The first quarter of 2012 saw Apple sell more than 50 million iOS devices, 11.8 million of which were iPads. But even at a high-price of an estimated $2,000, a rumored full-blown television set from Apple is projected to sell faster than the popular iPad, which begins at $499 for the third-gen model, or $399 in the case of the discounted WiFi-only iPad 2.
But what if Apple flexes its muscles with iTV, tapping the $110 billion cash hoard, its frightening buying power and efficient supply chain management to deliver a $1,000 TV set for the masses? If it comes to be, expect nothing if not “a big seismic shift”, one analyst opines…
Forbes has nice quotes from Eric Jackson, the founder and managing member of Ironfire Capital:
We live in this kind of sped up world. The user base is there for Apple. When new, complementary devices get introduced by the company, the pickup is so quick. I think iTV is going to be even faster than the iPad. It’s gonna be, potentially, a pretty phenomenal product launch.
If it’s at $2,000, that will easily match or beat what’s currently out there. Samsung has these Smart TVs that are Internet-connected, and I think they’re going for over $2,000.
Jackson has no doubt in his mind that an Apple television launch will be something really special, going as far as likening it to “a big seismic shift” in the TV set industry:
I think it’ll be a big seismic shift in the world of TV. It’s going to have ramifications to Netflix and the cable companies, so it’s going to be a pretty big event.
Apparently, folks will use it for business, too.
And I think business will be a huge market for the actual TV. People will use it — it will be kind of a new version of a flip board or white board in a lot of business conference rooms.
Apple quoted its CEO Tim Cook in a recent earnings release as saying that “across the year you’re going to see a lot more of the kind of innovation that only Apple can deliver”, an indication of a possible new product launch.
Jackson predicted the iTV’s arrival during the early months of 2013. The analyst brought home the point with speculation that Apple will want to tackle the market with a one-size-fits-all approach:
I think it’s gonna be just one size. That kind of fits in with their focus on having one new product and marketing that and selling the hell out of that before they get into different sizes.
In line with earlier predictions, Jackson sees a $1,000-$2,000 product with a screen between 40 and 50 inches.
An artist’s rendition of a rumored Apple-branded TV set
And who’s gonna be first in line to buy the iTV?
Those 125 million iCloud users, “the kind of rabid Apple fans”. In fact, this is the user base that will “never switch to Android, will never switch to another platform, and it’s just going to keep growing over time”.
The analyst speculated Apple might as well go all out with the iTV launch, taking advantage of its size, buying power and economies of scale to price it very aggressively as a way of quickly establishing itself as a major player in the marketplace:
I wouldn’t rule them out pricing it closer to $1,000 because I think they see this in the same light that they viewed iPad, where they took an aggressive pricing approach and knew that they couldn’t be matched from a supplier cost perspective, and therefore knew that the other competitors would be killing themselves for the next five years trying to compete and losing money while they’re at it.
We had other analysts opining as well that the TV set industry is in crisis mode.
As for pricing the iTV closer to $1,000, remember that Apple for more than a year had tablet vendors flabbergasted with the iPad’s entry-level $499 price point. But even priced closer to the psychologically important $1,000 barrier, iTV would still be a profitable product as “the margins on Apple’s TV will be good”.
As for the features, the analyst re-iterates the usual stuff, ranging from Siri voice commands to Internet connectivity.
With rumors that Apple wants a stake in its manufacturing partner Foxconn and news of Foxconn acquiring Sharp’s state-of-the-art display plant, the case for iTV becomes stronger with each passing day.
And why wouldn’t Apple design, market and sell a TV set of its own?
After all, Steve Jobs announced at the January 2007 iPhone introduction that Apple was going to drop “Computer” from its name to become Apple, Inc., reflecting the company’s increased focus on the consumer electronics industry.
Would you be willing to consider a $2,000 TV set from Apple over a similarly or lower-priced Panasonic or – dare I say – a Samsung Smart TV product?