Rumors of Apple’s “iTV” set have spiraled ever since former CEO Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he finally “cracked the television.” Since then, many analysts and publications reported on the iTV—sometimes very inaccurately—claiming it will feature Siri and a Facetime camera for video calls built-in to a larger panel that looks like Apple’s current Thunderbolt displays (at least that’s the consensus). Analysts said Apple will announce the TV set later this year, but one analyst points out why this is not likely.
Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves released (via Fortune) a note to clients on Monday making some very good points. First off, he said the iTV does not make much sense if Apple cannot get content providers in line to stream content to the TV. This type of situation is one of the reasons that the Google TV out of Mountain View has not been off to a great start, because content providers are not in line to stream content for those who want to ditch cable. Moreover, those who tried to get access to online streaming of content from websites like NBC and ABC were quickly blocked. So, then comes the realization: why would Apple release a TV set if they do not have the right content providers? If it is going to use Internet streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, why not just stick with the current Apple TV solution?
Then comes the second point regarding Apple’s famous retail stores, which rank among the top retail spaces in the world. As Hargreaves pointed out, a TV would be a terrible use of space, compared to Apple’s smaller offerings like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. If Apple’s TV were in fact to be the rumored 46-inches, it would likely generate less than a mere 1/200th of the gross profit per cubic that the iPhone drives in retail. If money could generate from content, or from in-store sales, what would be the point?
Of course, Apple could have something very different up its sleeve, but the totally revamped Apple TV just does not seem likely this year. What seems more in-line is the rumored 7.85-inch “iPad Mini” that Apple is said to release later this year, and even then, I am skeptical.