Apple Doesn’t Need a Television

November 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Making televisions is a fool’s errand and the real solution is already here.

We shouldn’t blame Walter Isaacson. 13 months ago his official biography of Steve Jobs revealed the recently-deceased Apple CEO had his mind set on revolutionising television. “He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones,” Isaacson wrote. More too Jobs reportedly told him: “I finally cracked it.”

The tech press went nuts and a product was expected before the end of the year. Quickly expectations were redefined and an Apple television would instead launch before the end of 2012. In September reports leaked that it may skip 2012 altogether. And now we hear Microsoft wants to get in on the act and Xbox TV will take on Apple’s TV in 2013.

Stop. Stop. Stop! It’s time for some perspective because both Apple and Microsoft would be mad to make televisions.

For a start let’s look at the financial aspect. According to The Economist “none of the companies that make large liquid crystal display panels earn money from it” and between 2004 and 2010 the industry lost a combined $13bn. This sector not only includes televisions, but screens for monitors, laptops and explosive growth areas like mobile phones and tablets. Prices for LCD panels have fallen by 80 per cent since 2004. Costs for their manufacturing have fallen 50 per cent.

Volume doesn’t help. Panasonic’s television division has been unprofitable for the last four years, Sony for the last eight years. In fact just three weeks after Isaacson’s revelations about Jobs’ supposed master plan emerged former Sony CEO Howard Stringer (below) was publicly admitting “every TV set we all make loses money”. In Sony’s case The Economist clocks that at $45 per set. Even the mighty Samsung, the world’s biggest producer, found its division has so consistently turned in losses the division was spun off as “Samsung Display” in April. Long term the solution for Microsoft and Apple could be OLED, but for now it remains prohibitively expensive.

Of course the counter point is no Apple or Microsoft TV would just be a TV. Instead both companies will find profitability through integration of ‘smart’ functionality. Except they won’t.

What we have seen this year alone in receiving two generations of iPad eight months apart (the iPad 4 having twice the performance of the iPad 3) is that truly smart devices are constantly evolving and their lifecycles are getting ever shorter. Time flies in the ‘smart’ world. The original iPad has already been cut adrift both in terms of performance and software support and it was only released in mid 2010. It’s almost a relic. Would you think the same way about the television you bought 2 1/2 years ago? This is a sample, to read why the real solution for Apple, Microsoft and its customers is already here read the full article @ TrustedReviews

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