Is Apple's TV Secrecy A Good Idea This Time Around?

Apple is reportedly working on a television. From analysts to reports out of China, all signs point to the company developing a set that would include the latest HD technology, a nice design, and iCloud integration. And as more rumors pile in, the chances of that device launching sooner rather than later seem awfully high.Well, that is, if you disregard the fact that Apple hasn't said that it's actually planning to launch the television.

In fact, as with its many other products, Apple has decided to go with radio silence on any speculation that it's launching a television. The company is content with people wondering and the rumor mill crafting stories. It's a formula that has worked exceedingly well for Apple over the last several years.

But I can't help but wonder if the formula might fall short this time around. Yes, hiding the truth about televisions will be a solid idea from a hype perspective, but can it really hold up in a marketplace where people are buying new products every decade or so?

See, the nice thing about secrecy in the smartphone or tablet market is that it doesn't really matter what people have now. If they like the $200 iPhone Apple just announced or that really cool $500 iPad, they're going to get a new device, regardless of the fact that they already own a smartphone or tablet.

[aquote]When people plunk down cash for a television they expect it to last[/aquote]

Televisions, however, are a different story. Today's sets go for anywhere between a few hundred dollars for entry-level televisions to sets costing over $2,000 for something really nice. When people plunk down that much cash for a television, they're expecting it to last them a long time.

Realizing that, perhaps Apple should start talking about a television if it is, in fact, considering launching a set. After all, with each new major television purchase, Apple is losing a potential customer to Samsung, LG, and others. And the chances of it getting them to spend another, say, $2,000 for a television anytime soon seems slim.

Simply put, the millions of people that will buy televisions worldwide this year might not be Apple customers for at least a decade.

By announcing its television now, Apple has the luxury of stopping would-be television buyers from actually doing so. Why buy that Samsung, those people might say, when Apple is planning to launch something even better in the next few months? By not being secretive, Apple can actually do more harm than good to its competitors.

But alas, I know I'm talking to a wall. Apple has only one mode when it comes to its products, and that's secrecy. The very idea of tipping its hand is enough to send the human resources department through its headquarters in Cupertino to remind everyone that a single leak can mean termination.

Apple's no-nonsense policy has helped the company considerably in the past. But I'm concerned that it might actually fail Apple this time around.