Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Apple Should Avoid Selling an HDTV Set

The 2012 Holiday Season is upon us and there is no Apple TV Set.  According to "Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said he believes Apple will kick off the TV in November 2013."  But perhaps it is time to reconsider.

While Apple could use another new product to add to its inventory, an HDTV set is ripe with problems.  For one, consumers have already invested in big screen HDTVs.  Best Buy, a leading seller of electronics, is facing a tough fiscal year.  Prices for TVs in general continue to fall, making margins harder to reach and their is a glut of competitive product already on the shelf.  Second, the cable operators have no reason to trust Apple with their content and let them bypass their set top box.  Heck, Apple can't even get them to agree to use Apple's current TV product.  Third, the younger generation has already figured out how to bypass the cable box.  Xbox, Wii, Roku, and many others already can bring web content to the HDTV set.  And fourth,  the next generation is far more interested in smaller devices than larger ones.

So what should Apple release next.  The current Apple TV box still exists and has room to get better.  It integrates the iTunes library and for the Apple home, enables a conduit to the current TV screen.  It could get even better if Apple sought to build out a gaming model to compete with Xbox.  Integrating iPads, iPods, iPhones and other  new gaming devices to build an interactive experience across multiple screens.  Add to that a new visual approach, perhaps borrowing a bit from Google Glasses, and other  controller devices to make a more immersive experience.  Lastly, sell and/or rent games from iTunes.  No hard copies to clutter the living room; everything is stored in the cloud or downloaded onto the box.

So Apple, don't waste your time on the big HDTV screen.  It lacks the growth and margins to serve your needs.  Your opportunities are best served elsewhere.

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