Alex Micek wrote a nice little piece titled "5 Things About Television" which suggests that there is in fact room in the market for Apple to build a television set. Apple has been rumored to be working on a set for some time, but some are convinced that the Apple TV box is Apple's real television play, and there's no room/need for Apple to build an actual set.
Those arguments are solid, but I think they ignore some key points, five of which were noted by Micek and five more of which I've noted below.
- Apple is a hardware company. How much can they be making off those Apple TV boxes? How many markets does Apple enter where there's not a hardware component that drives the lion's share of the margins and revenue?
- Even if Apple could get all the content deals it wanted, on its own terms, worldwide, would that even be enough? You'd still have these TV sets with shitty UIs and you'd have to go through those shitty UIs to get to the Apple TV interface. That is a compromised experience if ever there was one.
- People think of their televisions as a window to a world of content. They don't think about their TVs as computers, which they clearly are. There is a lot of room to completely transform the television experience. What happens from the moment you turn it on until you turn it off, is an experience ripe for disruption, because the experience hasn't been significantly altered since its inception.
- People argue that consumers don't buy new TVs that often, but it's not hard to imagine a lifespan of 3-5 years for a television set, along the lines of how often people buy new computers. Apple seems to be doing just fine selling computers to people who buy new models about every several years.
- Newer Smart TVs have apps. They are shitty apps. I mean really shitty apps. Here is an example of one such shitty app on my Samsung SMART TV. I think Apple could really up the ante here.