If Apple (NASDAQ:
) wants to enter the TV market, it might want to do it sooner
rather than later, as competitors seem poised to beat it to the
Arguably over its entire history, Apple's business has been
driven largely on being the first to the market. Although many of
its products weren't exactly the first of their kind, they were the
first that appealed to consumers on a broad basis.
The iPhone for example, wasn't the first smartphone -- Research
in Motion's (NASDAQ:
) Blackberry lineup set the standard -- but the iPhone was the
first phone to target average consumers rather than power business
users, and it was the first phone to leverage the possibilities of
a large app store with apps written by third-party developers.
Before that, there was the iPod. It wasn't the first mp3 player
(those devices had existed since 1997), but most mp3 players before
the iPod were confusing and cumbersome. Apple offered the first mp3
player that was intuitive and came with a great software
application, iTunes, that made using the device significantly
easier for consumers.
Even the Mac. It wasn't the first PC, but it was the first to
embrace innovations which would later become indispensable, like a
GUI and a mouse.
But, perhaps most significant is the iPad. Until the iPad,
tablet PCs were largely something of an anomaly; they existed, but
mostly in a prototype form. Apple created a device which made the
tablet an everyday consumer product and revolutionized the PC
In all of these cases, competitors emerged only after Apple had
established a winning business model. In the case of the iPhone,
Android-powered smartphones. In the case of the iPod, a multitude
of competitors, most notably Microsoft's (NASDAQ:
) Zune. In the case of the PC, boxes running Windows. And in the
case of the iPad, Android tablets, notably offerings from Amazon
) and Google itself.
An Apple smart TV has been rumored for years. The company has
never confirmed it, but Apple's key management has made a plethora
of statements that, reading between the lines, make it seem obvious
that a TV is forthcoming.
Steve Jobs told his biographer, Walter Isaacson, that he had
wanted to reinvent the TV, and that he had succeeded in "cracking"
the interface problem -- creating the most intuitive TV interface
one could imagine.
Just weeks ago, Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook, hinted at a TV in
an interview with CBS.
If Apple releases a smart TV now, it would follow in the
footsteps of its other devices. Smart TVs, depending on how you
define them, have been in the marketplace for over a year now.
Samsung already offers a smart TV running Android. The TV can
run apps like Facebook (NASDAQ:
), Twitter and Angry Birds, and has a number of interesting
features like motion control and voice commands.
Yet, the device hasn't taken off yet among consumers. It could
be Samsung's lack of brand recognition. Although its Galaxy phone
line up is enough of a threat to Apple that it has
lead to lawsuits
, consumers aren't lining up for a Galaxy like they do for an
Or, it could be the TV's relatively high price tag -- well over
$2000 (55 inch model) for,
what critics at CNET allege
, an ultimately lackluster picture and poorly implemented
But it isn't only Samsung. PC heavyweights like Intel (NASDAQ:
) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:
) are reportedly getting into the game.
that the companies will step into the market next year.
Many commentators believe that an Apple TV is coming in 2013,
perhaps in the first quarter.
This might be the case; however, if you had listened to these
same commentators last year, you would've believed that a TV was
coming in 2012.
At any rate, if Apple wants to release another successful
product, they may be running out of time.
(c) 2012 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice.
All rights reserved.
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