Analyst: Apple should sell the 'world's first non-TV TV'

Analyst: Apple should sell the 'world's first non-TV TV'

Summary: The problem with TV isn't the screen we watch it on, it's what's on the screen.


Speculation that Apple is preparing to enter the TV business is at fever pitch, but according to one analyst, the best way for the Cupertino giant to break into this market is by thinking outside the box and begin manufacturing the "world's first non-TV TV".

According to James McQuivey, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, the "TV business is a tough nut to crack" because the "content is still controlled by monopolists unlikely to give Apple the keys to their content archives," and that Apple introducing a new screen for people to watch content on is unlikely to change anything.

Apple, he claims, has to do "something very different". And in his opinion, that "something very different" is the iHub.

"Apple should sell the world's first non-TV TV," writes McQuivey. "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."

McQuivey believes that the key to success is not content, but apps.

"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."

The problem with McQuivey's giant, wall-mounted, multi-user iPad is that it doesn't really bring anything new to the equation. Putting aside the ergonomic issues related to using a 32-inch wall-mounted touch screen device, what does this device do that can't already be done with an iPad, a Mac, or, for that matter, a whole host of other devices?

Another problem I see with this idea is that while it side-steps the competition in the TV market by being a "non-TV TV," the device will undoubtedly have to compete for wall/floor/shelf space with a TV. People have limited space to put anything as big as what McQuivey is proposing, and there's a good chance that the space that he's thinking that people are going to fill with an iHub is already filled with -- you guessed it -- a TV.

McQuivey mentions how Xbox 360 owners generating more online video views on TVs than viewers of any other device, but then fails to make the connection between the Xbox 360, which is a box that connects to almost every TV in existence, and the Apple TV, another box that connects to almost every TV in existence.

If Microsoft can change people's viewing habits with a device that doesn't have a screen, why does Apple need to make a device with a screen to achieve the same outcome?

As much as I would like to see Apple do something to revolutionize TV, I'm not convinced that any revolution will have anything to do with a screen whatsoever. The problem with TV isn't the screen we watch it on, it's what's displayed on that screen.


Topic: iPad

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  • Sheesh. Apps are content.

    And apple already has an iHub. It's called the AppleTV. And it can work with any screen.
    • Were you referring to the iFlop?

      AppleTV just plain sucks!
      • No it doesn't

        I still have the 1st gen AppleTV because it can store photos, videos and music, as well as, give us access to internet radio, movies and TV shows. It serves as a means to get "digital memories" off my Mac and onto our big screen TV without needing my Mac or any computer to be connected. We have tons of photos, videos and music (almost 120 GB total) so "the cloud" is not a viable option, although I am an iCloud subscriber).

        My advice to others is, if you don't like it ... don't buy it. Don't "diss" it because you don't understand it.
        HiTech Marketer
      • Where did it "flop" exactly?

        Come on dude cough up some numbers or shut your piehole!
      • AppleTV is a success.

        They are selling about a million units per quarter. The first generation alone has sold nearly 6 and a half million. the new model has sold over a million & a half in the first quarter of 2012 alone.

        Most companies would pray for that kind of flop.
      • @Tigertank. Apple's Vista moment = the flop when you're not having a flop

      • Apple TV

        Maybe it's because you do not understand how to use it because you do not grasp the technology. Just saying' Dude!
    • If it had apps

      I would agree completely if the AppleTV had access to the App Store.
  • Just what I need

    That is just what I need: A TV that is not a TV. While they are at it, how about a car that is not a car? Or maybe a toilet that is not a toilet?

    Seriously, what you are calling for is a big iPad that hangs on the wall. In other words, a tablet that is not a tablet. Do we really need a tablet that is not portable? When I sit down with the family for a meal, we eat and talk and catch up. We leave the toys for a bit and communicate the old fashioned way. No apps required.
  • No thanks

    This has to be the dumbest idea I've heard in a while. xBox and others, including Appletv, already do what you described and more but leave this stuff out of the dining room please. And, coming up with a new room to put technology in is not a game changer it's a bad idea.
  • Just calling it 32" iPad.

    Nothing special so far.
  • tv

    When my satellite died in 2005 I never replaced it. There is nothing worth more than $100 a month for me. I get a kick out of the online pbs and nasatv. Both free! My news and weather on line for free. The money I save let me rent many many movies. Sitcoms suck!
  • That was just dumb....

    First, it is extremely difficult to generate volumes in the TV market because of high prices, especially when you're using newer technology and even more so, when Apple is involved. Yes, the TV does need a better user interface. But there is only so much you can do to change content on the TV. All you can do is just collect content and display it to the user. This is something that most Smart TVs today already do.
    • Care to explain...

      what you meant with "...even more so, when Apple is involved"? There is no metric to determine this since they have never produced a TV before. Otherwise I agree with your post.
  • As others have said

    It's kinda dumb.

    Also, Apple managed to enter the smartphone market because they were the first to sell a high-end device. And there were no smartphone with the same general capabilities.

    In the TV set market, there are already quite a few high-end brands, and I mean *really* high-end (think Bang & Olufsen) and, when looking only at the "consumer" market there's already plenty of choice, for pretty much all price ranges, from the cheap TV to the high-endish more expensive.

    And, what the analyst forgot (or doesn't know): people actually watch more TV today, of the broadcast variety, that they did 5 years ago. This isn't very surprising: yes Apple sells 1 million AppleTVs and Microsoft sells some 2 million XBoxs per quarter but some 55 million LCD TVs are sold in the same quarter.

    It's a completely different market from the cell phones, and unless Apple offers something really revolutionary, an Apple TV is unlikely to have any real sucess.
  • It shouldn't include a screen

    1st, the pricing of anything large format is going to eliminate a certain % of the potential market. 2nd, why would you want to lock yourself into something people generally keep for years (often until it breaks)? Stay with the STB concept and you can remain at a price point that allows people to refresh every couple years, just like smartphones and to a lesser extent, computers.

    I still think the solution is some type of hub and spoke model. A single "master" device that delivers content to the various screens in the home. Then you can sell a small type device that can be easily concealed (or is subtle - think Wii bar) that will handle receiving content (from the master) and be the source for each TV, as well as potentially handle any interface functions (voice, gestures, etc.). Sell the master/hub for $200-400 (depending on config - storage and number of slaves supported being the differentiator) and sell the "slave" devices for $50-75 per screen.

    Let Samsung, Sharp, Sony, LG, Vizio, etc. fight it out for the screens. Since flatscreens have gone mainstream, you've seen the players in this market struggling to figure out ways to get people to refresh. First it was the MHz, then it was the 1020dpi, then came along 3D with stupid glasses and now you're starting to see "smart TVs" with gestures. The reality is, as long as what they have still functions properly, people aren't going to be in any big rush to refresh. Why would Apple want to be in that space?

    I know for my primary TV (living room), I've had the 50" plasma for probably about 5 years now and unless it breaks, I'll probably have it for 2-3 more before I seriously think about replacing it, and even then, it's probably going to the game room if it still works. Why would you want to play in a space where the refresh rate could be 7-10 years or even longer when you can offer a product that uses what people have today, making everyone potential customers on day 1?
  • Hmm.....

    I think this article has it right, any revolution is probably going to have nothing to do with the screen and everything to do with the content.

    Those that produce the content will have two choices, either switch to the new system or go out of business.
  • Success will be in the strategic approach they take

    Short memories, folks. Remember when the iPhone came to town? The hype was so inflated everyone expected a disappointment. It came with features other systems already have, things you could already do, and had an incredibly high price.

    What made it succeed? It was easy to use. That was a game changer back then. They later recognized the power of an open app store and leveraged it.

    If Apple ever enters the TV market, I think it will do so very strategically. For all the reasons my fellow commenters point out, building a TV set with an Apple logo on it isn't enough. I think they will in fact build a very differnen kind of TV, though. First, of course you can watch television on it, but more importantly, I'm going to guess you'll be able to watch the internet on it. So you don't have to go over to your PC to watch website content.

    The strategic game changer is to use the internet as the substitute to a cable network. If Apple - or frankly, anyone, could do that successfully, they wouldn't be competing with television manufacturers, they would be competing with cable providers and they'll have hundreds of thousands of web companies that will be more than happy to become content providers. And Apple will be more than happy to help them monetize it via apps on that television via the TV app store.

    And by the way, if they could simplify the maddening mix of set top boxes and input selections required, they'd be doing the world a big favor. Mix it in with what we already have in the Apple TV set top box, and you've got an actual strategy that leaves a Sony, LG, Samsung or Time-Warner or Comcast struggling to catch up.
  • No Thanks

    It is hard enough to keep my kids from touching the screen on my non-touchscreen tv, I don't want to clean my TV after every use because my son just got done playing angry birds. Besides, aren't we going a little backward? I do remember having to get up and change channels and what not (remember using a church key when the knob fell off of a set a pliers?? Good times) now we will have to get up and go to the tv to interact with it again.. No thanks.

    Give me a nice panasonic that is twice the size and a quarter of the cost and I will be happy.
    • Where is your info from?

      Where did you see the pricing info for an Apple TV which confirmed based on what you said a 64" Panasonic TV would be quarter the price? I do expect a TV from Apple to be expensive but everyone also thought the iPad would be priced at the top of the market and we all know that isn't the case. You wouldn't have to get up a go to the TV to interact unless you wanted to use the touch screen but I guess you missed that. Or did you just not even ready the article and went directly to the talk back section so you could make up FUD about Apple?