Apple iTV: it’ll never happen
Apple is making a TELEVISION! Apple is not making a TELEVISION. It is and it’s called iTV! It’s not and it would not be called that anyway, it is a ridiculous name.
So goes the schizophrenic dispute about whether or not Apple will certainly ever build a tv.
People have been discussing it for many years. At one point, it was stated to be Steve Jobs’ last victory in the making … but it never ever occurred for him. Hell, even Tim Cook has discussed it freely from time to time.
Last week, Cook himself stated: ‘TV is one we remain to have wonderful interest in – I pick my words thoroughly there – however TELEVISION is among those things that, if we’re really sincere, is stuck back in the ’70s.
‘Believe how much your life has changed,’ he stated, ‘and all things around you that have changed, and yet TV, when you enter into the living-room to view TELEVISION or any place it might be, it nearly feels like you’re rewinding the clock and you getting entered a time capsule and you’re going backwards. The user interface is terrible, I mean it’s dreadful. You see things when they begin unless you remember to record them.’
On that last bit, his birthday is showing up – maybe someone wants to buy him a TiVo or introduce him to HBO Go or BBC iPlayer?
Why an iTV is unlikely
But obviously, he’s absolutely right in a sense. There’s much about the experience of sitting in front of an episode of Dallas today that’s really similar to sitting in front of an episode of Dallas in the late ’70s, and it’s not just the dreadful writing, the ligneous acting and Larry Hagman’s difficult eyebrows.
TV is still a radiant rectangular shape that we stare at for hours at a time while plunged on a sofa. The user interfaces are undoubtedly nearly generally dreadful. Push-button controls look the same as they did when I was born.
But the concept that Apple might swoop in, perform a miraculous revolution and change the whole thing in the same method it finished with digital music and the iPod is a fantasy.
Cook, to his credit, hints at this idea when in the very same job interview he states, ‘The hardest choices we make are all things not to work on, frankly. Since there’s great deals of things we want to deal with, that we have interest in. However we know we cannot do the whole thing excellent’.
Indeed, I do not see how Apple might ever do TV remarkably and earn money at the very same time. The company has actually constantly had to do with getting ahead of the game, creating premium products with high margins and setting the table for everybody else.
It likes to make both software and hardware itself. It generates income on every iPhone sale, every iPad sale. None of this will ever be possible with an Apple TELEVISION – and it’s definitely not ahead of the video game on this one.
Firstly, the margins are not there in TELEVISION production. No one is earning money on TVs in 2014. In truth, the majority of the big names are making losses – big ones at that. And these are big brands with wonderful items that Apple would do well to get anywhere near competing with in regards to quality.
What’s more, have a look at the best selling TVs on Amazon and you’ll soon see that they’re not the bells-and-whistles models you see promoted on TELEVISION, they’re the much cheaper choices with even less understandable names. We’re talking $300 Televisions, not $3,000 ones.
If it did make a TELEVISION, Apple would have to buy its panels in from outside and possibly produce from scratch all of the image processing intricacies that Sony, Samsung and the rest getting been developing for a years or more.
More most likely it would get around that by buying in the hardware platform from someone else like a Samsung or an LG, however any unclear hope of earning a profit on the hardware would be out the window at that point. You ‘d wind up with a Samsung TV with an Apple badge on it and a price tag more than once as high – it would not work for Apple or for us as punters.
Secondly, establishing a TELEVISION merely doesn’t fit in with the way Apple gettings constantly tackled new product locations.
A phone is a phone mainly anywhere. A tablet is a tablet anywhere. Apple Watch, a MacBook Air, an iPod touch – all the same no matter what nation you’re in. The apps are the exact same, the interface is the exact same. You can make them, deliver them the world over and they will sell because they’re great items. Just small changes are needed per territory.
Not so with TVs. You cannot just deliver a TV to 60 various countries and expect it to work everywhere. It won’t. The tuners are the first obvious challenge – OTA broadcast requirements are various everywhere, even between neighbouring European countries. So various countries would require different tuners and processing innards to match.
Then along with numerous different forms of OTA, you getting got cable television, satellite TV, IPTV, catch up TV. In the UK you’ve got services like Freetime and YouView for returning in time inside your Freeview or Freesat EPG.
All need a different approach to an EPG interface, and most TV markets in Apple’s target regions are uniformly divided throughout this comprehensive spectrum of choices.
An Apple TV would need to negotiate this smorgasbord of differentials and bring out a clean interface and magic experience to match that of iOS. I’m uncertain it’s possible.
And exactly what size screens would Apple make? One size fits all works with Televisions even less than it does with smartwatches – and again, clearly Apple has actually revealed with its Watch that it’s sensible enough to acknowledge that.
Equally, when you know you have to shift a lot of items in order to get your cash back, locking a TV down to work specifically with iCloud, iTunes and iOS gadgets as per Apple’s recent preference, would be suicidal.
Diversity is your enemy
The world of tv manufacture is merely too diverse, too unpleasant and too unprofitable for a company like Apple to risk getting included with.
I think Apple is smart enough to understand this – it would take investment on a definitely impressive scale to obtain a task like that off the ground, and for something that might never possibly make any cash.
You might say that Apple could subsidise the hardware in order to end up being the gatekeeper for TV and film streaming and earn money that means – but that does not wash, either. Apple has actually already missed the boat on that one.
All this, integrated with the truth that the irreversible trend in the TELEVISION world is for prices to fall instead of increase, and you’ve got a tree that’s just not going to flourish to a full-blown Apple iTV. But that’s ok, there’s loads of brilliant TVs out there that you can buy.