Apple’s iOS 10.2 TV update without Netflix could hint at its own ambitions in the streaming space

As Apple rolled out its iOS 10.2 and tvOS 10.1 updates on Monday, users received the new TV app that combines different streaming services, but Netflix was not included.

The TV app was announced in October and allows users to search the app for a show and be presented with results from a number of different services with the aim of stopping people from having to open and browse loads of different apps.

Siri is integrated allowing you to ask the voice assistant for specific shows or recommendations.


Apple

Last year, Apple was reportedly preparing its own TV streaming service, but this has not materialized and it appears the U.S. technology giant has shifted its strategy to try and become a one-stop shop for people to consume other services' content.

HBO, CBS and NBC are all part of Apple's TV app, but Netflix, the largest streaming service around, is absent.

The company has not responded to a request for comment when contacted by CNBC. But earlier this year, Ted Sarandos, Netflix's head of content, did not rule out future integrations.

"We're keeping an eye on it. We are great partners with Apple on all their other initiatives and we're just trying to see how that's (TV app) going to roll out," Sarandos told CNBC in an interview.


Apple streaming service ahead?

While Apple has not launched its own streaming service yet, analysts suggest that unifying different platforms under a single app, could pave the way for one. Netflix is able to know what users are watching, when they are watching it and on what device. This is a "prized asset", according to Paolo Pescatore, director of multiplay and media at CCS Insight, who said this is why Netflix hasn't integrated with Apple's TV app.

But the iPhone maker's attempt to pull in a number of services could be its way to build a picture of consumer behavior, particularly in terms of the shows they are watching, which could give the company the data needed to know what content to invest in.

"This is an indication perhaps Apple want to know more about consumers because it gives them a degree of confidence to invest in original content knowing that consumers will be interested in that content which is what has been behind the success of Netflix to date," Pescatore told CNBC by phone.

TV is seen as a way for Apple to continue growing its services which has become increasingly important amid slowing iPhone sales. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said on the company's latest earnings call that television and original content is a "great opportunity". But the U.S. technology giant has moved cautiously into original content. Earlier this year, Apple bought the rights for "Carpool Karaoke" featuring James Corden, as well as commissioning a show called "Planet of the Apps".

Pescatore said with increasing competition in the streaming space, it is getting harder to differentiate and so Apple needs to invest heavily in content. One area could be in sports, not necessarily for live TV rights, but in web distribution.


Hollywood ‘nervous’

But the competition is stiff and has deep pockets. Netflix said it plans $6 billion of spending on content next year, while Amazon said it plans to double its spend in 2017.

Apple also has the added headwind of Hollywood studios and media companies being "nervous" about working with the tech giant because of what happened with telecom companies, according to Neil Campling from Northern Trust Capital Markets. The head of technology, media and telecom research explained that carriers were excited by the prospect of the iPhone when it was first introduced in 2007. But it did little to lift their revenues or churn rate as customers were more aligned around the Apple brand rather than loyalty to the carrier.

This could be what is happening now in the TV space.

"Media companies have been more nervous about getting into collaboration with Apple which is why you have not seen many deals with Apple to create TV deals or content," Campling told CNBC by phone.