Using its platform of Apple TV, a small box costing less than $100 that allows users to stream internet content on their television screens, the company already showcases properties from Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association. But this is different. By going for full English television rights to the EPL, one of the most lucrative sports products in the world, Apple could be signaling the start of an assault on cable's turf. ... Consumers and the technology sector has responded to the Apple news with heavy interest, and there is a sense that this move, if successful, could forever change the way that live sports is consumed. Any successful rights deal involving [live sports] would be likely to allow for subscribers to watch live games on not only Apple TV, but iPads and iPhones. ... "If such a product were to come out it could change the whole playing field," Hesseldahl says. "No one knows for sure what they are planning, but if you had an actual television set with the ability to web-stream embedded in it, and users were still able to access their traditional cable or satellite functions, it could be huge. "That is why Apple has to be taken seriously in any market. They have the money and the technological smarts to have a vision of how we will view things in the future. In many ways, they hold all the cards." That doesn't bode well for ESPN, which charges cable subscribers whether they watch the network or not. Any reliable way to bypass cable is a potential threat to ESPN's bottom line, if not its incredible reach.