Apple Television Set Prototypes Reportedly 'In the Works'

One of the major revelations pulled out of the new authorized Steve Jobs biography has been Jobs' disclosure that he "finally cracked" the problems standing in the way of an Apple television set.


Rumors of an Apple-branded television have been circulating for years, but have been gaining steam following the release of the iPad as observers look to Apple's "next big thing". One of the strongest proponents of an Apple television set has been Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who has issued a number of reports about Apple's prospect for such a device.

With Jobs' comments once again fanning the flames of speculation regarding an Apple television, Munster has weighed in (via Fortune) to claim that all evidence is pointing to a launch as soon as next year. Among the newly presented evidence from Munster is a claim that prototypes of the Apple television set are now "in the works".

- Based on Jan-11 meetings in Asia (not with component suppliers), we believe Apple is investing in manufacturing facilities and securing supply for LCD displays. These displays could range from 3.5" mobile displays to 50" television displays.

- More recently, in Sept-11 we met with a contact close to an Asian component supplier who indicated that prototypes of an Apple television are in the works.

Munster also points to several patents and patent applications filed by Apple addressing the company's work into television-related technologies as further evidence of the company's interest. And while Apple routinely files for patents on technologies that never appear in its products, it is clear that the company has been thinking about how it could make a bigger impact in the television-related market if it elected to go down that route.

While any specifications on an Apple TV remain unknown beyond Jobs' suggestion that it would integrate iCloud presumably with iTunes Store video content, Munster believes that Apple could sell 1.4 million television sets at an average selling price of $1800 in 2012, ramping up to 4.3 million units by 2014 as costs drop to an average selling price of $1400. Munster's estimates, which are of course essentially guesses informed by current market trends, put Apple's share of the connected TV market at 3% in 2014, with the company bringing in $6 billion in revenue from the segment.

Top Rated Comments

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115 months ago
I think it would be a great business model if you could just buy individual channels. I mean, there's only a handful of channels I like, why must the consumer be forced to buy all of the garbage channels.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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115 months ago
The problem is that TVs are already simple and easy to use. Nobody is going to pay $2999 for a 50" Apple TV.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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115 months ago
Many of the kids on this forum probably don't remember the old way of surfing channels where you flip through channels at high speed and watch each channel for about 0.2 seconds along the way and then flip back if you see something you like.

These days with all the goodness of digital TV, you cannot do that anymore. It's really a drag now, you have to know what you want to watch first, and then find it on a blue screen, and put up with endless scrolling, and TV shouldn't have to be that way. (Granted, the PVR is awesome though, but still....)

In the old days you flip on the boob tube and start flicking through channels until you saw something you liked. The process of flipping through is something I miss a lot.

These days, you click and wait 1.5 long seconds for the stupid channel to tune in on digital, and then it's still going to be a repeat of the same show that was on 12 hours ago.

This might have nothing to do with how an Apple TV might function, but I just thought I'd throw this comment about TV Devolution in hopes that it inspires someone to improve how TV's work these days.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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115 months ago
That's a lot of random numbers from an "analyst".

Especially for a device that probably doesn't exist, and most certainly doesn't have a price or audience yet.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago
Awesome :D I would love a hi-tech TV with built-in Wifi and a channel subscription service from Apple. It would be wonderful if Apple could set us free from channel packages and cable TV services. An 'a la carte' TV channel service or even something like Netflix with more channels / shows would be amazing. :)
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
115 months ago
It says a lot about the users on this forum when all everyone is concerned about are the number of apps and AppleTV integration and nobody has mentioned the display technology or image quality. Will it be a full-array LED or just another edge-lit with crappy uniformity? If they make a full-array 50+ inch that has excellent image quality then they could easily price it at $4K and it would be perfectly acceptable. I paid $5K for my screen four years ago.

But there is no chance that Apple could make a television that also works with subscription cable without requiring an external box. No chance at all. CableCARD is dead weight to all cable operators, Tru2Way is non-existent, if you live in an SDV area you need a box that doesn't work a lot of the time, most technicians have no clue how to deal with anything other than cable-issued boxes, cablecos all use different software, firmware and APIs that need constant updating to be compliant with their systems ... and even ClearQAM is problematic when providers keep changing the channels.

But to say that television is difficult to use now is idiocy. The only thing that makes a television difficult to use is the complexity and number of devices you have plugged in but on their own you change the channel and volume. A lot of people don't even bother changing the picture settings from supernova store level.

And new models are not lacking for online content either. Every manufacturer now has online streaming and Web apps built in, and they are not hard to use either. No more so than anything on an Apple device.

If Apple made an iOS TV it would benefit Apple junkies but in the US where for the majority digital TV means a box or nothing, the only way they could sell it to the masses is by doing what everyone else does. And that means a cable box or putting up an antenna, because no matter what you may have heard the are plenty of people left who want to watch television using cable or OTA.

Unless Apple has some fantastic streaming option allowing all the major OTA networks for free and then improves the crappy state of US broadband before it becomes more expensive than gold, any television they create has to perform the same tasks as all the others or it's just a big monitor with built-in AppleTV.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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