Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

Summary: Oh, and of course it will be a custom A6 CPU ...

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TOPICS: Hardware, Apple, Mobility
56

Another day, another stupid 'Apple is to build TVs' rumor.

SmartHouse kicks off the rumor, which as usual is as a result of hushed conversations with 'sources':

Apple will launch their new Apple TV in time for the last quarter of 2012, with sources in Japan telling SmartHouse that 3 sizes are being planned including a 32" model and a 55" model.

...

Sources at a major Japanese company who are involved in manufacturing the TV believe that the 55" model will compete with new Smart TVs from Samsung and LG that will have new processors built in while offering a combination of OLED display, as well as new Super HD TV technology from LG.

Apple Insider picks up the rumor and runs with it, going on to build a stable for the unicorn:

Powering the rumored television will be a new processor expected to debut in Apple's third-generation iPad, which the publication said will arrive "midway through 2012." Presumably that processor will be an "A6" custom-built ARM-based CPU.

Oh, and of course it will be a custom A6 CPU ... and will be controlled by Siri (because Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says it will).

Lets get back to reality.

This obsession with Apple building a TV came to a head with the following quote from Walter Isaccson's biography of Steve Jobs:

‘I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,' he told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.' No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.'

The problem here is that I can't see a single compelling reason why Apple should go into the business of making TVs. What's more, not a single person writing about these 'Apple TV' rumors can come up with a good reason either. They pull together technologies like Siri and ARM-based CPUs, then do some hand-waving and come to the conclusion that Apple must be working on TVs. Ignoring the fact that Apple already sells a product that will connect to any TV that happens to have an HDMI connector called the AppleTV.

The buying public are also odd when it comes picking up new TVs. People seem to have two metrics - How much is it, and will it fit in the space I have for it? This is why TV makers make TVs is a huge range of sizes. For example, in the Toshiba LCD TV range alone, the company makes twenty different sets ranging from 22-inch to 55-inch while Samsung makes twenty-one different LED TVs ranging from 22-inch to 65-inch.

The one thing that I am sure of is that if Apple's TV will be anything like the franken-TV postulated by these rumormongers, it will fail, and fail hard.

There are other factors that go against Apple entering the TV market. It's a highly competitive and hugely cut-throat market. TVs are also low-margin commodities that, let's face it, people don't get excited about any more. Let's also not forget that big names like Google have tried, and essentially failed, to make any headway in the living room (and Microsoft is now hoping that the Xbox 360 will magically transform from a games console into a TV-connected-PC).

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Image credit: tomislavmedak

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Mobility

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56 comments
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  • RE: Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

    Oh God I see these things (if they are being made) costing a small fortune. This is a bad move Apple. The Economy blows too hard right now for people to be able to afford a 1000$ (just a random guess on price knowing Apple) Apple branded 32 inch TV when they can get a normal one for 200$.
    Bates_
    • RE: Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

      @Bates_

      There appear to be plenty of people with the $$ to buy iPads and Macs at this time-despite the price tag. Just because a lot of people are hurting, doesn't stop those households earning more than $100,000/yr from re-distributing their money towards Apple.
      easy288
      • RE: Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

        @easy288 Why are you assuming because people are buying IPAD's and Macs they have the money for it? They could be on welfare and charging it
        edkollin
      • RE: Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

        @easy288 i don't make $100,000 a year and I still managed to set aside a little money to buy myself an iPad tihs year and a MacBook Pro a few years ago (that still works and works well, by the way). And no, I'm not on welfare.
        clokverkorange
    • Small Fortune

      @Bates_

      A small fortune, that's what everybody thought the first iPad would cost but everyone--especially the competition--was floored by how low the introductory price was. Apple now has the clout and buying power to corner entire supply chains. Why can't they apply this same strategy to the making of a smart TV?
      jaypeg
      • RE: Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

        @jaypeg They can. But people don't seem to get it.
        smulji
  • Apple TV gives people gorilla arms

    Having to lean over, pick up, and hold a 1.3lb iPad for hours a day while you watch TV is going to give people gorilla arms.

    And Siri will give people gorilla voice. No one wants to talk to their TV for hours every day and it won't work anyway because Apple doesn't have good noise canceling algorithms unlike Kinect.
    toddybottom
    • RE: Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

      @toddybottom

      Gorilla voice??? That's pretty funny. I actually got a chuckle from that. IMO, that was a comment worthy of NZ in his prime.
      kenosha77a
    • RE: Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

      @toddybottom According to you (and all the rest of the iHaters) the only company that can make anything that works is Microsoft. No matter how many time you have been proven wrong, you keep up with the same trolls and absurd rants.
      Rick_Kl
      • Fascinating.

        @Rick_Kl

        Yet, according to you (and all the rest of the iLovers) the only company that can make anything that works is Apple.

        Do you not tire of having to keep up with the same trolls and absurd rants?
        :|
        Tim Cook
      • RE: Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

        @Mister Spock
        Hardly. No one I've ever met is saying iWorks is better than MS Office or Apple TV is better than XBox 360. But I can't help but chuckle when people claim voice technology on the Kinect to Siri.
        anono
      • anono: exactly right, the 2 are special in their own ways

        "But I can't help but chuckle when people claim voice technology on the Kinect to Siri."

        Siri is an interesting idea, still very much in the beta stage (more like alpha) but is a step forward from where traditional voice control systems have been. Of course, Apple doesn't quite have the in-house smarts to invent Siri so they had to buy the company that implemented another company's engine. Apple actually had nothing to do with creating Siri. They only marketed it.

        Kinect is special in exactly the way it needs to be special: noise cancellation. It uses extremely sophisticated hardware and software to pick up voice commands even while there is a lot of ambient noise. Siri completely fails in noisy environments.

        It would be great if MS could have worked with Nuance and Siri to come up with a combined super system that had great AI and sophisticated noise cancellation technologies. Unfortunately, now that Apple purchased Siri and Apple refuses to work with anyone, we will likely never see it. In fact, much like Apple has gone after companies like Samsung who have been making rectangular devices for ages, Apple will likely start going after any company that offers any type of voice recognition.
        toddybottom
      • RE: Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

        @Mister Spock still hitting that Romulan ale pretty hard.


        @NZ [q]Kinect is special in exactly the way it needs to be special: noise cancellation. It uses extremely sophisticated hardware and software to pick up voice commands even while there is a lot of ambient noise[/q]

        The n the company that originally created the Kinect (which Microsoft bought) Did something that Microsoft is unable to do...
        Rick_Kl
      • Interesting that you chose not to dispute

        @Rick_Kl
        the statement that I made.

        Logic would indicate that you are indeed an "iLover" who feels no one but Apple can make anything that works, and are but a troll towards anything not Apple related.

        Thank you for supporting my assesment of you.
        :|
        Tim Cook
      • toddybottom, Apple has a history of using other's technology

        @Rick_Kl
        The technology for the screens for the iPods where purchased from a company in Norway (or that region).

        The navigation menu for the iPods was taken from Creative Labs, while their processors where designed by a chip company they purchased.

        So the fact that Siri was not an Apple innovation, that it was purchased from another company should not be such a surprise considering the majority of Apple's innovations have actually come from other companies.
        :|
        Tim Cook
      • RE: Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

        @Rick_Kl

        [i]"The n the company that originally created the Kinect (which Microsoft bought) Did something that Microsoft is unable to do... "[/i]

        The n company that originally created Siri (Which Apple Bought) did something that Apple was unable to.

        See how that works both ways. The difference is that Microsoft made the Kinect compatible with previous generations of the XBOX and Apple purposely blocked Siri from anything other than the latest iPhone.
        bobiroc
      • Although most people don't get it... that doesn't mean they are wrong...

        @Rick_Kl : contrary to 'perfect storm' that Apple had with the iPhone, the pathway to a REAL Apple TV is murkier... but they still have an inherent advantage.

        Although Microsoft has done a great job transforming the XBox 360 from an elite game system into a mainstream TV companion--even a set-top box-- but up until know are still relegated on the TV spectrum.. why?... because most households have a separate TV for the game console and Kinect might be a step in the right direction but still is not a mainstream app my mom and dad could use.

        That's where Apple advantage appears. Senior citizens see XBox as a threat, even a time consumer. Too techy. On the other hand, no over 50 would replace their old TV with a Smart TV by LG or Samsung. Since they're the ones that control the remote controls on the big-screen TVs any push forward on that market will create a huge success.

        Siri might need the key, but most probable will be a combination of innovations. The only problem's that they now lack their main visionary, but things could turn out okey, given a good team.

        Only time will tell...
        cosuna
      • RE: Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

        @Mister_Spock

        And the original GUI for the Macintosh was lifted from Xerox. We all know the chain of events and the "sources" for Apple's products. They don't do anything new and exciting - Adobe has been doing the same thing basically since they ran out of ideas after Photoshop. Buy a company, rebrand their product, and market, market, market.
        clokverkorange
  • RE: Tell me again, why does Apple need to make TVs?

    My guess is that you were one of those people that questioned Apples need to make a iPhone!!
    To make money!!! thats why, I imagine they could get a 3 hundred dollar premium from Apple devotees over a regular TV, and drive Itunes usage in the process.
    nanderto
  • Adrian, why are you so bothered by Microsoft Kinect?

    [i]and Microsoft is now hoping that the Xbox 360 will magically transform from a games console into a TV-connected-PC[/i]

    That statement clearly indicates that the concept of a high end gaming / connected TV from Microsoft bothers you.

    Are you upset that this move may make your Apple TV largely irrelevant?
    Tim Cook