Originally Posted by zoetmb
The difference is that with MP3 players, phones and tablets, Apple was able to control the eco-system. That's what made those products so successful. With an Apple TV, they can't control the eco-system because they're dependent upon the set-top box makers and the cable/satellite companies. Unless Apple is going to buy out Time-Warner, Comcast, Verizon FIOS and all the other big players, I don't see how they can have big impact, unless they're planning to make huge investments in content and go around the MSOs and even then there would always be some network special or sporting event that they wouldn't be carrying.
I don't see that as a barrier if they develop the correct big partnerships. They've done it with equally big companies in other markets. Time Warner and Comcast would correctly realize that an Apple entry into the TV space would be something they would need to put some attention to, there could be standards and alliances made. Did Apple not coordinate with ATT to do Visual Voicemail?
Besides, the success of Apple's laptops, iPods, iPhones and iPads has changed the way people consume media. I'm not sure that younger people really care about sitting on the couch and passively watching television on a large screen (with the possible exception of sports), similar to how they're no longer interested in listening to music in the foreground on large stereo systems. Apple has really changed people's media consumption habits (for better or for worse.) So I'm really not sure that Apple would be interested in this market, even aside from the other issues.
You're just not seeing it. What makes you think that an Apple TV would remain just a TV? Just another HD set with an Apple logo on it? Really?
Getting into this means they would be value adding something to end users in a meaningful way. Maybe not meaningful to you personally, but as I pointed out before they don't need to do that, they just need to hit enough of the right notes with enough people for it to work. Maybe they want to make the first really truly smart TV? Perhaps a TV that is also a computer, one that actually works and isn't just a gimmick.
A TV with a FaceTime camera. One that is cloud aware and can do specific computing tasks. One that can run apps, even 3rd party apps. A whole new App market and ecosystem for 3rd parties to dive into. One that is competitive or even replaces the need for consoles. One that perhaps supplants or surpasses the desire to have cable TV at all. Perhaps one that makes cable TV much better, like what Google TV tried to do but not suck. Maybe all of these things.
These are just the ideas I can come up with as an outside observer. I probably have it completely wrong in some aspects, because I think there's great potential to attack this problem from an unexpected direction. Offer something, a killer app or feature of some kind that none of us have thought of. Apple routinely does this.
Even if they were and as per my other post, while Apple is a great and visionary company, they're also arrogant and stubborn. I don't see them creating a TV that would be as open as current TVs and supporting the use of receivers, Blu-ray players, HD game players, etc. Would an Apple TV even include HDMI ports? While I think Apple would simplify the device, I think they would also limit its utility and for me personally, that would be a non-starter. And I say that even though I sincerely believe that the Japanese electronics industry has made the entire chain of Blu-ray players, audio/video receivers, TVs and media server access unduly complex and highly illogical. (I'm an ex-audio engineer and even I'm not sure of what's going on some of the time.)
Would it include HDMI ports? Of course it would include at least 1, since the current AppleTV set top box does. Unless, and this is the only reason I can think of... unless HDMI ports are no longer relevant. How could that be possible? What if by the time in launches that blu-ray is no longer important, 3rd party consoles are no longer relevant. Because the TV has the right built in features, because of Airplay, because of perhaps a next gen wireless standard, because iTunes, Netflix and Hulu offer 1080p streaming video at cost and quality levels that make blu-ray obsolete.
Who cares if its a non-starter for you personally, this isn't about you. Or me for that matter. It's about offering something different and better than what the competition is offering. It's about moving us further into the future and away from the legacy of the past.
For anyone to really wrap their minds around this idea you have to go back to those silly notions from various scifi movies throughout the 80's and 90's. Movies like Aliens, Total Recall and others would show TV sets as being more than just TV's in the future. They had a dynamic presence, sure they did the news and broadcast programs, but they also ran advanced window dressing, specific apps and so on. TV's in these futures were advanced intelligent assistants in your home. Now I dont think Apple is looking to replicate these ideas exactly, but I do think they want to change the field. These movies at least showed a concept where whole walls were displays and they had alot of robustness.
I don't think I'm too far out there bringing this up. When Jobs and Ive first showed FaceTime running on the iPhone, their conversation centered around how "this is like the Jetsons". They're talking about taking the conceptual future of the past (however silly and unrealistic it was) and making it the reality of the present and future. They can do this. They are uniquely positioned to forge the partnerships, deals and get the components in place to not just make something compelling but make it real, different and priced right. You have to have their level of imagination. Few of us do. I can't see the full shape of it but I think they do and this new market they will help define, this new form of TV is inevitable. It's a question of when really, when does the technology convergence make sense to do it and when will they be able to implement their strategy.