or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPod + iTunes + AppleTV › Steve Jobs believed HDTVs were a 'terrible business,' saw Apple TV set as unlikely, new book reveals
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Steve Jobs believed HDTVs were a 'terrible business,' saw Apple TV set as unlikely, new book reveals

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
Before his death, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs reportedly said in a meeting with his top 100 employees that he didn't believe the company would ever release a television set, due to low margins and infrequent user upgrades.

Apple TV


Details of the alleged 2010 meeting between Jobs and staff at the company's annual "Top 100" meeting come from a a new book by former Wall Street Journal reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane entitled "Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs," set to be released this Tuesday. Excerpts from the upcoming book were published on Sunday by Business Insider.

According to Kane, Jobs was asked at the meeting whether the company was planning to release a full-fledged television set, going beyond the company's Apple TV streaming set-top box. Jobs responded flatly with "no," without hesitating, people allegedly at the meeting indicated.Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is alleged to have said in 2010 that the television set business is "terrible," and he didn't believe Apple should try to compete.

"TV is a terrible business," Jobs is alleged to have said. "They don't turn over and the margins suck."

The details fly in contrast to what Jobs himself told biographer Walter Isaacson, who penned the CEO's authorized biography entitled "Steve Jobs," which came out shortly after his death in 2011. In those discussions, Jobs said he envisioned an advanced connected television that would sync with all of a user's devices via iCloud while being easy to use and navigate.

The HDTV market is notoriously difficult, with major players struggling with low margins and declining sales. Just last week it was revealed that HDTV sales dropped 10 percent year over year.

After Jobs' death in late 2011, rumors began to swell that Apple was working on a connected television set for release at some point in the future. Since then, though, those expectations have largely cooled off, and recent claims have instead suggested that the company is working on a next-generation version of its existing Apple TV set-top box, which saw sales top $1 billion for the first time in 2013.
post #2 of 91
R.I.P Steve Jobs.
post #3 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple TV

The details fly in contrast to what Jobs himself told biographer Walter Isaacson, who penned the CEO's authorized biography entitled "Steve Jobs," which came out shortly after his death in 2011. In those discussions, Jobs said he envisioned an advanced connected television that would sync with all of a user's devices via iCloud while being easy to use and navigate.

No, they don't contradict anything. Jobs told Issacson that he "cracked" it or what have you. The world interpreted that as a physical set. Truth is we don't know. A physicL set is a suckers game.
post #4 of 91
Yup. If true, that's exactly why Apple should stay away from making TV sets.
post #5 of 91
Was that the illusion before the reveal by the magician?

He envisioned TV in Isaacson's book and said it would be a TV set. So was this 2010 meeting before or after his discussion of TV with Walter?

From the book:
Quote:
"I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use."
You can't spell appeal without Apple.
Reply
You can't spell appeal without Apple.
Reply
post #6 of 91

DUH.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #7 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post

No, they don't contradict anything. Jobs told Issacson that he "cracked" it or what have you. The world interpreted that as a physical set. Truth is we don't know. A physicL set is a suckers game.

To me, cracking it, always meant a way to get a great UI that is easy to control, which I interpret to mean the "TV" simply becomes a dumb monitor, which is how most of us have used it for years, completely bypassing the built-in tuner, but unfortunately still needing to use their clunky and slow input controls to change between cable/sat box, AppleTV/Roku/Chromecast media extender, and/or Blu-ray/DVD player.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #8 of 91
Jobs was smart. HDTV's are not only commodities, there's nothing about them needs the Apple touch. Where Apple might shine is in a box that connects to them and provides the content. There, Apple can shine and leverage its other investments.

Notice too that Apple hasn't payed much interest in computer displays in years. Nothing there either. Do what you do well. Leave the rest too others.
post #9 of 91
Here we go again, stupid information from Kane. Was she there? Who gave her this information? How many times do we have to say alleged or rumored or something like this before we quit listening to supposed journalists trying to make money on stuff they said, someone said, while someone else was supposedly attending a supposed meeting.
post #10 of 91
Jobs did crack it. It was a no-go for an HDTV.
post #11 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

Jobs was smart. HDTV's are not only commodities, there's nothing about them needs the Apple touch. Where Apple might shine is in a box that connects to them and provides the content. There, Apple can shine and leverage its other investments.

Notice too that Apple hasn't payed much interest in computer displays in years. Nothing there either. Do what you do well. Leave the rest too others.
One could say the same about pretty much anything Apple is in. A $99 box doesn't move the needle on $170 billion revenue base unless you can get a lot more people buying the $99 box and a reason for them to upgrade it ever 2-3 years.
post #12 of 91
Why would Apple enter the TV business when the ATV can connect to every HD TV ever made. I know which category I'd prefer to be in.
iPad, Macbook Pro, iPhone, heck I even have iLife! :-)
Reply
iPad, Macbook Pro, iPhone, heck I even have iLife! :-)
Reply
post #13 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post

Why would Apple enter the TV business when the ATV can connect to every HD TV ever made. I know which category I'd prefer to be in.
Because TVs bring in more revenue than $99 boxes do. Unless Apple has a bunch of other stuff in the pipeline to drive revenue growth.
post #14 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


One could say the same about pretty much anything Apple is in. A $99 box doesn't move the needle on $170 billion revenue base unless you can get a lot more people buying the $99 box and a reason for them to upgrade it ever 2-3 years.

It does move the needle. That $99 box brought in more than half a percent of Apple's cash last year ($1bn revenue)

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


Because TVs bring in more revenue than $99 boxes do. Unless Apple has a bunch of other stuff in the pipeline to drive revenue growth.

Revenue means nothing. Profitability is Apple's concern, and profit of a $99 APT won't be far off profit for a standard TV. Most of the big name TV manufactures nowadays make almost nothing on TV's.

post #15 of 91

The physical TV business does have terrible margins and low turnover.  So scrap that, and on to Apple TV, being a content distributor.   It is tough to distinguish yourself without being a content creator, and there are a ton of players.  At the time, it would make sense that Steve might have thought he "cracked it" in how you get into the content delivery business *and* make good margins doing it.  That was about the time he was formulating the iBooks deals.  Given he anticipated that scheme working (and it did, Apple would be making the lions share in profits in books had it stood), if he applied the same method to content providers, Apple would be making a killing in TV too.

 

As it is I don't really see it being a 'breakout' product for Apple.  Yes, they have a ton of users and the platform advantage- so it makes sense for them to pursue it because they will make easy money, but it is never going to be more than a blip relative to iPhone income.

post #16 of 91
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post
Because TVs bring in more revenue than $99 boxes do.

 

But nowhere near the profit.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #17 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saarek View Post

Why would Apple enter the TV business when the ATV can connect to every HD TV ever made. I know which category I'd prefer to be in.
Because TVs bring in more revenue than $99 boxes do. Unless Apple has a bunch of other stuff in the pipeline to drive revenue growth.

No they really don't. Apple has to buy (and then ship to customers) those 42" 55" 60" displays from Samsung.

It's a no win no matter how you figure it.

post #18 of 91
At present, TVs are low margin products which last consumers around 8 years or so. If Apple does make a TV set, I don't see them making huge changes with each new model. They would likely make design refinements, display quality upgrades etc. Enough to make them get decent market share in the crowded TV market. Apple will succeed, as usual with the harmonious integration of great software and beautiful hardware design.
If someone buys a $99 Apple TV and connects it to a Smart TV, the TV will likely have Netflix and similar apps, like the Apple TV. Then the Apple TV becomes another device fighting for space with all the other content delivery possibilities.
If Apple made a television set, it would heavily focus on the iTunes store as a first point of purchase for content. In other words, Apple would have control of the user experience with their own TV set. I do believe that Apple would make good margins on their own TV set, but the real profit would be in the content. I have to believe that Apple are building all those data centres with something big in mind. i am sure we will found out soon enough. Remember, Steve was known for spreading FUD to throw off the competition.
post #19 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post

Jobs did crack it. It was a no-go for an HDTV.

Exactly. As many have said on this blog before.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
Reply
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
Reply
post #20 of 91
That doesn't sound like Jobs to me. Someone is desperate to sell a book. Steve said himself, it's on video, that they talked about doing a TV at Apple but couldn't because there's no go-to-market strategy. I don't believe Jobs said this.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #21 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Because TVs bring in more revenue than $99 boxes do. Unless Apple has a bunch of other stuff in the pipeline to drive revenue growth.

Are you sure all HDTVs bring in a profit at all? I suspect many are sold at a loss or break even at best and no after sales. Remember, that $99 box as you call it sells stuff that Apple also makes profit on. I doubt Apple even care about making a profit on the Apple TV itself although I bet they do make one.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
Reply
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
Reply
post #22 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by alcstarheel View Post

Was that the illusion before the reveal by the magician?

He envisioned TV in Isaacson's book and said it would be a TV set. So was this 2010 meeting before or after his discussion of TV with Walter?

From the book:

Quit quoting facts around here. No one here cares about facts. They just care that Apple doesn't release a TV so they can have a prideful sleep at night.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #23 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

Here we go again, stupid information from Kane. Was she there? Who gave her this information? How many times do we have to say alleged or rumored or something like this before we quit listening to supposed journalists trying to make money on stuff they said, someone said, while someone else was supposedly attending a supposed meeting.

Exactly. The only thing haunted around here is her book of bullshit.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #24 of 91
If it weren't for the Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo no one would be watching TV any more.

/s
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
post #25 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubston View Post

At present, TVs are low margin products which last consumers around 8 years or so. If Apple does make a TV set, I don't see them making huge changes with each new model. They would likely make design refinements, display quality upgrades etc. Enough to make them get decent market share in the crowded TV market. Apple will succeed, as usual with the harmonious integration of great software and beautiful hardware design.
If someone buys a $99 Apple TV and connects it to a Smart TV, the TV will likely have Netflix and similar apps, like the Apple TV. Then the Apple TV becomes another device fighting for space with all the other content delivery possibilities.
If Apple made a television set, it would heavily focus on the iTunes store as a first point of purchase for content. In other words, Apple would have control of the user experience with their own TV set. I do believe that Apple would make good margins on their own TV set, but the real profit would be in the content. I have to believe that Apple are building all those data centres with something big in mind. i am sure we will found out soon enough. Remember, Steve was known for spreading FUD to throw off the competition.

I hope you're right and I completely agree. I've been posting comments like this for 7 years now. An integrated TV set is the future, but without securing the TV shows that TV won't happen. A TV that's accounted for over a 2-year period is the only way Apple can bring a premium TV (my dream) to market. And the only way this is possible is with a monthly all-you-can-eat TV plan as part of the product package. You'd search genre and search for your show and watch it. Boom!
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
post #26 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


Because TVs bring in more revenue than $99 boxes do. Unless Apple has a bunch of other stuff in the pipeline to drive revenue growth.

You don't understand anything about profit margins.

 

Luckily for AAPL shareholders, you didn't run Apple Inc.

post #27 of 91

I've mentioned it before but I still think it would make sense for Apple to buy Elgato and incorporated the tuner into aTV. Perhaps an aTV could hook up to an HDTV or a Mac. The main issue with the current eyeTV is that many cable companies encrypt their HD content so if Apple were to buy it, they would still have to make deals with the cable companies. Having a real tuner does two things. One, they become the controlling UI with access to live channels and two, they become involved locally with the Emergency Alert System. If people come home from work and turn on the aTV as their primary access to local and streaming content that is basically controlling the living room. I really don't think the cables love the set top user interface they currently have and would embrace Apple's help in that area so long as they don't lose control of their content. Apple just needs to play nice, which sometimes proves difficult for them.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #28 of 91
This article should be titled: "The Many (alleged) Lives of Apple's Connected TV"

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #29 of 91
I think it's a ruse get the competition to waste R&D resources in designing and building a TV.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #30 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I've mentioned it before but I still think it would make sense for Apple to buy Elgato and incorporated the tuner into aTV. Perhaps an aTV could hook up to an HDTV or a Mac. The main issue with the current eyeTV is that many cable companies encrypt their HD content so if Apple were to buy it, they would still have to make deals with the cable companies. Having a real tuner does two things. One, they become the controlling UI with access to live channels and two, they become involved locally with the Emergency Alert System. If people come home from work and turn on the aTV as their primary access to local and streaming content that is basically controlling the living room. I really don't think the cables love the set top user interface they currently have and would embrace Apple's help in that area so long as they don't lose control of their content. Apple just needs to play nice, which sometimes proves difficult for them.

What percentage of Apple's customer base access media from a TV tuner? I was a child (not even a teenager) the last time I tried using bunny ears to tune in a station over the airwaves. I think the only way for this to work is for Apple to find a way to work with cable and sat companies, which may not be dissimilar to Apple's CarPlay partnerships.
Edited by SolipsismX - 3/16/14 at 6:58pm

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #31 of 91

Tim Cook, December 2012.

 

""When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years," Cook said. "It's an area of intense interest. I can't say more than that."

The problem with posting nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence on the internet is that it takes away all the mystique...
Reply
The problem with posting nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence on the internet is that it takes away all the mystique...
Reply
post #32 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

What percentage of Apple's customer base access media from a TV tuner? I was a child (not even a teenage) the last time I tried using bunny ears to tune in a station over the airwaves. I think the only way for this to work is for Apple to find a way to work with cable and sat companies, which may not be dissimilar to Apple's CarPlay partnerships.

I am a cordcutter. I access televised content via "over-the-air" broadcast transmission as well as Amazon Prime Instant, Apple iTunes, Hulu Plus and Netflix Instant in addition to a few other methods. I believe I am the minority of Apple customers.
post #33 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post

I am a cordcutter. I access televised content via "over-the-air" broadcast transmission as well as Amazon Prime Instant, Apple iTunes, Hulu Plus and Netflix Instant in addition to a few other methods. I believe I am the minority of Apple customers.

So you going to cut that coax coming into your house? 1smoking.gif

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #34 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I was a child (not even a teenage) the last time I tried using bunny ears to tune in a station over the airwaves.

This post has been reported to Greenpeace.
The problem with posting nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence on the internet is that it takes away all the mystique...
Reply
The problem with posting nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence on the internet is that it takes away all the mystique...
Reply
post #35 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Tim Cook, December 2012.

""When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years," Cook said. "It's an area of intense interest. I can't say more than that."

And when I go out at night and see the moon I feel like I've gone backwards in time a few million years. Sometimes we're powerless to change things.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #36 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

This post has been reported to Greenpeace.

It's a good thing I didn't stick with my original draft: I like to molest small woodland animals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

And when I go out at night and see the moon I feel like I've gone backwards in time a few million years. Sometimes we're powerless to change things.

I don't think that's a fair statement since we're talking about technology. Also, if you go back 2 billion years the Moon would have been about 50,000 miles closer than it is now bringing the gap from about 239,000 miles to 189,000 miles (assuming the 1.5" per year is a constant, which I doubt it is) which means it was much larger back then.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #37 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

And when I go out at night and see the moon I feel like I've gone backwards in time a few million years. Sometimes we're powerless to change things.

 

You may not have noticed but that statement confirms neither that Apple is working on either a hardware set or a set-top box, nor did I offer whatever I believed.

 

Should we make a space for you and Tyler Durden to get into a disagreement?

 

;)

The problem with posting nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence on the internet is that it takes away all the mystique...
Reply
The problem with posting nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence on the internet is that it takes away all the mystique...
Reply
post #38 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

It's a good thing I didn't stick with my original draft: I like to molest small woodland animals.

 

I think changing that post really saved your bacon.

 

File source: http://ohinternet.com/File:JeanLucPicardFacepalm.jpg

The problem with posting nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence on the internet is that it takes away all the mystique...
Reply
The problem with posting nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence on the internet is that it takes away all the mystique...
Reply
post #39 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I don't think that's a fair statement since we're talking about technology. Also, if you go back 2 billion years the Moon would have been about 50,000 miles closer than it is now bringing the gap from about 239,000 miles to 189,000 miles (assuming the 1.5" per year is a constant, which I doubt it is) which means it was much larger back then.

I don't think TC's comments are fair either, unless he goes home to a CRT TV that has knobs. TV nowadays is very different than it was 20, or even 10 years ago.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
Reply
post #40 of 91

Steve was the greatest CEO of all time.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPod + iTunes + AppleTV › Steve Jobs believed HDTVs were a 'terrible business,' saw Apple TV set as unlikely, new book reveals