What about an HDTV from Apple?

Apple has for many years now sold a small box called Apple TV. It changed the other year, shrunk into an even smaller size and dropped the hard drive.

Published: Sat 12 Nov 2011, 11:54 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:02 AM

We still have the first generation Apple TV at home and we regularly fill up the 160GB hard drive with both media bought from Apple as well as things we’ve downloaded and shot ourselves.

For us the Apple TV forms the centre of our digital life at home and it’s served by a Mac mini, which has a number of hard drives connected to it. On those hard drives we have photos, video, music and more, most of which we pump through the Apple TV to our Sony HD TV sitting in the livingroom.

Now rumours are circulating that Apple is working on a TV, yes, an actual HDTV with, presumably, some Apple goodies inside. It’s even said that this was the last big project Steve Jobs was working on at Apple before his passing. You may have a computer from Apple, a smartphone, a tablet, an MP3 player, but are you ready for a TV from the same company?

I think there’s no doubt that Apple could revolutionise the TV business — and I mean the TV hardware, not the content, that Apple has already touched — in a way that no other company could. There’s also no doubt in my mind that it’ll be a very tough thing to do for Cupertino, as it’s an industry with long heritage, deeply entrenched positions, and lots of sensitive toes to risk stepping on. Sure, the music industry is to some extent that too, but it doesn’t involve hardware on the end-user side in the same way as TV does.

I don’t see Apple making a sort of souped-up cable box; imagine all the connections, interfaces, etc. it would have to take into consideration, much like the box you have by your TV today. But as IPTV and indeed TV content over the Internet grows in popularity, there’s an opportunity there for Apple to produce a box that surpasses all the others. Imagine the Apple TV interface, with some more functionality, and that’s the hub for all your TV, video, and music no matter where it comes from. That’d be an interesting proposition.

One thing is for sure; never say never when it comes to Apple. However, I don’t see it basically starting to produce actual TV sets. Apple could quite easily just add the Apple TV’s electronics to an actual TV and sell it to consumers. But it’s a bit like with netbooks and the iPad. Apple for years said that it did not believe the netbook form factor produced a compelling user experience and voila, one day it introduced the iPad. Keep an eye on what Apple says about the possibility of it producing a TV: the more it’s denied, the more it’s likely to happen.

Magnus Nystedt, emiratesmac@gmail.com, @mnystedt

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