Apple is rumoured to be making preparations to enter the television market, releasing new TVs later in the year that are expected to feature the company’s Siri technology and access to its expanding App Store.
There has been no indication from Apple that it is working on such a device – but Forrester analyst James McQuivey believes that if the company was to launch new panels later in the year, it should be the “world’s first non-TV TV.”
McQuivey refers back to a recent Forrester report which focused on the television ambitions of technology pioneers Apple, Microsoft and Google, highlighting the dominance of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 when it comes to online video views. Even then, the Xbox 360 was a device originally developed for gaming but has undergone a transition throughout the years to combine all forms of digital content.
Apple has freely admitted that its Apple TV product is a hobby project, it has enjoyed some success but has failed to capture consumers like its iPhone and iPad products have.
McQuivey believes the reason why Apple hasn’t cracked the TV market yet, is because it hasn’t tried. Monopolies on content, a longer upgrade cycle (around 7 years) and low margins in a market dominated by Samsung and LG are cited as barriers to entry and the main reasons why — if Apple was to sell a television — it would have to do something “very different.”
Here’s me putting on the record what I’ve been telling clients behind closed doors for over a year: Apple should sell the world’s first non-TV TV. Instead of selling a replacement for the TV you just bought, Apple should convince millions of Apple fans that they need a new screen in their lives.
Call it the iHub, a 32-inch screen with touch, gesture, voice, and iPad control that can be hung on the wall wherever the family congregates for planning, talking, or eating — in more and more US homes, that room is the dining room or eat-in kitchen. By pushing developers to create apps that serve as the hub of family life – complete with shared calendars, photo and video viewers, and FaceTime for chatting with grandma – this non-TV TV could take off, ultimately positioning Apple to replace your 60-inch set once it’s ready to retire.
Apple has been linked with the ordering of 32-inch LCD display panels from Sharp, a size that wouldn’t typically impress in a market filled with 50-inch+ televisions.
A television typically resides in a living room or a bedroom, McQuivey argues for a new Apple product that combines the advantages of an iPad with the form factor of a television and is placed somewhere central to a family, accompanying — not replacing — the 50-inch Samsung set you bought recently.
The argument here is that to sell a device that can provide a dedicated amount of content worldwide, Apple needs to have some control over what is offered. Instead of engaging with TV networks and content providers the world over, Apple can maintain a platform where creators share media and software directly via a marketplace, satisfying the app-hungry consumer.
Apple’s iTunes service provides access to music, movies and TV shows already, and these can be synced to iCloud, providing access to to purchases on any Apple-connected device.
Apple is associated with transcending what is expected from a smartphone, tablet or computer – or as one Forrester analyst says: “its ability to open our minds to the possibility of post-PC computing form factors, and its spectacular track record with generating elegant experiences that teach us to do things we didn’t know we needed.”
Such a device certainly has its plusses but even the idea that Apple is working on such a product has only gained momentum thanks to a Steve Jobs biography, technology analyst notes and the odd supply chain leak.
That said, there is a lot of interest in the unconfirmed product and people want Apple to do it right.