs are notorious for tracking what people watch, but Apple’s entire brand is privacy. What usage data will Samsung see from the iTunes app?
Samsung smart TVs run Tizen, Samsung’s wacky custom operating system. Is Apple building a Tizen iTunes app? Is there a Tizen team inside Apple? Or is Samsung building this app? Who will be in charge of updating it and fixing bugs? Smart TV apps are not known for being updated well or very often.