With rumors of an Apple branded TV hotter than ever, I have to ask myself, is it really a good idea?
Disclaimer: I am an ex-Apple employee. All views in this article are of my own and in no way stem from my previous employment at Apple.
If you’re a techie like me, there’s a good chance that you’ve read a rumor or two on Apple’s HDTV. Until Tim Cook hops on stage to announce this thing, these ‘reports’ remain rumors, but they’ve certainly got me thinking; is this really a smart move for Apple?
Let’s first take a look at the recent rumors, which stem from Best Buy’s recent ‘concept’ of an iTV.
• 42″ 1080p LED flat panel display
• Incorporates Apple’s operating system (iOS) found in its current Apple TV set top box which allows you to purchase and stream movies and other entertainment from the Internet
• Download and use apps from the App Store. Can you imagine playing Angry Birds on a big screen in your living room?
• Supports Apple’s new iCloud service for storing your movies, TV shows, and music content that you’ve purchased from iTunes and beam them to your Apple HDTV.
• Use your iPad or iPhone as a remote control, and do everything from controlling your TV, to purchasing new shows and swapping content between your Apple devices and the iCloud service.
• Built-in convenience with built in iSight camera and microphone for Skype.
• In addition to iTunes, stream content from popular sites such as Netflix, YouTube, and flickr.
• Available for $1499
If you analyze these point carefully, other than a built-in camera, it’s all software! There’s no secret that Apple products sell for a good percentage more than their competitors. This is usually due to the quality of the parts that Apple uses, and of course, branding. If I’m going to lay out well over $1000 for a new TV, when there’s nothing wrong with my current one, the hardware better be revolutionary. I personally don’t see anything wrong with updating the current $99 AppleTV to use with my TV of choice.
Apple is a company that strives on simplicity. This is definitely apparent in their products. While Dell may have a few dozen desktop configurations, Apple keeps things simple by offering their customers very few choices. Want a desktop? You have 2 screen sizes to choose from. Will they bring this model over to the television market? Can Apple really get away with offering consumers one or two different sized TVs? Will they release updated models every 6 months to 1 year, like they do with their computers? I don’t see any of this happening.
As someone who’s bought televisions, I like options. I want my TV to fit perfectly in my living room. I also may want a smaller TV for my bedroom. In order for Apple’s TV to succeed, they would need to offer a wide range of sizes, to please a wide percentage of customers. A television isn’t like a desktop or laptop, which sits nicely on 99% of desks. Televisions are bought with a specifically room and location in mind.
One of the main reasons, aside from quality, that Apple products are so successful, is the retail experience. Customers are able to visit a retail store, experience the product, then take it home with them. I don’t see this happening with televisions, or a variety of reasons.
• Retail stores have no room for televisions. Even if Apple introduced ONE sized television, they would need to display at least 3 on the sales floor, and keep enough in stock to supply the demand. As thin as televisions are these days, there just isn’t enough room to stock a few hundred televisions.
• Maybe it’s just me, but I wouldn’t want to drag a television out of an Apple Store. Purchasing my 27″ iMac was difficult enough! I don’t see customers wanting to deal with large, heavy products. Maybe I’m crazy.
I truly believe, that unless there’s some ‘magical’ hardware in this rumored TV, this will be a major flop for Apple. I see nothing wrong with updating the AppleTV to accommodate more content delivery networks, Siri, and cloud based storage.