For years, analysts, pundits, and Apple-watchers thought that it was only a matter of time until Apple released its own television set.
And so the thinking went for years that Apple is working on a TV set that will do for TVs what the iPhone did for smartphones, the Mac did for PCs, and the iPad did for tablets.
But in May, the Wall Street Journal’s Daisuke Wakabayashi put that thinking to rest when he reported that Apple was no longer working on a TV. The company, according to Wakabayashi, had been doing research and development on one for a decade, had put its plans on hold. Despite experimenting with laser displays and cameras on the screens, “Apple executives didn’t consider any of those features compelling enough to enter the highly competitive television market,” Wakabayashi wrote.
It’s now clear that Apple made the right decision when it decided to put that project on hold.
That’s because the new Apple TV, the set top box the company announced last week, has the potential to turn nearly any TV into an Apple TV.
And it does it for a lot cheaper than an actual TV would cost.
For $US149, the Apple TV box plugs into your TV and allows you to stream content from the internet to the biggest screen in your home. It has a sensor-laden remote control, so you can play video games with the device. The remote has a microphone and it uses Siri to understand relatively complicated voice commands, so one only has to utter “show me new animated movies for kids” to see a selection of cartoons for the little ones.
It also has an App Store, so third-party developers can make apps and games for it, like they do with the iPhone and iPad.
“The TV is just a piece of dumb glass that hangs on a wall,” Jan Dawson, the head of the independent technology research firm Jackdaw Research, told Tech Insider last week.
And people don’t replace that piece of glass very often. According to the research firm IHS, on average US consumers only upgrade their TVs every 7 years.
It’s a much smaller commitment to buy a new $US149 box every few years than it is to buy a TV that could cost thousands of dollars. In a way, Apple made it possible to turn every TV into an Apple TV. And because the hardware is so cheap, there’s little holding you back from upgrading to a new model every few years.
Dawson said that for many people, the Apple TV could replace a number of devices that you have plugged into your TV right now, like the Blue-Ray player, a Roku streaming box, a game console, and, because Apple is reportedly working on a live streaming TV service, your cable box.
“Once Apple gets the box to the point that it’s the only input into a TV then it’s indistinguishable in terms of the user experience from actually making a TV.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.