first you don't succeed try, try again. That seems like what Apple
Inc.'s (AAPL) motto
is, if a former executive is to be believed.
The former Apple executive, speaking with us on condition of anonymity, told us
that that the company's biggest upcoming product launch will be one that hasn't been made official yet -- Apple has plans to enter the TV business.
According to source Apple plans to "blow Netflix and all those other guys
away" by bundling Apple TV + iTunes inside physical television sets.
According to the source Apple is teaming up with a major supplier (our
guess would be Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (SEO:005930)), to provide the physical
televisions, which will be rebranded as Apple television sets.
We expressed incredulity that an OEM would allow Apple to cut into their bottom
line, but our source aptly pointed out the OEM would be winning even if Apple
cuts into their branded sales. States the source, "If you have to be
competing with somebody, you want to be competing with yourself."
According to the source, "You'll go into an Apple retail store and be able
to walk out with a TV. It's perfect."
The idea of Apple entering the large television display business has been
rumored on and off for a while now. After all, Apple has sold computer
displays for some
time now. But to our knowledge this is the first time such a project has been confirmed by a former or current executive.
Our source believed a fall launch was in order (potentially coinciding with the
iPhone launch?), but the product could launch as late as next year, given
Apple's "high standards".
The market prospects of such an Apple television lineup seems questionable,
assuming our source's information is accurate. Apple TV has struggled
with chief executive Steve Jobs billing
it a "hobby" and some analysts less kindly deeming it
"Apple's only major market failure." Apple does not release
sales info for Apple TV, but it is believed that the recent refresh hardly sent sales soaring.
Likewise, the product is almost identical to Google Inc.'s (GOOG) "Internet TV" project with Sony
which uses the company's "Google TV" version of its Android operating
system. Sales of Google TV products in general have been quite poor.
That said, it does seem like at some point people will warm to the idea of
internet TV, particularly if apps are included. It has already been confirmed
that full access to third-party apps is coming
to Google TV. The new iOS-driven televisions are expected to have third-party
apps as well.
To that end the new television may be partly an advance move to counter
Google's television efforts. Google just acquired Sage TV,
a company well known for its media center and DVR software. But if Apple
has its way, allegedly it will top Google in internet television sales.
Price and sales are clearly two of the biggest concerns for an Apple branded TV
launch. However, Apple's brand is incredibly strong and its devoted
fans have shown a tendency to pay whatever the company asks to get their
hands on its slender devices. Perhaps next year we'll be talking about
iTV in the same breath as iPad and iPhone.
Apple did not respond to requests for comment.