Apple's long-rumored, unannounced TV rumored to be on hold again

Apple's long-rumored, unannounced TV rumored to be on hold again

Summary: Apple's long-rumored but as yet highly elusive TV is rumored to be "on hold."

TOPICS: Hardware, Apple

It's been a while since I've written about Apple's long-rumored but as yet highly elusive TV. However, according to sources within the TV industry, the project, which has never been announced officially by Apple, is on hold.

The news comes to us via NPR DisplaySearch analyst Paul Gagnon. According to Gagnon, the TV may have been put on hold pending the "rollout of wearable devices," which replaces one mythical Apple product with another.

Gagnon also highlights another roadblock – content.

"For Apple, selling hardware is partly a way to sell more software and content," write Gagnon. "If the iPod and iTunes system had never been successfully leveraged as a way to drive customers to buy songs and albums, it likely would never have been the massive success for Apple that it has become. Similarly, iPhones and iPads drive both content and app purchases, which deliver very high margins for Apple. Granted, these hardware devices also generate healthy profits for Apple, but only because they are sold in the tens of millions of units, and are replaced and upgraded relatively frequently."

While I've always been skeptical about an Apple branded TV – the TV industry is cut-throat, the market saturated, and the margins atrocious – Gagnon does offer three goals for a successful TV, whether it be Apple-branded or not.

  • Sell enough units to generate sufficient content purchasing points.
  • Offer a unique point of differentiation to capture market share from leading TV manufacturers.
  • Create follow-on replacement purchases.

The last one is a real sticking point, given that the average TV replacement cycle is around seven years. Compare this to the replacement cycle for a smartphone, which is about three years. On top of that, Apple might only be able to sell one TV per household, and not one per person, as is the case for the iPhone and iPad.

As I've said before, I see little logic in Apple manufacturing an expensive TV in order to try to attain dominance in the living room when it sells a cheap device – the Apple TV set-top box – that can connect to any TV with an HDMI port. 

Topics: Hardware, Apple

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  • SRSLY?!

    The project that's always been nothing but rumors for years now, is rumored to be on hold, again? Uh, OK.

    In other news, Big Foot still plagued with incredible shyness.
    • Rumor

      Apple fires all Apple TV staff for failing to deliver a marketable product. Then hires them back to work on an unnamed product rumored to be defined by rumor.
  • Best line on ZDnet today

    "Big Foot still plagued with incredible shyness"

    Made me laugh out loud, so thanks for that :-)
  • I'll be honest

    I didn't even read the article, which I realize Adrian is perfectly fine with because he got a page view AND a comment. I only clicked on this article to say this:

    I wish I was Apple. I could have some clueless no body employee drunk at a bar and make up some nonsense. Next thing you know, my competition thinks I'm investing millions on dead end technology. It doesn't fit in with their device model. Just like the "elusive" cheap iPhone that was for not. I'm so glad we have amateur bloggers that are so desperate to stay relevant these days that even legitimate websites are looking to them for the news. Please Adrian- stop the madness! Write on things you know and have researched! It is what you are paid to do! Stop this playing telephone nonsense that has absolutely no teeth to ever come to fruition under Tim Cook (who will make billions playing it 100% safe because Apple has NO back up plans!)
    • I guess you should've read....

      He mentions NPR DisplaySearch analyst and a link.

      On the other hand, Adrian, I think the iTV has a merit but there's a fine windows that Apple is monitoring before they commit to production.

      My best guess is that this is a follow up to Steve Jobs "i" strategy which was focused on the Internet, towards an "Internet of Things" (IoT) one.

      Think of Apples response to the fringe market Arduino offerings, but with a UI twist.

      So the iTV becomes the new iPad, that must metaphorically wait for an iPhone like device which makes the whole thing work in a micro scale before committing on the grand scale.

      It worked once and I think it would work again.
  • Why in the world would Apple ...

    ... want to get into a market that is already saturated? They can cash in billions more by continuing to improve/enhance Apple TV and just let everybody continue to fight for the scraps in the TV market.

    There is ZERO desire (by the great majority of the consumers) to have a smart-TV. Just look at the numbers of actual owners (and users) today. I don't think even Apple is going to change that.
  • the mythical Apple television is going to...

    ... shape shift and shape shift some more until what ends up being squeezed out is nothing more than a glorified (but don't mistake that as still not highly anticipated) 4K Cinema Display to accompany the new Mac Pro.