There is no iTV coming Apple (AAPL) fans. There won’t be a 50-inch retina display hanging off two studs in your wall anytime soon. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. Even The Street’s own Rocco Pendola hinted at that yesterday, despite others suggesting otherwise.
There’s no need for new hardware. Why make a large version of a tablet with smaller margins? It’s really that simple. In case you haven’t noticed, you can do everything on your iPad that you can do on your television….and A LOT more. A viewer just needs access or content.
Does that mean Apple is not going to revolutionize the way we watch television? Not at all. Remember picture-in-picture, how about picture AND picture. Imagine watching a football game with the traditional broadcast on one screen and the “All-22” on your tablet. (This is the end zone view that incorporates all the players on the field that is typically used by coaches…and Ron Jaworski). That’s just one possibility. The power lies in the software, not the hardware.
Think it’s a coincidence that Jony Ive is now elbow deep in software too? It’s an attempt to harness the power of existing hardware that he helped design to produce revolutionary experiences, not just products. So while there may never be a literal Apple TV, chances are the folks in Cupertino have something up their sleeves. Evidence abounds almost daily.
Take for instance the buildout Apple is currently overseeing of massive server farms all over the country. Why do they need so much space, so much power? Is their a streaming service in their future? Today, iTunes offers movies “a-la-carte” for about the price of a rental, back when things had to be rented from a store. You remember 2005 don’t you? Could they offer an all-inclusive package for a flat fee? Yes.
Is it possible that an iPad or iPhone could become an interactive touchscreen remote? Yes, it’s only software.What if Apple’s original content, if it chose to go there, was user created by following prompts on a user controlled interface on an iPad or other “AirPlay” device, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for each viewer? Which “True Detective” ending did you get last night Steve?
Recently, Apple and Time Warner (TWC) were rumored to be working together on a set-top box. Comcast (CMCSA) swept in and took Time Warner out or is trying to, stay tuned I guess. Bob Iger has been busing making exclusive deals with DirectTV (DTV) and Dish (DISH), the pair paying Disney for exclusive streaming rights and content in the future.
Perhaps Iger, one of the finest CEO’s in the country was able to convince them to take a deal now before it was too late. “Take advantage of this deal now boys because something is coming that is going to flip your model on its’ head.” Then again,what insights could Iger have into Apple.
Apple watchers have also noted R&D spending ramping back up. Certainly this could be a wearable or wearable devices, but their seems to be even more evidence of a TV play. Notice that the current “Apple TV” has it’s own tab at the store now, done in the past few weeks without much fanfare. Why break it out of “accessories” if the offering was not slated to be more robust?
Apple is ready to redefine TV, just not the set. Fans, relax, if history repeats itself, it won’t be just another rerun.
Currently I am Long AAPL