Gene Munster, the analyst from Piper Jaffray who typically takes a bullish stance on all things Apple, has been propagating the idea of an Apple HDTV for years. And if any of the rumblings we’ve been hearing are accurate, well, he’s gonna be proven right one of these days.
While speaking at the Ignition: Future of Media conference yesterday, Munster laid out what he feels will encompass an Apple’s in the TV market. Now as a brief but important caveat, Munster admittedly doesn’t have inside sources at Apple and the following represents nothing more than Munster’s own predictions.
So with that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get down and dirty, shall we?
This Apple HDTV, which some have already started calling an iTV, will come in a variety of sizes, Munster believes. Recognizing the nuance of the TV market and that there is no “sweet spot” with respect to screen size, Apple plans to offer a slew of HDTVs so that it can appeal to those looking for a smaller device, say for a dorm room or bedroom, and larger sets for those looking for a complete living room entertainment solution. Now this is all purely speculative on our part, but we imagine that the smallest size set Apple will offer will be about the size of the larger iMac – about 27 inches or so. A more likely scenario, we feel, is a range of HDTVs ranging from 32-inches all the way up to 46-inches.
Price wise, Munster anticipates Apple’s HDTVs will be about double what you would pay for an equivalent non Apple branded set. So that $900 46-inch HDTV you’ve been eyeing from Samsung? The equivalent from Apple will cost $1800.
So why, exactly, will people want to shell out a heck of a lot more money for a TV from Apple?
The magic of Apple’s TV, Gene says, will be seamless integration with your other Apple devices and service. The TV will come with a standard remote, but you’ll also be able to control it with your iPhone or iPad or via Siri. You’ll also be able to download console and other games, content, etc., from iTunes, the App Store, and iCloud.
Apple’s TV, Gene says, will be the first TV that thinks the way you do. Instead of trying to remember what channel is ESPN is on, for example, you’ll just fire up (or say) “ESPN.”
Intriguing, sure, but is that by itself really worth the hefty premium Munster anticipates? We’re inclined to say no.
The days of Apple pricing itself out of the market are long gone. Thankfully, Apple has learned from the pricing mistakes it made under John Sculley. Case in point: The original price of the iPad completely blew people away. When Steve Jobs introduced Apple’s tablet a few years back, he noted how analysts were expecting the device to cost upwards of $1000, only to announce a base level price point of $499.
In short, Apple’s HDTV will undoubtedly be priced at a premium, but double the going rate for an equivalent set seems exorbitant to us.
Lastly, Munster says that an Apple HDTV will still require a cable subscription due to Apple’s inability to offer up enough of its own content. In short, the notion of an HDTV filled to the brim with a’la carte content remains a pipedream.
Muster expects Apple’s TV to launch during the holiday season of next year. That maybe in the cards for all we know, but some other reputable sources have indicated an announcement date in 2012 followed by a release in 2013.
Time will tell.