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Smart TV makers forming alliances out of fear Apple will soon dominate their industry too

post #1 of 161
Thread Starter 
Though concrete evidence of Apple's long-rumored foray into the Smart TV business largely boils down to a one-off comment made by the company's late co-founder shortly before his passing last year, several established TV makers are taking no chances and are reportedly scurrying to form alliances with one another to help defend their turf from the booming tech giant.

In particular, TPV Technology and LG Electronics are said to be either forming alliances with one another or are seeking out additional partners for smart TV alliances, sources speaking to DigiTimes say. They add that China-based TV brand Changhong has also formed an alliance and is placing bets on a cloud-based interface for its offerings which it hopes to solidify within three years.

The sources said the alliances are also forming as Apple is preparing to release a smart TV. Due to Apple's influence in the market, the sources fear it will further dominate the smart TV market, which is estimated to reach a 40% penetration rate by 2014.



Largely oblivious to tight-lipped Apple's precise plans for shaking up the Smart TV segment, these alliance-forming TV makers are reportedly banking on features for their own designs that will resemble those available from Samsung's industry-leading set designs. But they "will still need a lot of time before models start hitting stores," those same sources say.

Meanwhile, mounting evidence in recent months suggests Apple is poised for yet another mult-year head start on the competition, with financial analysts and reports out of the Far East indicating that the company plans to begin ramping production of its first Smart TV designs later this year for an introduction no later than early 2013.

Industry watchers believe that a recent $800 million deal between Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn and panel supplier Sharp was secretly driven by the initiative. It is expected that both companies will play a crucial role in building the television lineup if and when it launches.

In much the same way that Apple revolutionized the music and mobile computing industries by pioneering new interfaces and methods of consumer interaction within those mediums, the catalyst for an Apple Smart TV is widely believed to be the introduction of a more natural means of communicating with the device itself and accessing content remotely.

Television


World renowned for re-inventing broken technology, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs last year revealed to biographer Walter Isaacson that he had "cracked" the concept for the future of television that would be synced with all of a user's devices, and with Apple's iCloud service.

He hinted that such a device would spare users from having to use complex remotes for multiple devices like DVD players and cable boxes. Isaacson would later write in his top-selling biography that Jobs "wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant."

"It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine," Jobs was quoted as saying. "I finally cracked it."
post #2 of 161

So, what, when all these stupid rumors don't come true, where is there left to move? "Apple is making a game console"? I guess they could always go back to that one. What else do consumers buy? What do they generically "like"? I guess Apple could be getting back into speaker systems. Or microwaves.

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post #3 of 161

There is not enough value to be added to the idiot box to allow Apple to sell TVs and the steep margins they demand.  If Apple really does come out with a television set, it will probably be one of their few missteps over the past few years.  That speaker they made for a while is the last blunder I recall.  Interesting, another piece of entertainment hardware.
 

post #4 of 161
Without or with Apple, Tv makers struggle for survival, with razor thin margins. Only panels producers can capture a significant part of the added value.

this has always been the case in the electronic consumer goods industry : those who think that the only important part is the hardware (forgetting about the software, and the ecosystem) cannot survive ...
post #5 of 161

Famous. Last. Words.

 

"We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone," Ed Colligan apparently laughed about with John Markoff last Thursday morning. "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in." 

/

/

/

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post #6 of 161

My concept would be a smart entertainment system, not just TV, all controlled from my iPad. You would teach it all of your components, iPod, stereo, DVD, BluRay, computer, Cable etc and then a single icon would let you bring up which one(s) you want active, and in what context. So, play a Bluray movie on the TV, but run the sound through my stereo system: set up a Skype call, show it on the TV and send/show designated photos to the other person. Teaching the system to do each of these combinations might use an Automator-like training system.

post #7 of 161
They are all scared because they just build hardware to make money. And they just like to sit back and enjoy the money they make from customers pockets. Apple, on the other side, is concentrated on INNOVATING and on making the BEST PRODUCT POSIBLE. Apple does not stop working to sit back to just enjoy their money. If the other companies will just focus on innovating and making the best product they wouldn't have to be fearing Apple. It's that simple.
post #8 of 161

I own the iPod HiFi and I wouldn't call it a blunder. Amazing sound. I wouldn't call it a Blunder, just a product they didn't push. If they remade the exact same model and released it tomorrow I'd buy another.

post #9 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by xxSampleXX View Post

There is not enough value to be added to the idiot box to allow Apple to sell TVs and the steep margins they demand.  If Apple really does come out with a television set, it will probably be one of their few missteps over the past few years.  That speaker they made for a while is the last blunder I recall.  Interesting, another piece of entertainment hardware.
 

Really? You think TV watching is perfect. I'm glad it is for you. Seriously. It's not for me. There's tons of room for improvement, and I'll pay an uplift for it.

 

Yes, the speaker was a blunder because there was nothing to add there. If Apple could have made a much smaller speaker that still sounded good, then they would have had something.

post #10 of 161

The way I see it is that Apple realizes the big cable providers will not be able to hold on forever... just like the music companies when MP3 started getting popular. No matter how hard the providers want to fight it, a BIG change is coming! I would say in the next 5 years things are going to be very different. So if Apple can get in on the ground floor, or build it, they will in a heartbeat.

 

The major problem isn't necessarily the "Smart TV" interfaces or the apps on them (even though they are terrible), it is the standard cable box and it's ancient interface. If Apple figures out how to integrate the cable box with the guide into the TV in an elegant way and also bring the App Store on board, they would instantly have something that no major player has been able to do yet. If that happens, I will drop my 5 year old Bravia in a heartbeat.

post #11 of 161
This is hilarious. There is nothing to dominate. There is no such thing as a "Smart TV". LOL the lulz just keep coming.
post #12 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

Really? You think TV watching is perfect. I'm glad it is for you. Seriously. It's not for me. There's tons of room for improvement, and I'll pay an uplift for it.

Much of those issues are in content delivery and use tracking and could be done by Apple without making a tv. Which is what makes these rumors a tad laughable

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post #13 of 161

Talk about directing the course of the industry. Apple's come a long way. And they've earned it at every step. 

post #14 of 161

There are so many places for television to go that I don't know that it will ever be done. Microsoft is working on interactive linear television using the Kinect, where you can choose to take part (or not take part) in an episode of Sesame Street. What if you could play along with game shows? What if you could vote on American Idol? No one has done anything with the signal going back the other way. We have video conferencing on TVs, but no one has really popularized it yet. There is far more to the television than just improving the picture quality. Then there's all the voice command and logic stuff that people have been guessing at. The "play the latest episode of game of thrones" stuff. That's much better than searching through your TIVO or finding a channel. Maybe you can just say "I want to watch stuff about cars" and the tv can pull in a playlist made up of TV shows, movies, and youtube videos. Sony just bought an OnLive competitor, so TVs can have a game system that is played on some distant server and beamed back... so you always have the latest and greatest games on your TV. No one has great glasses-free TV yet. No one has done holograms yet. To say Apple has nothing to add to this conversation is short sighted.

post #15 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by sr2012 View Post

This is hilarious. There is nothing to dominate. There is no such thing as a "Smart TV".

Sure there is. It's whatever the companies say it is. Just like a Retina Display is whatever Apple says it is.

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post #16 of 161
Now if only Apple were entering the banking industry .... Talk about and industry that needs starting over!
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post #17 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by sr2012 View Post

This is hilarious. There is nothing to dominate. There is no such thing as a "Smart TV". LOL the lulz just keep coming.

You are correct! If anyone were to look up what was considered a 'Smart Phone' pre iPhone you do get some perspective on how Apple can add 'smart' to something in a way people with zero vision could ever have imagined. In fact many couldn't even see the new 'smart' for quite some time even after it was in front of them ... RIM for example.

It reminds me of stories of how primitive, tribes could not comprehend a photograph at first. So don't worry ... IF (I stress IF) Apple do come up with a smart TV the nay sayers may begin to get it, perhaps after a year or so and after Google and / or Samsung (and three years later Microsoft) copy it.
Edited by digitalclips - 7/20/12 at 8:16am
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post #18 of 161
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So, what, when all these stupid rumors don't come true, where is there left to move? "Apple is making a game console"? I guess they could always go back to that one. What else do consumers buy? What do they generically "like"? I guess Apple could be getting back into speaker systems. Or microwaves.

The Apple automobile

The Apple personal water craft

The Apple biplane

The Apple space shuttle

The Apple sex doll

The Apple fashion accessories

The Apple living room sofa

There's no end to the kind of silly rumors that people could start.
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post #19 of 161
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Originally Posted by rumpels View Post

They are all scared because they just build hardware to make money. And they just like to sit back and enjoy the money they make from customers pockets.

 

Very true, and the way they look at it is once the customer buys the TV, they have made their money and it is time to move on to the next sale. There is no support after the fact of regular updates or bug fixes or anything like that. Where Apple would be committed to pushing out firmware and bug fixes if issues arise... I believe they would treat it more like another computer than just another typical TV.

 

Also, concerning the margins issue people always bring up. We all know that Apple can charge more for their products, and they do so for a good reason. That is because they are always higher quality, they have the supply chain relationships to get cheaper parts, and they know we will buy them (at least I will). This, along with the revenue from the content deals they will be selling through the set, puts them in a unique position to possibly make a good profit in the TV market.

post #20 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by xxSampleXX View Post

There is not enough value to be added to the idiot box to allow Apple to sell TVs and the steep margins they demand.  If Apple really does come out with a television set, it will probably be one of their few missteps over the past few years.  That speaker they made for a while is the last blunder I recall.  Interesting, another piece of entertainment hardware.
 

 

The speaker wasn't a blunder. It was an experiment. A hobby device, much like the Apple TV box has been (although we can now suspect that, due to the recent upgrade, it might be moving out of that status).

 

In its current form, the Television as we've always known it, really is an "idiot box". A Smart TV, and one which Steve Jobs might have envisioned, could add tremendous value to the idea. Maybe even move it toward its original ideal as a "centerpiece for news, entertainment and information", except now, not just "Broadcast to you" but fully interactive, customized on-demand content, much of which could even have been created by you. Add a super intuitive, simplified interface and… yeah. Leaps forward happen like this. It did with the iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad… the MacBook Air was laughed at (what? no optical drive?? Ha!!) and now is the aspirational norm… the iMac… a thing of beauty on top of pretty awesome performance.

 

I wouldn't declare the future Apple Television dead before it arrives. Not based on their track record of the past four or five years...

post #21 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Now if only Apple were entering the banking industry .... Talk about and industry that needs starting over!

 

Agreed. Every big bank in America should be seized and run by people who know what they are doing. Not by coked up gamblers.

post #22 of 161

Collusion with the stated intent of thwarting competition.  What could go wrong?

 

I am not sure Apple plans to make a TV anyway.  They plan to change the entire industry.

 

Like Apple did with Music and Amazon did with books.  It is not all about, or even primarily about the device.

post #23 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

Agreed. Every big bank in America should be seized and run by people who know what they are doing. Not by coked up gamblers.

Don't stop at American Banks! They are all at the same game ... and what really irks me is even when they get caught red handed they never seem to be treated like other criminals!

Sorry ppl off topic ... back to Apple TV
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post #24 of 161

you don't protect your business forming alliances with other boneheads. Your protect your business by creating innovative products that are so good that people desire desperately. This is where Apple will crack them. 

 

They are selling "smartTV" stuff that is dumb, boring, complex and cannot be controlled fully by a mouse with half a brain. In the past every people could control a TV. Then they created the remote control and started adding shit to it. Now you have remote controls with 50 buttons that even people who understand that, struggle to remember where to change the channels and the volume, that are the only two things you really need 95% of time in a remote. This kind of stuff is where they will crack and sink like Titanic.

post #25 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

The Apple automobile
The Apple personal water craft
The Apple biplane
The Apple space shuttle
The Apple sex doll
The Apple fashion accessories
The Apple living room sofa
There's no end to the kind of silly rumors that people could start.

I'm sure if they had the will and the time Apple could manage any one of these and improve them greatly. Imagine the doll ... upload your play list to iCloud ... your family can share this account by using the same ID and password ... oops!
Edited by digitalclips - 7/20/12 at 8:16am
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post #26 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So, what, when all these stupid rumors don't come true, where is there left to move? "Apple is making a game console"? I guess they could always go back to that one. What else do consumers buy? What do they generically "like"? I guess Apple could be getting back into speaker systems. Or microwaves.

 

I think the short answer is, anything they want to. 

 

Whatever inspires them. Wherever they can make a difference. And of course, make s living (and then some) doing it. 

 

One thing easily overlooked about Apple is what drives them. It's really about making COOL and USEFUL stuff that improves or enhances lives in some way, and does so in the simplest, most elegant way possible. It's a very Zen approach to functional minimalism...

 

I could see a future Apple "car" … they might not manufacture it, or have a complete hand in the engineering of the motor, brakes, etc… but imagine a really "smart automobile" that's integrated through both software and hardware innovation to integrate with the rest of your life -- the continuity of your days -- in ways we could only imagine now. We're rapidly heading towards "hands free driving", more accessible and desirable public transportation, new fuel and engine tech… What are you going to do on road trips where you don't have to drive? iPad comes in pretty handy at times like those. If it's also integrated with the car and its controls? mm-hmm… If Apple got involved with that, brought their culture to it? Wow…

 

Plenty of other areas too. I think Tim Cook dropped a hint recently… They're moving into small appliances, of course! Refrigerators and Toasters. Hey, he seemed pretty knowledgable about what worked together and what didn't… must be the result of RESEARCH, yes? heheh… ;))))

 

But really, if it extrapolates from where they are and is a logical step, I'd say watch for it… 

post #27 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post
Imagine the doll ... upload your play list to iCloud ... your family can share this account by using the same ID and password ...

 

1000

 

EDIT: Uh… hello? Huddler? Animated GIF? So… animate it… 

 

EDIT: Ugh… Do I like that the new editor works with Safari 6 again? Sure. Would I trade all of those features away to have the old image uploader back? The one that actually works? …Maybe.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #28 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


Don't stop at American Banks! They are all at the same game ... and what really irks me is even when they get caught red handed they never seem to be treated like other criminals!
Sorry ppl off topic ... back to Apple TV

 

Don't worry, I think we're all pretty much on the same page with you on that score… but yeah, about those televisions… ;)

post #29 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


The Apple automobile
I'd probably buy one if was electric or hybrid AND cool… iCloud integration, navigations, hands-free driving, iTunes on the road? yeah….

The Apple personal water craft
Based on Steve Jobs' yacht design?

The Apple biplane
Ha! Triplane! Only the best for our Apple products.

The Apple space shuttle
Richard Branson would be onboard for that one...

The Apple sex doll
No, I have enough gear-pr0n as it is….

The Apple fashion accessories
We already have oodles of those...

The Apple living room sofa
Siri… activate the foot massager. Ahhhh, thank you SIri...

There's no end to the kind of silly rumors that people could start.
You forgot a few:
- Apple Airlines
- Urban Trains, designed by Apple in California
- Apple has cracked the Transporter: Introducing the new iBeam.
- You're right, there's no end to it!
 
post #30 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post



EDIT: Uh… hello? Huddler? Animated GIF? So… animate it… 

EDIT: Ugh… Do I like that the new editor works with Safari 6 again? Sure. Would I trade all of those features away to have the old image uploader back? The one that actually works? …Maybe.

I miss Firefly!
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post #31 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

Famous. Last. Words.

 

"We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone," Ed Colligan apparently laughed about with John Markoff last Thursday morning. "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in." 

 

Great quote. The article was pretty short and worth posting here. The smackdown the article author throws down is classic as well:

 

-----------------------------------------

 

"We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone," Ed Colligan apparently laughed about with John Markoff last Thursday morning. "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in."

 

Ed, baby, sweetheart, a couple quick reminders. First: it's not hard to beat "decent," especially when your phones are on the 2004 cutting edge of design and you still haven't managed to slim it like a Q or WiFi it like an HTC. Second: PC guys already did figure it out -- that's why you're running Windows Mobile on your phones, remember? Not that we really have to continue, but third: as John Hodgman and Justin Long would have us remember, the sad, disgruntled differences between"PC guys" and Mac guys tend to transcend borders and cultures.

 

Gates isn't Jobs, and Steve's phone certainly isn't going to be riddled with the same issues as our beloved WinMo. No, the iPhone will have its own set of annoying issues, but believe you us, Ed, Apple will "just walk in," so you'd better have a fewand-one-more-thing-s up those sleeves of yours if you're thinking about stopping a mass defection.

 

-----------------------------------------

 

 



Classic!
post #32 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Don't stop at American Banks! They are all at the same game ... and what really irks me is even when they get caught red handed they never seem to be treated like other criminals!

Reminds me of a quote:
Quote:
"Isn't it great to live in a society where the penalty for lying to a congressman can be up to 30 years in jail, but the penalty for a congressman lying to you is another two years in office."
-Peter Schmuck, re Roger Clemens -
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post #33 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


I miss Firefly!

Same here....

post #34 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

EDIT: Uh… hello? Huddler? Animated GIF? So… animate it… 

Can't anything be done about this move to Huddler? All regular posters complain. Totally OT post of me, but maybe (for the) better as opposed to a PM. Are you able to have someone at AI address this issue? It sure seems to be an issue, especially when AI's moderators complain, in concert with their members.
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post #35 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by tribalogical View Post

 

The speaker wasn't a blunder. It was an experiment. A hobby device, much like the Apple TV box has been (although we can now suspect that, due to the recent upgrade, it might be moving out of that status).

 

In its current form, the Television as we've always known it, really is an "idiot box". A Smart TV, and one which Steve Jobs might have envisioned, could add tremendous value to the idea. Maybe even move it toward its original ideal as a "centerpiece for news, entertainment and information", except now, not just "Broadcast to you" but fully interactive, customized on-demand content, much of which could even have been created by you. Add a super intuitive, simplified interface and… yeah. Leaps forward happen like this. It did with the iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad… the MacBook Air was laughed at (what? no optical drive?? Ha!!) and now is the aspirational norm… the iMac… a thing of beauty on top of pretty awesome performance.

 

I wouldn't declare the future Apple Television dead before it arrives. Not based on their track record of the past four or five years...


Don't get me wrong, I'm interested to see what they come up with.  But there is very little margin on the hardware side of television and I have a hard time conjuring up TV hardware that would be so superior to what I have that I'd pay a premium for it.  But as you point out, they've pulled it off before.

post #36 of 161

be afraid.  be very afraid.

post #37 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Meanwhile, mounting evidence in recent months suggests Apple is poised for yet another mult-year head start on the competition, with financial analysts and reports out of the Far East indicating that the company plans to begin ramping production of its first Smart TV designs later this year for an introduction no later than early 2013.

 

And Apple must be absolutely loving the fact that everyone, from pro-Apple bloggers (AppleInsider) to traditional media (New York Times) to their future TV industry rivals (LG et al) is focusing on what the Apple television might look like.  And on what components it might contain. And the LGs of the world think that circling their wagons by creating their own smart TV app standard and building out some cloud storage might help them survive.

 

In other words, everyone is looking only skin-deep.  Have LG and Changhong signed deals with the major movie and TV studios in Hollywood and New York City?  Doubt it.  Negotiating with entrenched content providers is time-consuming, costly, frustrating, and requires serious consumer electronics and entertainment industry leverage.  (And negotiations take even longer when you need translators.)  Do LG and Changhong have the cash to build out their smart TV infrastructure around the world?  Doubt that too.  Even if they do have the money, are they willing to gamble it all on something that may never make a profit?  It could take years to build out modular data centers like Apple has built in North Carolina and is planning to build in Oregon and Texas.

 

Those are just two of the harder problems to solve: securing content deals and building out the massive infrastructure.  I'm sure there are plenty more.

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post #38 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Now if only Apple were entering the banking industry .... Talk about and industry that needs starting over!

I was thinking about that last night....

 

Actually, it's likely the payment card industry.   The ultimate smart card is a smart phone.  PIN enabled, Internet connected.  If Apple can disintermediate the cards and go right to the banks... Apple disintermediates PayPal, Amazon, Visa and Mastercard.  gets their 'float' and say, half of the 2-3% per purchase the Payment cards charge the 'merchants' and sends the other half to the banks.... With the advent of passbook and NFC, big money.

 

It's a pretty simple app to generate a 'single use' credit card number for purchases which points to your AppleID iTunes account.   Apple then goes right to the bank with nightly debits to your bank account, manages a line of credit for you...

 

In a couple years, Apple will be approaching 'big bank' status with the amount of cash reserves.  If they started to offer a 'credit card' (at 11.7% interest)... that's a pretty good rate of return on that idle cash.

post #39 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by MACT View Post

My concept would be a smart entertainment system, not just TV, all controlled from my iPad. You would teach it all of your components, iPod, stereo, DVD, BluRay, computer, Cable etc and then a single icon would let you bring up which one(s) you want active, and in what context. So, play a Bluray movie on the TV, but run the sound through my stereo system: set up a Skype call, show it on the TV and send/show designated photos to the other person. Teaching the system to do each of these combinations might use an Automator-like training system.

you're on the right track. but of course consumers don't want to have to "teach" - or learn - anything. they want it all to Just Work.

 

which is happening already. all STB's connect to your home LAN nowadays by wifi or ethernet, and iOS apps are available for their UI. Tivo, Comcast and other cablecos. even the XBox now (Sony PS3 and Nintendo are still holding out, the fools). A/V receivers/home theater systems will be next, altho they have been much slower in incorporating the necessary LAN connectivity.

 

but many of the TV OEM's now want their own "walled gardens" of proprietary smart TV setups. they want to mimic Apple, and lock you into buying all your hardware from them. Sony is the farthest along - and it sells its own Android tablets as well as offering an iOS UI app.

 

so beyond apps for UI control of each component, everything is reality fragmented right now.

post #40 of 161
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post
Now if only Apple were entering the banking industry .... Talk about and industry that needs starting over!

 

Apple gets 30% of all transactions. As it's their standard contract, no one can do squat about it.

 

Apple singlehandedly pays off the entirety of the national debt less than a year later. That's WITH the Medicare stuff they never report (the hundred trillion we actually owe).

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

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AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPod + iTunes + AppleTV › Smart TV makers forming alliances out of fear Apple will soon dominate their industry too