Photo: AP Image of Tim Cook, Photo illustration by Jay Yarow
Personal story: I got back home after a week away and my TV stopped working. It just wouldn’t turn on no matter how many times I hit the power button.I inherited it — a 50-inch Samsung plasma TV — from my parents a year ago. They ditched it because it had two black lines across the lower third of the screen.
I’ve inherited all of the TVs in life. My parents would buy a TV, then when it was time for a new one, I’d get the old junk. TV hasn’t been a huge part of my life, so I didn’t care if the TVs were older.
The only TV I didn’t inherit, I found on the street. It’s a gigantic 42-inch HD TV. It’s a tube-TV with a big, old butt. It still works, but it’s so gigantic I want to get rid of it, yet no one will take it.
Anyway, now I’m an adult. (I suppose.)
So, I figured I should buy a new TV to replace that old, dead Samsung.
As a result, I had to start doing some serious research into the best TV on the market. Since this would be the first TV I’ve ever purchased, it was the first time I’ve really read TV reviews closely.
Reading over all the reviews for TVs, one thing struck me: It’s weird Apple hasn’t made a TV already.
Apple is rumoured to be exploring the TV space. It has Apple TV which is a little hockey puck that streams some video. It’s mostly a hobby, according to Apple, because it’s not a huge business relative to Macs, iPhones, and iPads.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says Apple will release a full-blown television this year. But, he also said it would release a full-blown television last year. And, through the first quarter of this year, all hype about potential Apple products centres on the iWatch.
So, who knows if an Apple TV is really coming.
But, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was.
If you’ve read reviews of HD TVs, you’re struck by what’s important. The number one thing that matters is, duh, picture quality. The reviewers talk about which screen has the deepest blacks and the best viewing angles.
Whenever Apple releases a new iPhone, iPad, or Mac, it tends to spend time extolling the virtues of its display technology. It brags about the “Retina” display which is so sharp.
Apple’s executives must want to do the same thing for televisions, and release an ultra sharp TV that blows away Panasonic, the current king of HD TVs, in terms of picture quality.
Also, TVs are so filled with things no one wants or needs, it would be refreshing for Apple to enter the market.
It’s impossible to buy a new high-end TV without 3D despite the fact that 3D will never be used, and even when it is used it doesn’t look that great anyway. You can bet Apple wouldn’t waste its time with 3D.
Then there are apps. Currently, the choice of apps for high-end TVs is paltry and not really worth it. You’re better off with a Roku or an Apple TV.
An Apple app store for TV would attract a much better, more exciting class of developers and applications.
There are, of course, plenty of good reasons Apple hasn’t made a television.
Apple loves to talk about its focus. Tim Cook often brags that you can put all of Apple’s products on a single table. Developing a TV would be a side project.
It’s also not a very lucrative business, at least not compared to iPhones. People buy a new TV every eight years or so. They buy iPhones every two to three years.
And then, there’s the question of what can Apple do to make its TV a significantly better experience than what’s out there today. How can Apple simplify the TV experience when there is an intermediary like a cable company?
All of these are legitimate concerns. Yet, after spending a week obsessively investigating which TV is the best value, I can’t help but think Apple should already have one on the market, even just as an experiment.
Apple just needs a great picture and a decent App Store to make one of the best TVs in the world. I’m making it sound simple, but the company has the design and engineering chops to do it, if it really wants to.
As for me, I’m probably going to try to get my TV fixed. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll get the only Panasonic without 3D. (It costs less.)
I probably won’t need a new TV for another eight years if that happens and Apple will have missed another sales opportunity.
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