By Greg Mills
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster continues to insist Apple is going to go whole hog into producing TV sets. I think that is extremely unlikely for common sense reasons that are hard to rebut. The biggest reason is that LCD, LED, 3D or whatever display format you might mention is already being sold so cheaply there isn’t enough money in it for Apple to be interested.
I recently bought a Visio 55-inch LCD set at Sam’s for US$898 on Black Friday. And I invested $120 more for a BlueRay player with Visio Internet Applications. Apple is used to margins that would curl the hair of most electronics companies. Even at a discounter like Sam’s, you know there has to be some margin for Sam’s to pay the folks that work there and keep the lights on. There simply isn’t enough money left in the TV industry for Apple to be diverted into selling a commodity item. Short of buying Visio or Sony, there are differences in the markets that would divert Apple’s attention from the killer categories they have a hammer lock on.
If you were Apple, would you rather produce and sell two low end iPads or one giant screen TV set to gross the same amount of money? Which is a more elegant and profitable item?
Let’s assume for the benefit of Mr. Munster that Apple has been plugging away for a few years now on a killer 3D technology that is simply ground-breaking. That isn’t hard to imagine based upon the history of the company. The problem is that every TV manufacturing company out there is also working on the next generation of TV set. Super duper HD with 3D is coming, but I think not from Apple.
While it is certainly true that Apple is interested in the living room and has launched Apple TV that does not mean they intend to build TV sets. If they can accomplish the digital download business they are interested in by selling a little black box, why would they try to muscle into TV sets?
I have been wrong before, but Apple already sells nice Cinema Displays that cost as much as my monster TV. If anything, Apple might merge some 3D magic into its line of large LED monitors. You can play DVDs and channel digital downloads through Apple monitors to have a sort of Apple TV set. The product assortment at Apple is not a commodity related set of products. There is something unique and compelling about each item. Apple is known to make monkeys out of analysts and for that matter Apple news writers.
That’s Greg’s Bite for today.
(Greg Mills is currently a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He’s working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Married, with one daughter still at home, Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg’s web sites at http://www.gregmills.info . He can be emailed at gregmills.mac.)