Dear Tim Cook: Rethink Your Console Plans

Jun 1, 2012
27

At the D10 Conference this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage to discuss all kinds of topics related to his company’s operation. The topic that stuck out most in my mind, however, was his claim that his company has no plans to jump into the traditional console fray.

Yes, I know that much of the world cared most about Cook’s acknowledgement that his company was very interested in televisions, and the fact that he wants to make Apple even more secretive going forward. But that’s really what we already know. What we didn’t know is that Cook is seemingly very much against competing against the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, or PlayStation 3.

But why? As I’ve said here before, I believe that Apple would be an ideal console maker. What’s more, I think the company could benefit greatly from a console, and eventually cement itself as the key player in the living room.

Think of it this way: which products are consumers most willing to buy right now? Apple’s. Moreover, what kind of consoles are people buying? Devices that come with high-powered graphics and a host of other integrated features. That alone seems like a recipe for success to me.

[aquote]Apple could deliver a product that would make the PS3's graphics look obsolete in comparison[/aquote]

The way I see it, Apple could enter the console market and dramatically change its makeup. The company would deliver a product that makes the PlayStation 3’s graphical prowess look rather obsolete in comparison, and it could spend a couple of billion dollars on a few development houses to get its first-party lineup going. After that, it’s a matter of putting its name on the product and watching as consumers flock.

And why might consumers flock? Simply because the Apple we know -- the one that makes smart decisions nearly all of the time -- would integrate apps into the platform. In addition, it might find a way to make digital gaming far more mainstream. The console would, at least in my mind, be the device that we’ve waited years to get our hands on.

But alas, Tim Cook has no interest in doing that. Instead, Apple’s chief executive says that his company is content to compete in the mobile-gaming space, and as attractive as consoles might be from a revenue perspective, they don’t fit into his company’s current plans.

So, what does? The fact is, Apple has no choice but to start making serious inroads into the living room. The company has tried with its Apple TV set-top box, but we all know that that’s still a hobby. And despite constant reports suggesting the firm will launch a television sooner rather than later, there’s no telling if it’ll hit a price point that will allow it to reach a mainstream audience over the long-term.

Simply put, a console could be Apple’s best entree yet into the living room. And it’s about time the company (and its CEO) remember that.


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