Another day, another batch of idiotic Apple TV predictions.
First off, Piper Jaffray's analyst Gene Munster kicks off with three content scenarios for Apple's mythical TV. His three scenarios are so broad as to really encompass pretty much any and every possibility (other than that of there being no Apple TV in the pipeline ... Munster is convinced that this unicorn is on the way):
Basic TV that users buy and hook up to their existing set up along the lines of a TiVo. Munster says this would be the least revolutionary of the three scenarios but is the 'easiest and most likely option.'
A middle-of-the-road approach where Apple would offer access to live TV from network channels in combination with other web-based video services. Content providers would be able to 'appify' the TV.
A full-on approach where Apple would offer monthly subscriptions to live TV packages with content from content providers.
Munster's been talking about an Apple TV now for over four years, and he confidently predicted that a standalone Apple TV would be available in 2011. He also predicted that Apple would be selling 6.6 million Apple TV set-top boxes in 2009 when in truth by 2011 Apple was barely selling 3 million units.
There's also a new Apple patent application uncovered by AppleInsider adding to the fun. This patent is for a touch-based universal remote control that would be capable of controlling a number of devices:
According to AppleInsider 'The remote would include a "discovery mechanism" that would discover available appliances for it to control, negating the need for users to enter complex codes and program individual devices.'
Ummm, excuse me, but how exactly does this work? It doesn't sound like something that will work with my existing stuff and sort of sounds like it maybe some sort of extension onto a technology like Apple's AirPlay. It certainly sounds like something that I'm going to have to put my hand in my pocket beyond the cost of the remote in order to get to work like it says on the tin. That sounds expensive.
As I've said on numerous occasions before, you can't take patents and patent applications as a sign of things to come from a company like Apple (or any other multibillion dollar corporation). These companies literally patent everything and anything they can which might one day give them an advantage over the competition.
Another thing that no one seems to be addressing is where's the market for these overpriced Apple TVs? There seems to be an incredible amount of rabid Apple fanboyism surrounding these rumors that assumes that people will buy anything that Apple makes, at whatever price point that Apple decides. In which case, why isn't the iPad an $800 device, and how come Apple is having a hard time penetrating into the living room with the existing Apple TV set-top box? The problem with these Apple TV rumors is that they all fail to address how the TV will differ from the set-top box (or what the set-top box could be configured to do). It seems to be that the only advantage a TV would offer over device that connects to any HDMI-capable TV set is that people wouldn't need to figure out where that HDMI cable would have to go. Now how much would you pay for that?