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

Oh, and of course it will be a custom A6 CPU ...
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

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).


Image credit: tomislavmedak

Editorial standards