Apple branded TV rumors resurface; Can Apple succeed where so many others have failed?

Wed, Jun 22, 2011

Analysis, News, Rumors

Rumors of an Apple HDTV have reemerged amidst a report from DailyTech that Apple has inked a deal with a major OEM to manufacture an Apple branded TV set.

Citing an anonymous former Apple executive, the report relays that Apple is not only planning on getting into the TV business, but has its eyes on “blowing Netflix and all those other guys away.”

How, exactly?

Well as has been previously rumored, this mythical Apple branded HDTV will come bundled with both iTunes and Apple TV functionality. If that’s in fact the case, we can expect that such an offering will quickly become an all-in-one entertainment hub. Indeed, the battle to become the digital hub of the living room has been an ongoing struggle with no company even coming close to laying claim to victory. Might Apple be able to change all that?

Imagine an Apple HDTV with music, video, and photo playback via iTunes and iCloud. Imagine being able to stream and rent videos right out the box, and even, perhaps, the ability to play games via the iOS app store. Now some of this surely sounds familiar to Google TV, but let’s not kid ourselves. Google’s TV initiative was half-baked and seemingly rushed to launch to attain first to market status. There’s no denying that the Google TV hasn’t done much of anything in the marketplace – and remember, some TV studios even blocked their content from showing up on Google TV searches due to privacy fears.

Despite Apple’s penchant for getting into a tried and true business and completely revolutionizing it from the inside out, the TV business may prove to be an entirely different beast. Though to be fair, in the months and weeks before the iPhone launch, most people thought Apple was crazy to get into the cellphone business having no experience whatsoever in an already mature market.

That said, keep in mind that the HDTV business is particularly cut-throat with razor thin margins to boot. In addition, it’s hard to find anything wanting from some of the high end sets from Sony and Samsung.

So how can Apple compete?

Well, not only via the software functionality mentioned above, but by partnering with one of the top manufacturers on the planet – Samsung. Or so it’s believed.

According to the source Apple is teaming up with a major supplier (our guess would be Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (SEO:005930)), to provide the physical televisions, which will be rebranded as Apple television sets.

We expressed credulity that an OEM would allow Apple to cut into their bottom line, but our source aptly pointed out the OEM would be winning even if Apple cuts into their branded sales.  States the source, “If you have to be competing with somebody, you want to be competing with yourself.”

Now that would be sweet as Samsung’s sets are truly things of beauty.

Now of course, Apple entering the HDTV business brings with it more questions than answers.

Would these sets also be available at retail outlets like Best Buy? We’d wager that would be an imperative as an Apple retail store doesn’t seem like the ideal place to walk out with a big ass box. Is Apple planning on selling enough sets on volume to make the initiative truly profitable? I mean, it’s not like people purchase TV’s as frequently and as haphazardly as they pick up new smartphones. Is this a play to simply lock-in more users via an unparalleled software experience? Can Apple truly succeed where so many others have valiantly tried and failed?

Lastly, the report notes that this mythical TV might launch as soon as late next year. Which really isn’t that soon at all as it’s practically 2013.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. James Katt Says:

    I told Steve Jobs that the Go-To-Market Problem was completely solved by Game Consoles like the X-Box.

    Thus, I expect Apple to come out with a new AppleTV that is a game console. With downloadable and multiplayer games, it will be a huge hit.

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