Update: Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves reached out to us with some clarification on his note to clients earlier today noting the “commentary in our note was our interpretation and our thoughts based on the meetings we had”:
Nobody at Apple said anything to us about future products. The commentary in our note was our interpretation and our thoughts based on the meetings we had. It’s ok if you say “Analyst does not expect a TV any time soon”, but its incorrect to attribute the commentary to Apple management, particularly in the title.
While recent reports claimed Apple is in deep negotiations with cable operators to create a new cable TV platform for Apple TV, many also tied the reports to the possibility of a full-fledged Apple HDTV. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek claimed just last week that Apple’s HDTV set is in full production, and he went as far as including 2 million units of the device at an average sale price of $1,250 in his model for early 2013.
According to a note to clients from Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves, who spoke with Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer and Senior Vice President for Internet Services Eddy Cue on Wednesday, Apple’s entrance into the HDTV world is “extremely unlikely in the near-term.” Fortune posted an excerpt from Hargreaves’ notes today following his meeting with Oppenheimer and Cue:
An Apple Television Appears Extremely Unlikely in the Near-term
Relative to the television market, Eddy Cue, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services, reiterated the company’s mantra that it will enter markets where it feels it can create great customer experiences and address key problems. The key problems in the television market are the poor quality of the user interface and the forced bundling of pay TV content, in our view. While Apple could almost certainly create a better user interface, Mr. Cue’s commentary suggested that this would be an incomplete solution from Apple’s perspective unless it could deliver content in a way that is different from the current multichannel pay TV model.
Unfortunately for Apple and for consumers, acquiring rights for traditional broadcast and cable network content outside of the current bundled model is virtually impossible because the content is owned by a relatively small group of companies that have little interest in alternative models for their most valuable content. The differences in regional broadcast content and the lack of scale internationally also create significant hurdles that do not seem possible to cross at this point.
Several different reports earlier in the year pointed to the launch of a new TV-related service by holiday 2012. The New York Post reported in May that Apple would go ahead with a streaming service by Christmas despite issues with content providers, and recent reports suggested Apple could partner with AT&T and Verizon initially. Other analysts aside from Misek also pegged a late 2012-early 2013 launch for an Apple-branded HDTV set based on intel from component suppliers.
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