Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote in a report last week that he expects Apple to have a
“connected TV” on store shelves by 2011. According to Munster, the
HDTV would feature DVR functionality and home media accessibility.
Am I the only person who is already getting excited about the
possibility of Apple releasing such a product? Sure, the company has
an Apple TV set-top box that connects to your current HDTV, but as
Steve Jobs has said on numerous occasions, it’s just a “hobby” device
that, so far, Apple hasn’t taken very seriously.
Perhaps that’s because it plans to create some interest in Apple’s
multimedia features with the Apple TV and capture significant market
share with an HDTV. That sounds like a plan to me.
But before Apple can start doing that, we need to remember that the
company certainly won’t be first to provide such a product. LG
already allows users to stream Netflix movies in its own set of
connected TVs. Toshiba is also planning to offer connected TVs at
some point in the future. Both companies are respected brands in the
HDTV space. Apple will need to break through and differentiate itself
in order to capture consumers away from those two brands.
Is there any doubt Apple will? Apple is simply the best at
providing an experience. It’s also the best in the industry at
determining what consumers want before they even know it. The Apple
HDTV will certainly feature all the options currently available in the
Apple TV, but it will also add an important feature that you won’t
find in that set-top box: application support. Apple’s App Store has
become just as important to its success as iTunes. Without it, the
iPhone wouldn’t be nearly as attractive of a product. By bundling
both iTunes and the App Store into its connected TV, Apple will have a
major leg up over its competitors.
Of course, whether or not Apple can deliver a solid product is up
for debate. It would be the first HDTV the company would produce.
And given the fact that that industry changes so rapidly, it might be
difficult for Apple to stay on top for long.
Honestly, I’m not worried. Apple’s Cinema Displays are some of the
best monitors on the market. They’re gorgeously designed, but they
also feature outstanding picture quality. Apple has had some trouble
with first-run products in the past, but that will be ignored once
consumers see what Apple produces. If I had to bet, I’d say Apple’s
connected TV would be the best-looking product on the market, it would
have some of the most impressive specs, and it would have all the
extras that would make Apple stand out in the industry.
The HDTV market is changing, but it’s arguably moving at a slow,
calculated pace. Apple will change all that. It will put competitors
on notice. And it will drastically improve our experience with HDTVs.
Just look at what Apple has done in the smartphone space for proof of
I’m ready for an Apple HDTV. Now, who’s with me?
Article courtesy of InternetNews.com.