Apple's Secret Weapon?
Yesterday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster revealed the possibility of an Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) service that would allow consumers to sidestep the hefty package pricing of standard cable services with an a la carte offering.
“It sounds like an oxymoron, but for you to pick and choose which cable channels you want, you get it over the Internet,” Munster said “That's one of the things that not a lot of people are talking about.”
Munster said that the iTunes TV Pass (as he calls it) is an important part of the story over the next many years.
How will this impact the success of Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), and other cable providers? Would they have to adapt to compete? And if so, what might that adaptation include – a new Internet offering of their own (which already exists in the form of TV Everywhere) or simply a reduction in the monthly cost of cable service packages?
Whatever the case, Apple tends to make a big splash in whatever market it wants to enter. In the music world, few could have predicted that people would one day look to iTunes before going elsewhere for their music needs. But that's exactly what millions of consumers do every year. Heck, even staunch supporters of hard mediums (like records and compact discs) are buying the majority of their music online.
Could Apple achieve a similar level of success in cable television? Regardless of your pricing preference, one advantage could be hidden within a recent patent filed by Apple for a 3D projector. The patent claims that users would be able to view the 3D effects without wearing glasses.
This would be a huge item for Apple with or without a cable service. But if the iTunes TV Pass is developed, Apple could use this projector as a catalyst for selling 3D video content online – and vice versa.
At this point, the iTunes TV Pass is merely speculation, and the 3D projector is nothing more than a patent that may never leave the R&D phase. But one thing is for certain: with ideas like these on Apple's mind, the company could soon produce a product that will top its current iDevices.
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