Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has given the biggest hint yet that the Cupertino company is indeed planning an Apple-branded TV. Cook made the hint whilst revealing the sales figures for its current set top box Apple TV.
Speaking during a keynote speech at Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference he described the current Apple TV as merely a “hobby”. Cook also revealed that Apple has sold just over 3 million units of Apple TV during 2011, with a third of those sales accumulated in the last third of 2011.
Current Apple TV a “Hobby”
Cook spoke candidly about the success of Apple TV, and stated that Apple “doesn’t do hobbies as a general rule”. He then went on to say that the current Apple TV was merely them testing the waters of the television market and that Apple would need to do something “special” in order to really make a TV a “serious catergory” for Apple in the future.
Cook then went on to explain ‘hobby’ label for the current Apple TV: “The reason we call it a hobby is because we don’t want to send a message to you or our shareholders that we think the market for it is the size of our other businesses.”
He added that he believed Apple could “find something that was larger” so that its ventures into the television industry “could go more main-market.”
“I’ve finally cracked it”
Far from set in stone, an Apple TV remains a tantalizing rumour at the moment. The rumours begun when Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs said he had “finally cracked it” in an interview for his recently released autobiography.
“I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,” Jobs said. “It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”
Further Apple iTV rumours have suggested Apple will offer a variety of screen size options when it launches its first own branded television sets later this year. With 37 and 42-inch Apple iTV models reportedly in the works, some rumours have suggested Apple’s Design Chief Jonathan Ive is currently putting the finishing touches to a 50-inch set.
Samsung: “Were not scared of Apple”
Samsung, Apple’s nearest rival for TV’s, mobile and tablets, has stated that they aren’t scared by rumours of Apple entering the TV market.
Samsung’s AV product manager bullishly said: “We’ve not seen what they’ve done, but what we can see is that they don’t have 10,000 people in R&D in the vision category,”
Moseley went on to get technical, saying: “They don’t have the best scaling engine in the world and they don’t have world-renowned picture quality.”
Moseley reckons the fight for space in your living room will come down to picture quality: “TVs are ultimately about picture quality,” he asserts. “How smart they are… great, but let’s face it, that’s a secondary consideration.”
What Apple has proved over the last 10 years is that consumers don’t necessarily choose products purely on the basis of tech specs – this was true of the first iPhone. Nokia dismissed it as an inferior product and we all know what happened to Nokia since then.
The same can be said about the Motorola Xoom , it was supposed to be an iPad-killer – boasting better specs and performance – but once again consumers chose Apple and their slightly inferior product.
Smart TVs are very much in their infancy, with only really BBC iPlayer and, arguably, Netflix and Lovefilm as useful services at the moment. Apple’s app ecosystem arriving on the scene will be a sharp shock, although it’s certainly possible that Google TV can ‘do an Android’, with the first sets arriving in the UK later this year.
New Apple TV set top box incoming?
Apple is expected to launch the iPad 3 next month, and it would appear that we could also see the company launch the new Apple TV 3 next month as well, possibly at the same event.
According to the report, Best Buy seems to be out of stock of the existing Apple TV, and they are apparently unable to order any more from Apple, which could indicate that a new model is about to launch.
The device is also reported to be capable of full HD video in 1080p, which would mean we would see full HD video headed to iTunes, this would tie in with the rumor that the iPad 3 will feature a much higher resolution display than the existing model.