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Old Aug 27, 2011, 11:40 AM   #1
Mad Mac Maniac
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An Apple branded television - What's the point?!

Ok so not to be confused with the actual AppleTV boxtop product. I'm talking about a physical TV. I just read ANOTHER article who's "sources" insist that Apple is working on a tv set to be released in late 2012... These rumors have been going around for at least a year.

I'm not asking if you think it will actually happen (mostly because I have a feeling most of you would say no), but lets enter the hypothetical room for a second. Imagine we KNEW Apple were going to release a tv set (maybe Steve or Tim announced it at a media event), WHY would Apple be doing that? What advantage does this give them over the current AppleTV implementation?

The ONLY benefit I can think of is including an iSight so you can facetime from your TV set.

I can think of a whole bunch of negatives.
Razor thin profit margins on TVs.
Significant less market penetration ($100 product vs $1,000+ product).
Long product lifespan (on a $1,000-$2,000 product I'm going to wait 10 years to replace it, but on a $100 product I could replace it every 2-3 years if there were significant features)
Competing in an already saturated and extremely competitive market

Whatever "stuff" Apple wants to be able to cram into a TV set they can easily just cram it into the AppleTV. Maybe Apple wants you to buy one of their TV's for each room, but an AppleTV can be moved around to whichever TV you want...

Maybe I'm missing something. Can you think of any advantages to have a physical tv rather than the AppleTV?

sidenote: I think Apple should merge the Airport extreme, timecapsule, and Apple TV into a kind of ultimate media hub. It could stream out all your music/movies to all the tv's, computers, and iDevices in your house.
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 11:51 AM   #2
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read this if u have time!
http://www.computerworld.com/s/artic..._kill_cable_TV
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 12:08 PM   #3
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I get all that... but you don't need a TV set to do that. Apple can accomplish all that with the current AppleTV implementation
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 12:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mad Mac Maniac View Post
I can think of a whole bunch of negatives.

Razor thin profit margins on TVs.
Significant less market penetration ($100 product vs $1,000+ product).
Long product lifespan (on a $1,000-$2,000 product I'm going to wait 10 years to replace it, but on a $100 product I could replace it every 2-3 years if there were significant features).
Competing in an already saturated and extremely competitive market.
- Apple doesn't care about anyone else's margins, guaranteed their margins will probably be around 50%
- Macintosh? I read on Cult of Mac that the iPhone has 5% of total phone sales, yet Apple takes 95% of the profit
- Again, Macintosh? Even iPhone and iPad, to a degree, compared to other throwaway phones
- iPhone? Macintosh?

Apple would never go Intel, Apple isn't going to introduce a tablet, Apple is never going to release a cheap Mac, etc.

Apple is FULL of surprises.
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 01:33 PM   #5
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- Apple doesn't care about anyone else's margins, guaranteed their margins will probably be around 50%
So then the cost of the TV will also need to be 50% higher (at least). Which do you think is an easier sell a $1,500 TV (which is the same quality as a samsung, panasonic etc for $1,000) or a $100 box? Especially when everyone already OWNS tvs. Most people aren't going to run out and hand Apple $1500 to replace a perfectly good TV set.

Quote:
- Macintosh? I read on Cult of Mac that the iPhone has 5% of total phone sales, yet Apple takes 95% of the profit
Well the Mac is a product that has been our for 27 years.... If Apple were to release the first ever Mac right now (with a 50% markup from all the competition) I'm not sure it would get a whole lot of traction. But maybe it would, because I feel there is a much more significant difference between a Mac and a PC than their could be between a samsung tv and an Apple tv set. (hardware-wise)

Quote:
- Again, Macintosh? Even iPhone and iPad, to a degree, compared to other throwaway phones
Average lifespan to replacement *This is purely subjective on my part, if you can find data, awesome*
Mac- 4 years
iPhones- 2 years
Large HD TV sets- 8 years

Quote:
- iPhone? Macintosh?
The Mac was the first of it's kind... and Apple had already been successful selling computers... So I'm going to forget you mentioned that. iPhone, yes. The iPhone was a completely revolutionary product. But I'm arguing that the only thing Apple needs to revolutionize is the content. The path of less resistance is adding all the functionality to the AppleTV. What does Apple gain by including that functionality into TV sets?

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Apple would never go Intel, Apple isn't going to introduce a tablet, Apple is never going to release a cheap Mac, etc.
Well I joined after the intel switch, so can't comment on that. I always thought Apple was making a tablet. and I'm sorry, where is the cheap Mac? The Mac mini? That's like saying the iPod shuffle is just a "cheap iPod". It serves a different niche. And laptops have never gone below $999. Compared to PCs, that's plently expensive


You still haven't said why Apple SHOULD make a TV set. You have simply argued that Apple track record shows that Apple has the capability to be profitable when they enter a category. But why should Apple make a TV instead of just creating all the content with the Apple TV?
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 03:22 PM   #6
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Everybody and their grandmother carps about how expensive Apple-branded computers are compared to PCs with similar or better specs, and yet Apple continues to see continued and sustained growth in sales - often at the expense of those cheaper and better PCs.

Honestly, I see no reason why Apple could not add the $50 worth of AppleTV components and software into any name-brand LCD television and add $500 to the price and have little problem selling them in whatever numbers they feel they need to (likely in the tens of thousands of units per year).

If Apple launches it, within a year we'll have people complaining how expensive it is - hanging on their living room wall.
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 03:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mad Mac Maniac View Post
You still haven't said why Apple SHOULD make a TV set.
The only reason would be money. If Apple thinks that TV business has good profits in it, then they will enter that business. That might mean the death of current TV though (otherwise people won't pay their profits).

The current market has a lot to do with different ecosystems. When you buy an Apple product, you are actually entering Apple's ecosystem. You buy something from iTunes and it mainly works with Apple's devices. For example, there is no iTunes in any HDTV as far as I know. If you have invested thousands on Apple's ecosystem, then you won't buy a 3rd party product which is not compatible with the content you have bought previously.

I don't think Apple should make one since AppleTV is already enough. After all, the reason why Apple started falling in 90s was too many unsuccessful products. In the end, R&D costs are always in millions and easily in tens or even hundreds.
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 04:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Mac Maniac View Post
Ok so not to be confused with the actual AppleTV boxtop product. I'm talking about a physical TV. I just read ANOTHER article who's "sources" insist that Apple is working on a tv set to be released in late 2012... These rumors have been going around for at least a year.

I'm not asking if you think it will actually happen (mostly because I have a feeling most of you would say no), but lets enter the hypothetical room for a second. Imagine we KNEW Apple were going to release a tv set (maybe Steve or Tim announced it at a media event), WHY would Apple be doing that? What advantage does this give them over the current AppleTV implementation?

The ONLY benefit I can think of is including an iSight so you can facetime from your TV set.
Well, I suppose.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Mac Maniac View Post
I can think of a whole bunch of negatives.
Razor thin profit margins on TVs.
Not as razor-thin as you might think. Certainly, not as razor-thin as the computer market, with which Apple is intimately familiar.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Mac Maniac View Post
Significant less market penetration ($100 product vs $1,000+ product).
This might be your biggest case for keeping the ATV as-is as a use case. Good thinking.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Mac Maniac View Post
Long product lifespan (on a $1,000-$2,000 product I'm going to wait 10 years to replace it, but on a $100 product I could replace it every 2-3 years if there were significant features)
How many $100 products does Apple sell? Apple is well-versed dealing with the long interim on higher-priced $1000-$2000 products. Doing the same with an HDTV wouldn't be drastically different than that (especially given how long Macs last).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Mac Maniac View Post
Competing in an already saturated and extremely competitive market
This is your next best reason to keep the ATV as-is.
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 04:54 PM   #9
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I think the chances of Apple manufacturing display-panel TVs are remote (no pun intended.)

The margins are too thin, the lifespan of a typical TV set is too long, and the opportunities for Apple to truly distinguish themselves are too few for it to be a good fit.

What would they do? 3D seems like the coming technology, but so far consumers seem lukewarm, there is a paucity of content (and creating new content is much more expensive), and there are still technical hurdles without good answers. So - 3D seems out.

To me, the biggest opportunity seems in the distribution of content. It seems crazy to me that we are still stuck in a world where you are often forced to watch a show at a set time, or physically record it on a box sitting in your house. I also question the value that broadcast or cable networks actually bring to the table. The problem is that most players in the market (networks, TV and movie producers) are wary of letting Apple get too involved. They've got business models to protect, and consumers' convenience be damned.
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Old Sep 3, 2011, 10:32 PM   #10
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Life span is my primary issue with this rumor. People don't upgrade their nearly as often as they do their computers or smartphones. And I don't think cost is the only reason for this either. A television is just one of those things that is expected to work for many years. Heck, I know plenty of people who are still using old standard definition TVs that they bought in the eighties and nineties. Yet I don't know anyone who is still using a computer from that same time frame.
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Old Sep 3, 2011, 11:25 PM   #11
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To me it doesn't fit the Apple mentality to move forward with a Apple branded TV. If they were going to do it, they would want to do it right, and that is design it with the end user in mind, make major changes to the way the user interfaces to the TV and of course integrate some of their great technology.

Could they produce a TV that had a great UI? Sure but many people have cable that has their own UI. I mean, I rarely do anything with the UI of my TV's; 99% of the time it is only with the Cable remote.

To pull something off of this magnitude they would need significant changes :
-- Integrated ATV3
-- Integrated Airport Extreme
-- On Screen controls, maybe touch screen (or something better via WiFi)
-- DVR functionality or maybe NAS functionality?
-- Seamless integration with netflix, and other online subscriptions.

What else could they change? I can't see any MAJOR innovation besides just integrating some parts together. Thus, I'm sure, Apple has thought about it, but I can't see them concluding that it would be worth it because the value added to the product doesn't justify the additional $500 price tag.

What I WOULD like to see them do? Take the AppleTV3 (ATV2 + 1080p) and partner with TV manufactures to make an ATV3 SLOT. Instead of having it as a box that connects to the TV via HDMI; something that can be integrated right into the set. Just plug it in. Then they can do the onscreen stuff to control the ATV3 and it isn't another device dangling off the TV it becomes PART of the TV. This way they can upgrade it without having to replace the TV and it wouldn't take up any more space then just the TV.
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Old Sep 3, 2011, 11:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mad Mac Maniac View Post
Razor thin profit margins on TVs.
This is incorrect. TV's and audio equipment are what keep stores like Best Buy (and in the past, Circuit City) afloat. The markup on home theater products is very high. Computers, video game consoles, and media of any kind are what have little to no profit margin.

As for the TV, I don't think Apple will do it but if they did I would say they are probably making a TV that can access the internet or something. By making a TV perhaps they can skirt around licensing agreements that streaming devices may be subject to. Who knows.
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 01:25 AM   #13
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An actual Apple branded tv will only appeal to a very small group. Real videophiles, who spend the money for quality, will only buy it if the display is of high quality in terms of black levels, color temperature, etc, not because it has Apple logo on it. Most general consumers will not pay $500 more for a LCD tv, just because it has an Apple logo on it. That's why $500 to $1000 42-50 inch tv's sell so well. So that basically leaves the Apple enthusiasts, and many of them are also videophiles. Apple is way behind the 8 ball when it comes to HDTV. Just look at the problems they are having with yellow tint problems on the imac. That may be acceptable to some for a computer, but not an HDTV. Could they develop a viable HDTV market in 5 years? Yes, but is the cost and return worth it? I don't know. The economy worldwide is in horrible shape and will not get better for years. Many a big company have made ventures outside of their market. Many of them have never recovered. It would be a big gamble for Apple in today's economy, much less during a healthy economy.
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 02:25 AM   #14
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The majority of people do not have Harmony remotes, 3 TiVos, 7.1 receivers, etc. They have a TV. If Apple makes the TV, itself, a lot cooler then people will buy them in droves.
Some of us had smartphones before the iPhone, but now every toddler and grandparent has a smartphone - and they're easy to use.
The TV revolution will not happen with new parts, it will happen as a whole.
Like the Mac, the iPhone, the iPad, etc.
Server-side DVR, Apple ecosystem integration from the cloud, etc.
Sure the box works, but it is just another frustrating part of a messed up ecosystem. Apple wants to replace EVERYTHING in your media room.
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 04:10 AM   #15
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The problem is Apple doesn't even know how to make an HDTV. Samsung, LG, Sony, Sharp and others are so far ahead in the race. When people think of computers and smartphones, they think Apple. When they think HDTV, they think the others. As far as Apple having an edge in making an all in one system, they don't. The others listed already have that. Some tv's can stream already and connect to pc's with one remote. I hope Apple does succeed. It forces the others to continue to improve. Competition is good. Apple makes quality products, and I am a big fan. If they decide to jump in, I hope they take their time and make it revolutionary like the iPhone. I can wait 2-4 years for something that would change the industry, not something that mirrors it.
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 04:31 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darster View Post
The problem is Apple doesn't even know how to make an HDTV. Samsung, LG, Sony, Sharp and others are so far ahead in the race.
Apple doesn't make any hardware. They use third party components, such as Samsung and LG, and then pay Foxconn to build the final products. 5 years ago, nobody would have thought of Apple when thinking about smartphones.

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Originally Posted by chrono1081 View Post
This is incorrect. TV's and audio equipment are what keep stores like Best Buy (and in the past, Circuit City) afloat. The markup on home theater products is very high. Computers, video game consoles, and media of any kind are what have little to no profit margin.
Do you have a source then? If you are so dead sure on this, then you must have some statistics too. Otherwise it's word vs word, which leads to nowhere.

I would classify TVs in the same category as computers and gaming consoles, i.e. very tiny profits. These are products that stores use to get people in. Audio equipment and other peripherals might have higher profits because people usually buy them on top of the TV (you decide to buy a TV and then want a 5.1 audio too, but since we are lazy, you don't start shopping around).
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 05:28 AM   #17
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Apple doesn't make any hardware. They use third party components, such as Samsung and LG, and then pay Foxconn to build the final products. 5 years ago, nobody would have thought of Apple when thinking about smartphones.
I highly doubt this time around Samsung, LG, or others will be willing to allow Apple to use their HDTV technology. They underestimated Apple a few times. Don't think they want Apple to muscle their way into HDTV with their help.

5 years ago, no one really knew what a smartphone was. Everyone was on a equal playing field. These companies dont want Apple to get on a equal playing field with them in regards to HDTV.
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 06:52 AM   #18
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I highly doubt this time around Samsung, LG, or others will be willing to allow Apple to use their HDTV technology. They underestimated Apple a few times. Don't think they want Apple to muscle their way into HDTV with their help.
It would be a huge win for the OEM if Apple made a contract with them. Lets think that Samsung, LG and Sony all sell 1,000,000 TVs each quarter. Then, Samsung makes a contract with Apple, who sells 200,000 TVs in the next quarter. That 200,000 is taken away from all three OEMs equally (i.e. all lose 66,667 sales and sell 933,333 TVs). While Samsung-branded TVs sold less, Samsung made profit from the 200,000 TVs as well, and hence "sold" 1,133,333 units. If anything, that should bring more profits than keeping the sales as is, and at least they did better than their competitors who only lost sales and thus profit.

Companies like Apple are a gold mine for many other companies. Apple doesn't get the components for free, they pay for them and that is how other companies generate profit.

Quote:
5 years ago, no one really knew what a smartphone was. Everyone was on a equal playing field. These companies dont want Apple to get on a equal playing field with them in regards to HDTV.
Nokia has been making smartphones for over a decade. Sure, they weren't mainstream back then but fairly popular among business users though (especially the Communicator series).
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 06:57 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by CylonGlitch View Post
To pull something off of this magnitude they would need significant changes :
-- Integrated ATV3
-- Integrated Airport Extreme
-- On Screen controls, maybe touch screen (or something better via WiFi)
-- DVR functionality or maybe NAS functionality?
-- Seamless integration with netflix, and other online subscriptions.
I imagine that building a TV around the aTV is exactly what they are playing with, with an eye toward changing the focus away from the cable company as the source of content. However, I can't imagine a worse feature for a TV than touch screen controls.
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 07:16 AM   #20
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Given that I have a 4 year old Panasonic which I expect to replace in the next 6-12 months, I am sufficiently intrigued by the rumour to hold off buying a new TV for now. I did have in mind buying a new one and giving this one to my brother who has just had a new child and is still using my 10 year old Sony CRT.

I still doubt the truth in the rumour but given the fact that the frequency of rumour seems to have increased, there may be more truth than we expect. Time will tell. If the ATV is upgraded this autumn, then I suspect we won't see anything else happen.. if not, then maybe the likelihood increases a little (though given their comments about ATV being a hobby, even that is no major indicator).

What could Apple bring to the market? Integration with iTunes is an obvious one. Yes you can get ATV, but with iCloud you could stream music and films directly to your TV without needing a local iTunes running. The current requirements are probably a barrier to widestream adoption of ATV, though its doing pretty well

Maybe expanding the existing cinema screen, or similar, to 32" and including iOS running on 8GB of Flash memory for buffering and wifi for Airplay would not be too much of a step from now. Connected to iCloud and potentially allowing iOS games to be played, it would be quite a device.
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 07:34 AM   #21
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The iTV?

I think I'll keep enjoying my "headless" Apple TV. Now if they would just make the headless Mac (not the Mini and not the MacPro).
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 07:43 AM   #22
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The iTV?
You're probably aware that iTV is already taken in the UK? Well ITV actually!

I think you're right though, an improved functionality ATV to take full advantage of iCloud etc is an obvious development. As I said above, the lack of such an upgrade this autumn could (I emphasise COULD) suggest something bigger is waiting in the wings.

Possibly, just possibly, the change to the release calendar (with iPhone later than before, rumours of iPad being brought forward before being pushed back again) could suggest that they are making room for something new early next year.
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 10:01 AM   #23
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Apple has only released a handful of products (since 1997) that I didn't understand the purpose of (the iPod Hi fi, the fat nano and the 14" iBook come to mind).

I understand Apple could make an outstanding HDTV (Front Row/Apple TV interface, DVR patents, iTunes Store, etc). The iMac is slowly approaching this, but I just don't see how they can be competitive in this market.

You can get a really nice 42" HDTV for around $500 that will last you 7 years or more.

It seems like it makes much more sense to release a $99 (or cheaper) box that can be updated on a regular basis.
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 10:03 AM   #24
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It would not surprise me at all if Apple introduces an apple branded HDTV. There are several reasons for this...first, Apple is in need of a refresh of the current 2nd gen ATV, the A5 chip is in all their current products and rumors have been swirling that they were looking to upgrade the ATVto it as well, would they waste another small set top box with the only upgrade being the chip or wait until they release a TV? 2nd, the current model does not support 1080p resolution. Apple knew that 720p was not the industry standard and that people want to see their content in the best quality possible, so they must have released the current model knowing that they were eventually give us 1080p in a future product. It would not surprise me at all if they use their "retina display" technology on a new HDTV and make a claim that the resolution is "technically better" than most 1080p tv's, making it the most sought after new tv. Another aspect they could be might be 3D. I know everyone says Apple would never do this but to me, that's exactly why they would. Everyone knew that touch screens would eventually be the big thing but no one knew Apple had mastered this technology until they released the iPhone. if apple stared working on 3d back when it became popular again (late 08) they would definitely be in the market to release something by now. My money is on glasses-less 3D technology. I think the new ATV will include:
-1080p playback capabilities
-"retina display" technology
-A5 processor
-glasses-less 3D
those are the only things that would make a refresh worthwhile! Fairly confident they will release the appletv app store soon!
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Old Sep 4, 2011, 11:40 AM   #25
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Here's my theory. Apple is still 2-3 years away from making a TV. Until they have an offering to effectively replace your cable TV subscription, they can't sell a premium priced TV.
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