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Apple has its sights set on conquering a new market

DailyTech earlier this year offered information from a definitive source which indicated that Apple Inc. (AAPL) was eyeing a move into the LCD television business.  At the time we had talked to an ex-Apple executive who had boasted of the potential of the device.  They pointed to a late 2011 launch, but added that a 2012 launch could be in order given (in so many words) Apple's desire to make things sleek and "perfect".

Well a 2011 launch clearly isn't in the cards, but several sources including Bloomberg and    Piper Jaffray Cos. analyst Gene Munster, have confirmed our source's statements and indicated the LCD TV is still in Apple's product pipeline.

Clues to the pending launch can be found in Walter Isaacson's biography of late Apple CEO and co-founder Steven P. Jobs.  Published by CBS Corp. (CBS), the book recounts an interview in which Mr. Jobs described cracking the problem of how to synchronize content from Apple devices (iPods, Macs, iPhones, iPads) with the TV.  Mr. Jobs stated, "It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine."

Bloomberg adds to the picture, informing that while a source indicates that the TV may never be released, Apple seems to be leaning in that direction, with several sources indicating that iTunes creator Jeff Robbin has been tasked with leading the new TV effort.  Mr. Robbin is an accomplished Apple engineer who helped design the company's hit iPod MP3 player, as well iTunes.

Gene Munster claims that Mr. Robbin's team is cooking up a prototype of the LCD set and could release the set sometime in 2012 or 2013.  He says the release window largely boils down to what kind of LCD unit supply and manufacturing contracts Apple can obtain.  Apple is notorious for driving industry-leading profit margins by ruthless negotiations when it comes to supply and manufacturing contracts.

Apple currently only manufacturers "Apple TV", a settop box that runs a cut down build of iOS and can run iTunes, YouTube, Netflix, and a handful of other services.  The late Mr. Jobs labeled Apple TV "a hobby".  Sales of the device have been low compared to Apple's other product lines.

The new device would reportedly be a full LCD TV unit, with connected entertainment features baked into it.  Presumably driven by iOS, it would wirelessly sync content with other Apple devices, and could even offer rudimentary console gaming, on par with the iPad.

In that regard, Apple will look to follow in the footsteps of Google Inc. (GOOG).  Google has partnered with companies like Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) to release television sets with internet-connected features.  However, the lack of third party apps has stunted the platform and caused a poor reception.  Google has learned from this mistake and is looking to roll out Android 3.1 Honeycomb to sets, adding third party app compatibility.  Apple will likely follow a similar approach, offering "iTV" apps from its App Store. 

The TV project presents both a challenge and an opportunity for Apple, with respect to its smart phone arch-nemesis Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO 005930).  On the one hand, the companies' deterioriating relationship presents a supply problem as Samsung is one of the largest suppliers of large LCD screens.  On the other hand, by releasing its only branded televisions, Apple would strike a blow at one of its rival's core businesses, much as Samsung struck Apple's smartphone business recently surpassing it in sales.

Source: Bloomberg

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RE: In before anti-Apple banter is spewed
By Reclaimer77 on 10/26/2011 1:51:29 PM , Rating: 1
(and didn't require a android/iphone to change channels)

The Logitech Revue comes with an almost full sized wireless keyboard with touch pad. The Sony Internet Google TV, the one I worked with yesterday, comes with a cool mini-keyboard controller with mini thumb-pad. You don't need a phone, the fact that you CAN use a phone and it runs/supports Android apps is a plus. I also like the fact that it comes with IR blasters AND supports Bluetooth.

As far as channels, I'll try and find a list. But it has a full browser so any network streams can be accessed just like you would on a pc. Google TV doesn't really try and replace your cable/satellite box. But it works nicely WITH it. You can have a website or something up with a picture-in-picture box so you can watch cable/satellite at the same time.

Lol listen to me, sounds like I'm advertising for them or something. But I think it's just a solid product that bridges the gap between TV and Internet content better than I've seen done to date.

RE: In before anti-Apple banter is spewed
By mellomonk on 10/26/2011 6:09:16 PM , Rating: 2
In almost every review written on Google TV setups, the tone goes negative the second they un-pack those keyboard remotes. Can you say "you're doing it wrong". The reviews only went downhill from there as they got into the interface. Ugh.

I am glad you enjoyed the product, but please understand that you are in a tiny tiny minority. Easily one of the worst consumer electronics products in the last decade.

BTW Before being questioned, I spent a trying three days with the Logitech unit. Interesting idea executed very poorly.

By Reclaimer77 on 10/26/2011 6:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
Every review was before the latest updates and Honeycomb, when the product we new and unpolished. What are people saying now?

" The early reviews had been bad, terrible in fact, and so I powered it up expecting a digital disaster.

Instead, I found a remarkably workable hardware/software combination that did everything that was promised.

Set up was a breeze, the shift from cable to web simple, and the device's ability to shift from various sources seamless.

Easily one of the worst consumer electronics products in the last decade.

Bullshit. Apple TV is :P

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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