The Prospect of an Apple Television Bores Me

Don Reisinger - Feb 24, 2011, 3:30 pm CDT
The Prospect of an Apple Television Bores Me

Through the many years I’ve been covering the technology industry, I’ve always enjoyed Apple rumors. From the absurd to the downright obvious, there is no limit to what people will say about Apple’s plans for the future. But as of late, I’ve been most intrigued by continued rumors that Apple is working on a television that would pit it against some of the best plasma and LCD makers in the business.

As one might expect, given Apple’s history of secrecy, details are slim on the possibility of the company launching a television. But given the value people find in the iPhone, iPad, and countless other products Apple sells, the excitement is palpable.

Just about everyone is wondering what kind of television Apple would sell. And they want to know if it would move that market forward the same way the iPod changed the music industry and the iPhone changed the smartphone business.

But I’m not nearly as excited. I believe that the most Apple will do if it ever offers a television is integrate iTunes into the set. The technology just isn’t there for the company to drastically change the way we interact with televisions or dramatically improve quality over other sets in the space.

Moreover, I’m not sold on the idea that Apple will be able to command the television market with the same “cool” factor that it has delivered elsewhere.

Like it or not, there are already some really “cool” sets in the space already.

Take, for example, the Samsung C8000 or C9000 series of televisions. They have a great silver-colored bezel and come with an application store to extend their functionality. Plus, the C8000 is less than an inch thick, making it one of the more sleek options in the business.

The same might be said for Vizio’s line of HDTVs. The company consistently delivers nice-looking sets and it delivers a featureset — including Wi-Fi built-in — that makes all others in the market look awfully cheap with their services.

Assuming Apple wants to break into the television market, there’s no telling how it will fit in. As mentioned, it will likely add iTunes integration and include some extras that some other TV makers haven’t thought about. But other than that, I just don’t see Apple doing much more than delivering a nice television at a high price. After all, that has been Apple’s way over the last decade.

But I’m not quite sure that Apple’s strategy of delivering high-end products for a high-end price will necessarily work in the TV market. As Vizio’s meteoric rise in the television space has shown over the years, being a more budget-friendly HDTV vendor pays off. And there’s a reason why LCD prices have been plummeting over the past year.

Needless to say, I’m bored by the idea of Apple delivering a television at some point in the near future. Will it be well-designed? Sure. Will it offer some neat features? Of course. But will it be worth spending serious cash on?

I just don’t think so.

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