All this talk of the iPad3 and a new AppleTV got me thinking about the ongoing “Apple making a TV” rumours, and the late Steve Jobs stating that they had “cracked it” when talking about the TV market (quoted in his bio just before he died).
Many comentators have assumed this to be some sort of big screen TV based Siri implementation… But ask yourself, “how many times have I ever wanted to talk to my television?” (other than abusing some dreadful d-list celeb fest.. or the news… or are they the same?) The constant rumours of voice controlled Apple TVs has even led our friends with the perpetual Xerox (cough), Samsung, to pre-copy the idea in their latest universal remotes – this is a sure sign that it ain’t gonna happen!
The problem remains though… How are Apple going to sell enough TV’s to make people develop for the device or service, and create a thriving ecosystem that matches their iPhone and iPad markets? They’ve had a dirt cheap (for Apple!) ATV2 box on sale for 2 years and have sold 2 million or so units. That may well be good for the “extra TV set top box” market, but it’s not good compared to their other iOS devices. Nowhere near. Hence its perpetual ‘hobby’ status within Apple.
And then I had a thought, (careful now!) the ONLY way Apple could get Apple TV in to millions of homesdirectly and without messy regional cable TV company deals is to use the iCloud strategy. Give something away.
So, let’s say Apple packages a new ATV3 WITH every single new iPad3!
BANG! 40+ million iPad3’s in the coming year, all with an accessory that enables you to connect it to your TV. Nothing extra to buy. No confusing choices and difficult decisions between ALL those other set top boxes desperately trying to grab your attention. You’ve already got a new Apple TV box with your iPad. Just connect it up to any old HDMI TV and away you go!
I really can’t see an “Apple TV” having a real ‘game changing’ effect in any other way. Will they really try a slightly more expensive but lovely screen based 40″ or 50″ TV set that’s sent in to a commoditised market that is already crippling long term players like Sony, Philips and Panasonic? I can’t see it.
But the new ‘Tim Cook’ Apple making a daring/costly play like giving away an AppleTV box with an iPad. Hmmm, perhaps! They have the money…
…but then again, they haven’t made that money by giving things away! So it probably won’t happen. But imagine the ecosystem suddenly available for the AppleTV, it’s services and all its AirPlay uses if EVERY new iPad had one? Game changing indeed! (and it may just explain the rumoured price rise with the new iPad3…though I’m sure those retina displays aren’t’ cheap either!)