This should not have come as a surprise to anyone but it is rare that Apple bends to the demands of the market. Apple TV set top boxes have been around for several years. In all that time, they have always carried the price tag of $99. During their Spring Forward event, it was announced that it was about to change.
CEO Tim Cook announced the price drop of the set top box from $99 to $69. Not only that, but they are a launch partner for HBO Now, which is the standalone streaming service for the cable channel. Apple TV has price itself out of the more common market for some time since it included many of the content that many other boxes provide.
Apple has Netflix, Amazon and HBO Go among other content but it worked beautifully with iTunes, which would allow you to view your purchased or rented content on your television. However, with many other developers lowering their prices, Apple needs to compete.
While many of these apps are available on Blu-ray players or SMART televisions (lets not forget those pesky PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles), but for the price you can get Chromecast for $35, Roku for $50 or even a Amazon Fire TV stick for $39. I think Apple did the price thing by putting it at the $70 price point for competition’s sake.