Technically Speaking: Apple TV rumors are premature

Corey Mcmahon

The history of Apple is a long tale. In order to understand it and analyze the company’s success, that story is usually dissected into smaller parts. In the more recent years, it can be divided up based on the products that were most successful. In the early 2000s, the iPod came out and rocked the music world. Then, Apple changed the phone industry in 2007 with the iPhone. A couple years later, the iPad was Apple’s newest revolutionary product, and that is where we’re left currently. Everyone wants to guess where Apple will go next, and that’s why we face a stampede of rumors claiming the imminent release of an Apple-branded television. Although a foray into living rooms across the world is probably on the list of things the company wants to do, the predictions of a full-blown television set ignore some of the things that got the world’s most valuable company to deserving that title. First, we need to remember Apple has already dipped its corporate toe into the water of television. Steve Jobs famously called the Apple TV a hobby, but that’s quite an understatement. The Apple TV has an impressive user interface, especially compared to your average cable box. The problem is the current distribution methods for content – a package of channels purchased through a company like Comcast or Time Warner – doesn’t look kindly upon newcomers. This brings me to the first problem with these TV rumors: Apple doesn’t have access to content. This is fixable with time and negotiation; every now and then, reports come out that Apple is talking to various streaming services. And if any company has a strong negotiating stance to try and get content, it’s Apple. A company with a track record like Apple does have a way of forcing other companies’ hands. The other prediction I take issue with is the idea that Apple will release an actual television set. This seems suspect for two reasons. With every other market Apple has entered, from phones to music players to personal computers, they have entered because the current products weren’t good enough. But is the hardware of current TVs bad? I admit I’m not expert about the hardware in televisions, but most of my qualms with TVs are in the software and distribution of content, which could be addressed by Apple with a box like the current Apple TV. The other reason is by releasing a full television set, Apple would be alienating a big part of their potential consumer base that already have TVs, maybe even a relatively new one. For this reason, I think even if Apple were to release a TV set, it would be joined by a set-top box. Still, the rumors have some merit, as there are reasons to think Apple might release a TV set. First of all, people generally hate using multiple boxes on their TVs and are averse to switching inputs. So, most of a person’s time is spent on one primary box, and currently that box is usually the one from the cable company. Having Apple TV built into the set would eliminate this problem. It would also possibly give Apple full control over user interface even if viewers are using other devices. These rumors are awesome and could mean cool products in the future, but it is easy to run away with them. Although I think a TV set or revamped version of the current Apple TV set-top box may be coming, don’t hold your breath.