Seven Ways an Integrated Apple TV Could Change Everything
A revolutionary new TV could be coming to an Apple Store near you. Here are the seven ways that it could change everything.
Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) first venture into television manufacturing has been rumored for months. But it wasn't until now that we finally received confirmation of the TV's existence.
For the past week or two, Walter Isaacson has been releasing excerpts from his upcoming book, the first and only official biography on Steve Jobs. On Sunday, Isaacson released his most intriguing excerpt yet, revealing that Jobs once claimed that he had designed a simpler TV interface. “I finally cracked it,” Jobs told Isaacson during one of his interviews for the biography.
It's very interesting that Jobs would reveal this, and even more interesting that this information would come to light now, several months before Apple is slated (rumored?) to make any official announcements.
What will an Apple television set mean for the future of TV? After forming my own predictions, I spoke with Trip Chowdhry, the Managing Director of Equity Research at Global Equities Research, for his take on Apple's next major release.
1. Simplicity Will Reign Supreme
During our discussion, Chowdhry reiterated his belief that Apple was dedicated to making a television set that would eliminate all of the cumbersome aspects of the current crop of TVs. More specifically, Chowdhry believes that the Apple TV sets will require only one wire. He also thinks that the setup process will be a bit of a cakewalk – perhaps even simpler than a Mac computer.
2. Bigger Computing Will Take Over
While it may not be a feature of the initial batch of Apple television sets, there is no doubt in my mind that these TVs will eventually become oversized monitors for Macs. The benefits of Mac compatibility (via Airport, Thunderbolt or some other technology) would be nearly endless.
3. No More Eye Strain
One of the key features of Apple's first TV could be something you wouldn't expect: the viewing angle. Chowdhry says that Apple is designing the first set that will allow consumers to sit anywhere in the room and have the same experience enjoyed by the person sitting directly in front of the TV.
4. Remotes will be Obliterated
Electronics manufacturers are so determined to get us to buy new remotes (along with universal remotes and other TV- and DVD-controlling remotes) that they have not bothered to toy with the concept of simplifying the whole process.
Apple, on the other hand, is all about simplification. “Using the iPad as a remote would not be natural” to all users, Chowdhry said, refuting the belief that Apple will simply require users to change channels with an existing iDevice. Apple, he added, was not thinking of technologists when developing its TV.
Rather, Chowdhry is convinced that Apple's remote could be a carbon copy of the one Bose developed for its HDTV.
What about Siri? Couldn't this technology eliminate the need for a remote and make the process of changing channels much simpler? “Microsoft would think that way, but Apple is not that big of an idiot,” Chowdhry said with a laugh. He explained that voice recognition only works in a quiet environment, thus making it next to impossible to use with a TV.
5. The 3D Revolution is Coming
…But not at launch. While Apple has been associated with 3D screen development ever since it filed a patent for a glasses-free 3D projector last year, Chowdhry does not think its technology – or any other 3D feature – will make it into the TVs at launch. However, Chowdhry does believe that 3D is “in the roadmap” for future Apple TV iterations.
6. Apple Stores Will Continue to Get Bigger
Have you been to an Apple Store lately? If so, then chances are you have noticed that your local store has been or will be remodeled in the near future. The reason, Chowdhry says, is because the current Apple Stores are not large enough to house all of the Mac and iDevice equipment and a 60-inch television set. Chowdhry is convinced that Apple has started to expand and remodel its stores in preparation for a March unveiling of its first TV.
7. Consumers Will Learn to Expect (And Accept) Higher Prices
There has been a lot of speculation regarding how much Apple would (or could) charge for a new TV. I personally have argued that there's no way the company would charge $1,200 (as estimated by Gene Munster) for a new TV when it charges $1,000 for a 27-inch monitor. I firmly believe that, assuming the smallest model is any larger than 27 inches, Apple will charge significantly more.
Chowdhry, however, believes that Apple will offer three different television sets, starting at around $1,200 (for the entry-level model) and going all the way up to $4,000. While he is unsure of the size options that Apple will offer, Chowdhry says that the cheapest set will not offer any built-in surround sound features. The high-end, $4,000 model, however, should come equipped with 16 to 24 built-in speakers for an unprecedented surround sound experience, similar to the Bose VideoWave Entertainment System, which retails for $5,349.
Regardless, one has to consider the sales potential of a TV that retails for 1/4 the price of a new car. Who, besides the wealthiest and most loyal Apple fans, would pay $4,000 for a new TV?
Chowdhry is convinced that the price won't matter as much as we would expect. He told Benzinga that people will be persuaded as soon as they “see and experience” Apple's television sets.
Further, Chowdhry points out that if you break down the costs of a high-end 60-inch TV (somewhere in the range of $2,000), plus the cost of a high-end surround sound system ($1,200), plus other extras, you are dangerously close to the predicted cost of a 60-inch Apple TV.
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