Daisuke Wakabayashi, reporting for the WSJ:
Investor Carl Icahn said he expects Apple Inc. to introduce an
ultra-high-definition television in 2016. But after nearly a
decade of research, Apple quietly shelved plans to make such a
set more than a year ago, according to people familiar with
Apple had searched for breakthrough features to justify building
an Apple-branded television set, those people said. In addition to
an ultra-high-definition display, Apple considered adding
sensor-equipped cameras so viewers could make video calls through
the set, they said.
Ultimately, though, Apple executives didn’t consider any of those
features compelling enough to enter the highly competitive
television market, led by Samsung Electronics Co. Apple typically
likes to enter a new product area with innovative technology and
The most surprising thing about this, if true — and with Wakabayashi and “people familiar with the matter”, that’s a big if — is that Apple was still pondering their own TV sets as recently as a year or two ago.
Making boxes that connect to TVs — like Apple TV as it stands today — that makes sense to me. Making actual TV sets, though, I’ve long been skeptical about. Years ago, I thought, “Why should Apple settle for selling a $100 box connected to a $2000 TV instead of just selling the $2000 TV set with the box built in?” The problem, though, is that TV set prices have dropped dramatically, and people don’t replace their TV sets that frequently. The only way to build a large TV-based platform is to make boxes that connect to the TV sets people already own. There has to be a standalone Apple TV box. In theory, Apple could make an actual TV set, too, but I’m unconvinced that makes strategic sense.
★ Tuesday, 19 May 2015