Could Apple Enter Sub-$1K Premium TV Market With A Real iTV?

Could Apple Enter Sub-$1K Premium TV Market With A Real iTV?

News that high-end TVs are nearing the sub $1,000 range may be the impetus for Apple to enter the market, a new report suggests. For some time, talk has swirled around the tech giant moving beyond the world of 10-inch screens. Might 32-inches and above be the next step for Cupertino?

We’ve covered numerous hints and suggestions that Apple was toying with producing a TV, yet those reports have always been tempered with the fact that an Apple TV would be part of a fractious segment. Now comes word high-end TV makers are dropping prices below $1,000 opening the chance of a $999 option from the most powerful tech brand around.

The price of the average high-end LCD TV has dropped to $1,002.58 from $1,317.89 a year ago, according to research firm IHS iSuppli. While the move is a reaction to “white label” TVs costing $550, the action could also benefit Apple. The iPhone and iPad maker has developed a supplier base and marketing machine making low-cost, high-quality consumer electronics possible. Add the potential for iCloud TV storage bolstered by Apple’s mammoth data storage facility and what once Apple viewed as a “hobby” could become the company’s latest gangbuster device.

Additionally, we’ve seen Apple enter a market once dominated by others and become a huge player. Nokia and RIM once were cell phone titans — remember them?

  • imbenking

    It will be interesting. I doubt they will call it the iTV. The reason that “Apple TV” isnt called ITV is somewhat down to the huge commercial broadcaster in the UK, also known as ITV. 

  • Mike Rathjen

    I seriously doubt they will do this at all. There are big logistical issues with selling big screen TVs.

    Apple primarily sells through two channels: online and Apple stores. Many Apple stores are inside malls. Imagine the logistics of hauling a TV from an indoor mall store to the parking lot.

    Now imagine online sales. Normal delivery companies don’t ship TVs. Big screen TVs are shipped by freight trucks. They are arrive at inconvenient times with huge delivery windows where you have to be at home. Now imagine there’s a problem and you have to return it.

    Also, people don’t want to upgrade their TVs every year or two for new functionality enabled by better hardware.

    For all of these reasons, the current Apple TV device makes sense. You can hook it up to your existing TV, it’s easily sold, shipped, and repaired or returned. And it’s easily replaced with next year’s model when Apple wants your cash again.

  • berianlowe

    Mainly that, but also the other dozen ITV’s out there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I

  • Wayne_Luke

    With the iDevices, Apple has made large inroads with selling at traditional retailers in the U.S. as well. They sell product through Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and Radio Shack are a few of these retailers. I am sure there are more. These are the same places many people buy televisions. Best Buy goes further and has mini “Apple Stores” in most of its locations where they display and sell Macs as well.

    Apple also sells iDevices in thousands of AT&T and Verizon stores. Both of which are pushing television over Fiber products (U-Verse and FIOS). They would probably be more than happy to expand their corporate stores with some display units and sales with new contracts.

    As for delivery companies shipping televisions. My last television was delivered by UPS from Amazon.com.

    Sales channels are the least of Apple’s worries. They need to worry on how they will compete with the Vizios and Samsungs out there that already offer televisions with everything Apple TV can do and more. However, personally, I would prefer they enhance the Apple TV and make it more worthwhile. Embed HBO in it, sell HBO subscriptions, offer full app support, etc…

  • Mike Rathjen

    Good points, but it’s still way more difficult to sell a new TV to you every year as opposed to a new little TV-connected device. People tend to hang onto their TVs for a long, long time.

  • tiresius

    Gosh, it seems like only two days ago Mike Elgan had a piece in Cult of Mac entitled: 

    iPod. iPhone. iPad.  Why Apple is Done Inventing New Devices.

    Wonder who is correct?

  • CharliK

    The killer feature that would make something like this work is content. The Google TV failed in part because they failed to get the appropriate content deals to allow for internet access of materials from networks that were also available OTA. Hulu etc had to block their access to such things on the G-TV to be in compliance with their network deals and conditions that only the cable companies could provide access on televisions. 

    Based on precedent we know that Apple will correctly pursue the needed deals but the question then is this: Do those deals and the content they will open up actually need a stand alone TV or can they be just as effectively served via the little black box that is currently the Apple TV (perhaps in an improved hardware state). 

    My thought is the latter. The deals and the content don’t need a full tv but rather are just as well served, perhaps even better served, via a move to replace the cable box, dvr and DVD player (if not Blu-ray player) with the little Apple box. 

    I think that the most that Apple might do is admit that they don’t have blu-ray matched with the current formats and thus can’t really compete in that world and could maybe license to have Apple TV enhanced blu-ray players much like netflix has done with some players

  • dagamer34

    What would an Apple-branded TV do that an Apple TV doesn’t already?

  • dagamer34

    What would an Apple-branded TV do that an Apple TV doesn’t already?

  • poppa1138

    bring out the lawyers, Samsung designed a TV first..and itv already exists..

  • AlexJames987311

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, BidFirst.com

  • imbenking

    Thanks, I didnt realise! :) 

  • Cold_dead_fingers

    And who says they come out with a new TV every year? The computer game is different. More power if offered at a decent rates. It makes sense to upgrade their computer offerings yearly. TV’s are quite the same. TV’s are stationary moving technologies. My 2008 Bravia holds up incredibly well to the current offerings. Sure, it doesn’t have 3D but I also don’t pay for 3DTV or own any 3D movies. I think it makes sense to jump in the TV market by upgrading Apple TV to a full experience like the iMac. The cable substitute ($99 Apple TV) and the display are integrated into one device for a reasonable price. I wouldn’t be surprised of this TV had built in gaming options either.

  • lls49

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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