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Technology Futures

Commentaries on Directions That Will Impact the Future of Technology

TV: Wherefore Art Thou Apple


Steve Wozniak

Image via Wikipedia

Steve Wozniak was quoted in a January 4 article in USA Today, stating ” I do expect Apple to make an attempt (to get into the TV business) since I expect the living room to remain a center for family entertainment, and that touches on all areas of consumer products that Apple is already making.”  In response to that statement, I say “duh.”

It is certainly true that Apple could equip a TV with an iPAd/iPhone
interface.  The article mentioned above cites a Barclay Capital analyst
as saying that Apple could sell $19B worth of TVs so equipped in 2013.  I think the guy is smoking something illegal, but I was wrong once before.

The fly in the ointment as it were is, of course, content.  Why should Apple be able to cut better deals for content than any other company?  Cable and satellite companies are making more money than ever.  What could induce them to share the goodies with Apple or anyone else for that matter.  Of course, they could theoretically cut deals with the content providers like the networks and independent production companies, but why would those companies give Apple an edge over other big players like Google TV/Sony, or even Microsoft.

For Apple to compete profitably in the TV business, it will have to offer something truly unique.  TV hardware, including network interfaces is essentially a commodity.  Embedded network interface hardware costs around a dime these days.  Who wants to play in that game outside of a few crazy Korean and Japanese companies who will probably get knocked off by Chinese competition?

I don’t see much happening to change the TV landscape in any fundamental way UNLESS there is consolidation with the content providers.  Given that Google, Apple, Microsoft et al are gagging on cash these days, perhaps that is not beyond the realm of possibility.  As you probably know, Sony owns a bunch of Studios like Columbia and Tri-Star.  Suppose you could watch the product of those studios only on Sony TVs or at least less expensively than on competing products.  I think that is called “thinking-out-of-the-box.”  Apple is pretty good at that.

 

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