Saying Apple Will Never Do Something: Always Dangerous

By  |  Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 9:37 pm

For years, there’s been a persistent, as-yet-unrealized rumor that Apple will start making HDTVs. Received wisdom, however, has generally argued that it’s not going to happen. TVs are too commoditized; TVs would have to come in too many sizes; TVs are too off message for Apple. Marco Arment, the smart guy who invented Instapaper, just made the case against an Apple HDTV.

Then again, another smart guy, Chris Dixon, warns against assuming that Apple isn’t going to make HDTVs just because the current market doesn’t look Apple-esque at all. He also tweeted an intriguing thought, which I learned about from MG Siegler, who also thinks that an Apple HDTV isn’t unthinkable:

Good idea!

Herewith, a few blog posts from years past that confidently explained why Apple surely wouldn’t release a phone, an iPod that worked like an iPhone, and a tablet. They’re all examples of what I’ve come to think of as the “Apple will never” fallacy.

“Why Apple won’t make a cell phone”

By: Jon Stokes, Ars Technica, April 12th, 2003

The gist: Stokes says that he was convinced by an analyst quoted in a Ziff Davis story about why “Apple won’t go near the cell phone business anytime soon.” Sadly, he also says that “I won’t try to summarize his arguments, here, but they’re worth reading”–but he links to an article that’s turned into a dead link. I can’t track down the story to see what rationale the analyst offered, but it was apparently compelling in its logic.

[UPDATE: With the help of an Archive.org link from commenter Mart, I found the story that Jon Stokes linked to. Turns out it's by my friend Ross Rubin, who cites the following reasons why an Apple phone isn't in the offing: Apple won't want to squabble with carriers for customer ownership; a phone wouldn't have a clear connection to the Mac; competition is fierce; and Apple doesn't have the necessary technology. All plausible arguments against an Apple phone, and it did take Apple years to overcome them...]

The reality: Apple entered the phone market less than four years later.

Mitigating factor(s): The analyst apparently said that Apple won’t make a phone “anytime soon”–and in April of 2003, the iPhone was still years away. [UPDATE: Actually, Ross thought there wouldn't be an iPhone "at least as long as Steve Jobs stays as close to Apple's head as a black mock turtleneck."]

“Why an Apple Phone Would Suck, Leading Me to Believe it will Never Happen”

By: Alan Storm, AlanStorm.com, August 4th, 2006

The gist: Cost-reduction had reduced recent Mac hardware to a level of unreliability that would be unacceptable in a phone. An Apple phone would have to run on an existing network, “dooming the iPhone to a shitty experience.” Syncing wouldn’t work well. And the phone market was too commoditized for a high-priced Apple phone to succeed.

The reality: A little over five months later, Apple announced the iPhone. It certainly isn’t free of hardware glitches, but they don’t seem to have hurt it in the market. Nor has its reliance on existing, far-from-perfect (coughAT&T) network infrastructure. MobileMe appears to have solved the syncing issue acceptably, and the iPhone had a major impact even at $599 before Apple brought the starting price down to $199.

Mitigating factor(s):  Storm ends by saying that he thinks an Apple phone is “unlikely,” rather than declaring that it simply isn’t going to happen.

“Why you won’t be buying an iPhone-like iPod anytime soon”

By: David Chartier, TUAW, May 28th, 2007

The gist: Apple would want to recoup its investment in the iPhone–which, when Chartier wrote his item, hadn’t yet shipped–by milking it for profits, leading the company to postpone an iPhone-like iPod “for at least a year or two, or possibly longer (and even then we might be subject to the fated Newton Syndrome, where Jobs banishes the design to the Cupertino Dungeon, never to be heard from again).”

The reality: Apple announced the iPod touch–an iPhone-like iPod–on September 5th, 2007, a little over three months after Chartier’s story.

Mitigating factor(s): At the end, Charier sneaks a “likely” into his summary: “If you want to get fingers-on with your iTunes media, the iPhone will likely be your only shot in the near – or possibly far – future.”

“Keep dreaming and hoping, we won’t see an Apple tablet anytime soon”

By: Matthew Miller, ZDNet, February 3rd, 2009

The gist: An Apple tablet “would be a very cool device and would sell a few thousand,” but it would likely be cost at least $700–too pricey in a world of $300 netbooks. Besides, tablets have only done well in niche markets such as healthcare, and people won’t want to give up physical keyboards.

The reality: Apple announced the iPad a little under thirteen months after Miller’s post. It started at $499. After nine months on the market, it had sold 14.8 million units, which presumably counts as more than a few thousand.

Mitigating factor(s): Um, Miller does say at one point that he  “highly doubt(s)” an Apple tablet is on its way. And does thirteen months later count as enough time passing that the headline’s flat declaration “we won’t see an Apple tablet anytime soon” was accurate?

“My theory on the Apple Tablet: It doesn’t exist, will never exist, and it is probably a 10 inch laptop”

By: Stefan Constantinescu, IntoMobile, August 3rd, 2009

The gist: Constantinescu ambitiously recaps seven years of Apple-tablet reviews–far-fetched stuff like “the device will have a screen 7 to 10 inches large, cost between $500 and $700, and that the CPU running inside the iTablet would be custom built by P.A. Semi which Apple purchased a while back”–and largely dismisses them as traffic-whoring “bullshit.”  An Apple tablet, he says, would be too heavy and, because its screen would be unprotected, too likely to sustain damage in a bag. But he does think that Apple will release a laptop with a 10″–or maybe 11.6″–display.

The reality: Less than five months later, Apple finally confirmed years of rumors by announcing the iPad (along with a case to protect its screen, although it used Gorilla Glass to make the display amazingly sturdy).

Mitigating factor(s): Constantinescu refers to his stance as a “theory” in the headline, but ends his piece in a defiantly definitive manner: “There is no Apple Tablet, there never will be an Apple Tablet, and just in case you were wondering: I am a PC.” Then again, he was right about the 11.6″ Apple laptop, which turned out to be the new MacBook Air that Apple announced in October of 2010.

It’s worth noting that while all of these stories turned out to be wrong, that doesn’t mean that the folks who wrote them were clueless. Some of their rationales, in fact, were darn logical–they just happened to be erroneous. Very few people outside of Apple have a knack for channeling Steve Jobs’ thought process. And even if you understand Apple better than most people, it will surprise you at least some of the time. Declaring that it will never do something is always dangerous.

Which is why I’m taking the only safe possible stance on the question of whether Apple is going to sell an HDTV: it is. Or it isn’t. I just don’t know, and neither do you. But it is fascinating to see more Applewatchers warm up to the idea that it’s a possibility. That’s the same evolution that has happened in the past with other potential Apple products that seemed unlikely at first. Such as a phone, a phone-like iPod, and a tablet…

 
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67 Comments For This Post

  1. @Nithin Says:

    Guessing Apple's next product is like the monkey throwing darts at the dartboard. All kinds of rumors are fanned, in the hope that one of them will stick.

  2. johnwbaxter Says:

    I confess to strongly not believing the iPhone and iPad, and moderately not believing the phoneless iPhone (iPod Touch). And when iPhone was announced, I couldn't use it because AT&T didn' have EDGE here or particularly near.

    AT&T added EDGE here a couple of months before iPhone was released. And because EDGE was lightly populated here, it ran at essentially its maximum speed (unlike the situation in a few scattered parts of the country).

  3. mart Says:

    Webarchive cache version of the dead-link you are referring to in the first article.
    http://web.archive.org/web/20030811170120/http://
    Unfortunately there is only the first page of the analysis available…

  4. Harry McCracken Says:

    Thanks! But it's not loading for me…

  5. Harry McCracken Says:

    Ah, just got it to load.

  6. Triny D Says:

    Quite stunning that people don’t see that Apple has been gearing up for a huge HDTV launch for years. The same way the innocuous contacts and calendars in iPod classic foreshadowed the iPhone… The iMac industrial design plus AppleTV branding makes it clear and obvious that a TV is in the works

  7. Ian Betteridge Says:

    All good points, Harry – although it would also be worth dredging up the numerous "Why Apple won't make a PDA" and "Why Apple won't make a netbook" posts for a bit of balance! :)

    I'm actually with Marco on this one. Sure, Apple could just build in the internals of an Apple TV into a 40in+ LCD – but would that deliver any additional margin over just the Apple TV? It would certainly build in a big set of costs (from buying up all those expensive screens to just warehousing and shipping the things).

    And one small point: If Apple was going to create a TV, wouldn't they have saved the "Apple TV" name for it rather than putting it on to a small additional box?

  8. @carpathia16 Says:

    I confess, even though I'm an Apple fan, I thought the iPad would be a flop. But I would never admit that to anyone. ;-)

    I have learned not to count Apple out. Even when I was doubtful and correct (Ping), I still left a place in my mind to be surprised at Apple's success.

  9. @meryn Says:

    I think an actual Apple TV would be a great option for people who are actually confused by all the choices, and want to go with something approaching a sure bet – with premium features and a premium price. Not everyone cares about price. Many people who are buying smartphones, tablets, the little Apple TV boxes simply have money to burn. They won't throw it away hear you, they'll spend it on nice experiences, the nice experiences they've come to expect from using Apple's products.

    When I would decide to buy an Android phone, I then have to worry about which Android phone is the best. With I would decide to go with an iPhone, I only have to worry about how much storage space I want (and which carrier, but this was true for the Android devices too). The same would apply to the iTV vs all other tv's on the market.

    See also The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz: http://www.amazon.com/Paradox-Choice-Why-More-Les… (no affiliate link)

  10. ghunda Says:

    I think it’s mostly because guessing Apple’s potential product releases seems to be more fun in the media than discussing actual publicly announced products from other companies. And why not? You know, the PlayBook comes out tomorrow? Yeah, I don’t care either. Teehee

  11. Steve Guttman Says:

    I think–what a lot of people forget–is that Apple fundamentally a company that considers and makes good business decisions. If they believe they can create a product that is either game-changing, or a big leap over current offerings, and can make good margins on it–there's a good chance that they'll do it. Common wisdom would suggest that the TV market has largely been commoditized; that it would be hard to add value in a way that could really make a difference to consumers…

    Apple seems to thrive when they defy (or redefine) common wisdom…

  12. Jon Nathanson Says:

    While it's certainly a fool's errand to guess Apple's next big product, there are prognostication methods that go a little bit deeper than simply assessing what we believe to be the prevailing market conditions. Patents, for example. If there were an iTV in the works, we'd likely see Apple's having licensed, acquired, or filed for patents in related display and interface technologies.

    Furthermore, given that iTunes would most likely be integrated heavily into an iTV, we can look at developments in the iTunes software space for possible signals in the hardware direction. Remember when Apple (still fairly recently, in the grand scheme of things) made the switch to its own credentialing/billing servers on iTunes and the App Store? A lot of folks (smartly) identified that switch as the precursor to a cloud-based iTunes. A cloud-based iTunes certainly helps out an iTV.

  13. Sam Says:

    I assume you mean the question is whether Apple is going to sell a BIGGER TV. They already sell a nice 10" handheld TV that's sold millions over the last year. Are the days of multiple people gathering around a single fixed device in the home to watch their broadcasted video shows over?

  14. Wheeeee Says:

    There will never be an apple microwave. There, I said it. Now make it happen, Steve.

  15. Brad Says:

    This is a great collection of unexpected successes.

    Have we all forgotten about the iPod Hi-Fi, though?

    How is a TV any different in use than an amp and a pair of speakers? I think Apple is already selling a "last-mile" solution, and it's called AirPlay.

  16. @doingfor Says:

    Honestly, if I think about the products that I interact with that need improvement, TV is kind of far down the list. Cable box maybe, but my TV is pretty OK. the one that is consistently dumb and hideous and really needs an Apple makeover is my car. If Apple could figure out THAT market, we'd really have something.

  17. chartier Says:

    Nice piece Harry. Guess I should've listened to the lesson I learned from "An American Tail" growing up.

    I think there's some fun personal irony of the claim chowder on me: Macworld Expo '07—where Apple announced the iPhone—was my first ever, and I was our only blogger in the keynote.

  18. Groovy Says:

    There will never be an Apple flying car. WHOOOO LET'S GO!!

  19. @kenfisher Says:

    Yes, never say never! Err…

    I'd like to just point out for the that "not anytime soon" does not mean "never." And, unless soon means "three to four years from now," I think it was also correct. Sure, take us all out to the shed when we proclaim certainty on a negative, but Stokes didn't do that (this time).

  20. minimalist Says:

    These are all good points. But none of them answer a basic question: What groundbreaking new ideas could Apple could bring to the equation that the Apple TV connected to any television couldn't also do? What would they gain by integrating the hardware with the software? Smart phones had to be completely rethought in order to get to where we are today. But because they all have HDMI inputs, TV's are really just dumb terminals for whatever box you attach. They are more akin to monitors than to computers. Apple makes monitors, but I doubt it's a very significant part of their business. They are really there to sell Mac Pros.

    Also keep in mind that TV's take up lots of space in the stock rooms and many Apple stores are quite small. 46" seems to be the new standard with TV's so one assumes they would need to offer at least that size and perhaps one size larger and one size smaller. That's some significant stockroom and display space.

  21. paradox00 Says:

    This article ignores something very crucial. Apple TV already exists. The question isn't whether or not they are going to step into a new market, they are already there.

    The question is are they going to add a display to Apple TV? Big difference. It's more like asking if Apple would add speakers to the iPod. They did for a while, it was called the iPod HiFi, and they discontinued it. However, Apple continues to to bring in a lot of licensing revenue from all the iPod speaker docks out there.

    Talk about how Apple always manges to break new ground where people thought there was nothing to be broken if you want, but I can't see how screen would allow Apple to break new ground that the Apple TV box couldn't break. All the ground to break is on the content delivery side, which Apple TV can cover without a screen. If Apple does make a TV I suspect it will be a tech demo of a TV with an Apple TV dock ala iPod HiFi.

    Maybe there is new ground to break on the display side, and Apple sees something no one else sees, but I doubt it. Usually there are a few people that "get it" even if most do not, but I've not seen one suggestion of what an Apple Television could do, that couldn't be performed equally well by an Apple TV without a display.

  22. James Says:

    Take an Apple monitor and insert an AppleTV in it with a tuner. Essentially an InternetHDTV. Let me guess, iTV.

  23. addicted Says:

    But Apple did build a netbook. Its the 11.6" Macbook Air.

    Oh, by netbook you meant "crappy, underpowered laptop whose sole saving grace is that its dirt cheap because its made of dirt cheap components". Yeah, Apple never made one of those ;-)

  24. holycalamity Says:

    And Apple did make a PDA. Multiple PDAs, in fact – Newton, iPhone and iPod touch.

  25. Koen van Hees Says:

    Every Apple product is on sale outside of the US – except for the Apple tv. Consider me Eurocentric, but also consider Apple makes an enormous pile of dollars outside the US.
    Apple TV is not for sale in Europe and lots of other countries. There is no market, or rather, it would take serious investment to add value to the included service for every non US country. I'd love to have one for the airplay feature, but that's the only feature it could offer me.
    An Apple TV with physical TV set would then be a US only gambit. That suggests a huge investment for less than half the market they are used to. Not saying it won't happen (wouldn't dare ;) Just pointing out an easy to overlook fact for US citizens.

  26. paradox00 Says:

    Of course Apple could make both, but the arguments in favor of an Apple television that I've read are not compelling at all. It would be like arguing that Apple would build an iMac because it could run OSX. So what? So could a headless mac. On the other hand, Apple providing a computer that requires only a single cable to hook up before you're up and running would be a compelling reason for an iMac. I've not seen anything like that related to Apple TV. There were always some people pointing out the possible upsides of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, even if most people doubted them, but so far that is not the case for an Apple branded television.

    This blog could be applied equally to Apple televisions as it could be to Apple toasters. Never count Apple out. It's good advice, but it's not a compelling reason to believe Apple is making a TV either. I guess time will ultimately tell.

  27. relentlessfocus Says:

    Are you offering odds Harry or is this just link bait?

  28. Meredith Greene Says:

    *apple chuckles all the way to the bank*

    'Expert' predictions are very useful to a company: you get free advice on what to avoid along with consumer expectations, especially if there are subsequent comments on the blog/article.

  29. minimalist Says:

    Yes, it is true that Apple does most things in a way that most people don’t expect. But that still doesn’t mean Apple will enter a given market simply because they aren’t already in it. There are lots of markets apple could design cool stuff for. But they have to be able to bring clear, definable value to a market or else it’s not worth their effort. They did this with smart phones because Apple recognized that mobile computing was a jumbled clunky mess and it was an extremely young market with the potential for explosive growth. Anybody who was paying attention intuitively knew that there was nothing inspired about the smart phones at that time.

    The same cannot be said for TV’s. They exist in a mature market. Granted, TV UI’s and the UI’s of many set top boxes are just as much a jumbled, clunky mess as pre iPhone smart phones were, but simply designing a better UI is not enough to differentiate an Apple designed TV (especially when a hundred dollar Apple TV box solves 90% of the UI problems). The real problem with TV is not the hardware or the UI. The real problem is the tired old system of content windowing and labyrinthine licensing arrangements. Apple has tried to make accessing content simpler and hasn’t had any more success than anybody else. This is the nut they need to crack to revolutionize TV watching. The coolest, most unexpected TV interface in the world won’t make up for a lack of content.

  30. melgross Says:

    But the problem is that the Tv industry is a jumbled mess. So is the methodology of delivering content.

    I'm not saying that Apple will do this, as I stated in my post, but that they may find it to be a good area to get into. Normally, Apple moves into a new market that's got a lot of growth in front of it, and that's the only reason why Apple may nnot be interested in the Tv market.

    But, new things are happening there as well. Apple has patented several methods of delivering 3D content without glasses that's different enough from the present methods to actually work. If it does work on a large screen, something that no one has even able to do so far, that innovation may be significant. If they can get their content delivery ideas to sell to the content owners, then they will have something major there as well.

    Put that together with the iPad, iPhone and Mac, with Apple's software, and they will have something that no one else has. It could be enough.

  31. thefinite Says:

    This. Completely agree. When Apple made the iPod, music players sucked. When they made the iPhone, cell phones sucked. When they made the iPad, tablets & netbooks sucked.

    TV's today don't suck. They're actually pretty nice. It's what you connect to them that sucks. I really wish Apple hadn't been treating the AppleTV as a hobby. If only Apple had invented the internet-connected DVR (a la Tivo), it would have been miles ahead of anything out there.

  32. proletariat Says:

    Apple can make their own HDTV if they want. I will never be interested in buying one.

    It will look beautiful and polished. It will only have one button that does everything. And it will cost out the ass compared to better speced products currently on the market.

  33. minimalist Says:

    I couldn't agree more about the TV industry and the current methods of content delivery. But I'm not sure Apple can solve that on their own now that since the movie and TV industry is so afraid of becoming Apple's b@tch like the record industry. Its going to take a concerted effort on their part along with Google and Amazon to move the bloated and slothful content industry into the 21st century.

    Its also worth remembering that with the iPhone Apple was giving people access to a huge reservoir of free information (the web). The demand was so great that the carriers had to rethink the half baked web experience they were previously offering (remember WAP? ugh).. Apple used intense consumer demand to do an end run around the carriers over-controlling ways.

    With TV they have no such weapon against the gatekeepers. Because the gatekeepers are the content providers. 3d has been a bomb thusfar. Consumers just don't care. All that's left is a nice UI… which we can already get with a 99 dollar Apple TV. So what does the big screen bring to the table?

  34. minimalist Says:

    "I've not seen one suggestion of what an Apple Television could do, that couldn't be performed equally well by an Apple TV without a display."

    Amen to that. The design of the original iPhone may have come as a surprise to some, but the reasons they entered the market were pretty clear from the beginning. Unless there is some radical new opportunity that emerges when you integrate the hardware and the software I can't see why Apple would bother with it. If there were even one suggestion of what new value a hybrid product like that might offer then I'd say there might be something to this speculation about Apple selling TV's. Otherwise I think its a lot of wishful thinking.

  35. Lars Pallesen Says:

    Of course there will be an Apple microwave. But you'll have to set the timer via iTunes ;-)

  36. Clint Gunter Says:

    An Apple TV Set could be great. My take on it: http://www.clintgunter.com/post/4735145097/a-tv-f

  37. @pablo069eh Says:

    I'd buy an Apple TV if the associated and or inbuilt PVR ( oer would that be my iMac?) enabled one to edit. My current Samsung and Shaw PVR does not enable ant editing and or copying from the PVR!

  38. Thomas Says:

    http://store.apple.com/de/browse/home/shop_ipod/f

  39. Henry 3 Dogg Says:

    We do know that Apple are very interested in the TV market, it’s their hobby, and we do know that to date they have made no serious push because of lack of a viable road to market.

    That suggests that when Apple spot a viable road to market, they will hit it hard, but until then, there will be a hobby presence in the market.

    Have Apple found that road to market?

    There must be a lot of existing players praying not.

  40. HD Boy Says:

    Apple has no choice — it MUST protect the flanks of the iTunes video franchise by getting it into a mass market product.

    Either it produces an iOS HDTV, partners to put the AppleTV interface and functionality inside someone elses’s HDTV or it partners with (or purchases) a video content-delivery system and set top box (I’m looking at you DirecTV).

    I happen to think Apple is rethinking TV displays and will deliver something new and revolutionary. I don’t think Steve Jobs can resist slapping an Apple logo on the most prominent information appliance in every home. In fact, this has been inevitable ever since the day Apple dropped the word ‘Computer’ from the company name. Finally, Steve Jobs has to do this to complete the digital hub that he announced back when he first returned to Apple.

  41. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    Yes, we have forgotten about the iPod Hi-Fi, because it was a long time ago.

    But if you're suggesting that iPod Hi-Fi was not a success, you are wrong. Hundreds of companies copied it. I just stayed at a hotel where every room had an iPod Hi-Fi -type device and between me and my girlfriend we had 3 iPods to use in it. What if we'd had Zunes? Well, they wouldn't have worked, and that is one of the reasons we don't have Zunes.

  42. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    Apple already fixed the cable box. It's called "Apple TV".

    Even the best TV is HIDEOUSLY low-resolution. They are blurry disasters. They have terrible controls and interfaces, made even worse in some cases by including Windows in there. People said the smartphone was already perfected in 2006, too.

  43. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    TV's do suck. There are no 2K/4K TV's, we are stuck at 720p/1080p. An HDTV should never be bigger than about 20 inches but we've stretched them up to 50 without upping the resolution. The interfaces are terrible. They lack color management, so the colors are always wrong. They're a total disaster.

    Apple did invent the Internet-connected DVR. It's called "iTunes."

  44. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    I can think of 3 areas for improvement off the top of my head.

    1) Higher resolution: Why make a TV bigger than HD when cable and Blu-Ray max out at HD? Because iTunes can go up past HD just fine. 2K and 4K cameras and editing tools are out there, but no TV's. Apple has the best reason out of all consumer electronics companies to make a 2K or 4K TV because they can provide the 2K or 4K content via iTunes.

    2) Color management: TV's have terrible color because they don't have color management. It's not enough just to have the RGB numbers out of a stored movie, you have to translate those color numbers for the output device so that the colors show accurately on the screen. The only consumer electronics devices with color management are iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and the Mac. Part of the reason why people think the iPad screen looks so good is they put their photos on there and they see accurate color. So a 2K or 4K TV with color management would be way, way higher quality than anything out there, by far. Since iPad is a 1K screen, we are talking about just making a bigger iPad and hanging it on the wall.

    3) Cable clutter: an Apple TV could have an AC cable on the back and that is it. No cables to run to it at all other than AC. Easy to mount anywhere and login to your Wi-Fi. Maybe it has Ethernet and USB diagnostic port on it like the Apple TV set-top, but those would be optional. Instead of switching to various video input sources, it receives multiple video sources via AirPlay.

  45. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    > All the ground to break is on the content delivery side, which Apple TV
    > can cover without a screen.

    That is not true. Apple already sells SD and HD content. The new ground to break is 2K/4K, but there are no 2K/4K TV's. The new ground to break in audio is 24-bit audio (currently, consumer audio is 16-bit) but the only consumer devices with 24-bit audio hardware are Macs.

  46. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    No way. No chance at all. They have licensed AirPlay and that makes other manufacturers TV's into iOS accessories.

  47. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    Apple TV – Canada http://store.apple.com/ca/browse/home/shop_ipod/f

    Apple TV – Japan http://store.apple.com/jp/browse/home/shop_ipod/f

    It's not universal, but it's not US-only.

    Actually, you are making the opposite point. An Apple TV with an integrated display is a BETTER worldwide product than one without. I would guess that the reason the set-top is not universal has to do with HDMI and HDCP, which is all tied up with media companies and DRM and licensing in every individual country. An integrated Apple TV that simply had an AC power cable out of the back and Wi-Fi built in would not require HDMI/HDCP and would be as easy to sell worldwide as a Mac.

  48. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    The associated PVR for Apple devices is iTunes Store. No, no editing other people's content. But you can obviously shoot and edit your own more easily than with anyone else's devices.

  49. Brad Says:

    Yes, I love that these are appearing in more hotels.

    This is, in a way, my point. In this case, Apple has a successful music platform that relies on licensing iPod connectivity: the platform was a success even though the iPod HiFi was not.

    Similarly, Apple is definitely building a movie/TV platform, but that doesn't mean they have to make every part of the chain.

    To use your example, how great would it be if your hotel room had a TV with AirPlay support? You could take the shows and movies you brought with you on your iPhone or iPad and watch them on TV in your room.

    Apple doesn't have to make the actual set for this to work. They just have to encourage manufacturers to license AirPlay.

  50. @SynchroM Says:

    I think there's plenty of space for an Apple TV. The TV/home theatre world is ripe for a shake-up much as the mobile phone market was – complacent, slow moving, uncooperative, fraught with incompatibilities, proprietary systems, protocols, bad design and usability disasters (how many buttons on how many remotes?!). The last thing anyone wants is yet another remote and yet more cables, but they keep piling on. It would be great to see a consistent unifying force in the industry, from inside or out.

  51. minimalist Says:

    Apple doesn't innovate for audiophiles and videophiles. They innovate for the mass market. And the mass market is not interested in audio and video quality p@ssing contests. That is strictly the realm of enthusiasts.

  52. Victor Agreda Jr Says:

    Except there's ALREADY an Apple TV. There was nothing like the iPhone. Not only that, the TV industry and the deals needed to make all this happen are vastly different than the cellular phone market (and surrounding industries). I actually sent a note to the TUAW mailing list and spurred this conversation and post from Chris Rawson today because I don't think adding a giant piece of glass to the existing Apple TV makes any sense whatsoever. Chris did a great job knocking down every possible angle.

    That said, it could still happen. Apple IS a consumer electronics company.

  53. paradox00 Says:

    Apple TV doesn't have apps, iTunes isn't like a cable subscription with channels that would eliminate the need for a local cable provider. Plenty of room for improvement in online distribution.

    While they could up the resolution again and add better audio. it doesn't really make sense, they wouldn't be filling a void, they wouldn't be making something terrible great. It wouldn't revolutionize TV.
    Apple also doesn't jump into markets when they are not ready. They don't even offer 1080p content on iTunes yet and many people's internet connections are not ready for HD at all and you're suggesting Apple wants to up the resolution even more. I see Apple going into to the TV business just to produce a 2K/4K TV as very unlikely, but thank you for providing some ideas for what they could do on the hardware side. That's more than I've read elsewhere.

  54. melgross Says:

    I don't know. HBO just announced a free app for the iPad that all of their subscribers could use. It's vey possible that someday they will offer an app that allows direct usi g of their content with a fee. We see a number of Tv content apps. ABc is one that gives new content to iPads for free. Song just came out with Crackle which so far, gives hundreds of movies and thousands of Tv shows for free, which are constantly being added to. No reason why they as well couldn't offer newer content for a fee as well. Then, of course, there's Hulu, and Netflix, in addition to Apple's own services.

    What we need may not be all that far off. Apple has already begun to integrate it within their own offerings within the aTv.

  55. Gert Says:

    What i have found intriguing is that the *timing* of the intensity of the discussions on the web about each new product has been similar each time.
    Looking at how intensely the possibility of an Apple tv set is being debated right now, I would expect one next Christmas.

  56. Shawn Reed Says:

    ANOTHER spot where Harry lampoons the "expert prognosticators" in tech. Take note folks: this sort of thinking, where one looks back on the "wisdom" of time past, and shows it to be completely foolish, should be taken as a lesson. If you haven't, read some Taleb, and you'll see where this applies to financial markets as well (or, listen to his podcasts on Econtalk for a bite-sized piece).

  57. ebpp Says:

    i think a large part of it is that Apple really has their hands in a lot of niches…so you can say that Apple is working on a new spaceship…and you really can't 100% say that they aren't

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    I would think Apple might license Apple TV to be integrated into one partner's HDTVs. I.e. Samsung HDTV with Apple TV built in.
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  64. @Pseudofossils Says:

    Saying that apple will do something can also be dangerous. e.g. "Apple will be releasing the iPhone 5 next month". It doesn't always happen. best coffee maker

  65. Muay Thai Says:

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