Words To Eat: Sharp Says They Aren’t Worried About Apple’s iTV

Words To Eat: Sharp Says They Aren’t Worried About Apple’s iTV

Photo by Thomas Hawk - http://flic.kr/p/5FefCC

Japan’s Sharp, maker of huge-screen televisions, voiced confidence Thursday as it told reporters Apple isn’t much of a concern. What about the almost incessant chatter that the tech giant will enter the TV manufacturing market with an iTV in 2012? “It’s not something we’re studying very hard,” an executive claims. Unclear whether this is bravado or whistling past the graveyard, but perhaps Sharp missed class the day Apple mangled a whole string of industries thought to be untouchable.

The comments by Kozo Takahashi, Sharp’s head of North and South American operations, follow reports Apple is prepping a redesigned television that could tie-in iTunes and other connectivity. “I really have no idea what kind of TV it will be,” the executive said. “But if he came up with it, I’m sure it will be amazing,” Takahashi said.

In Jobs’s biography, written by Walter Isaacson, the Apple co-founder is quoted as saying about how to remake the TV interface and experience: “I finally cracked it.” Analysts such as Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster contend Apple is already in the late stages of approving an iTV product for 2012.

Sharp’s comments are intriguing, given reports in November that the TV manufacturer and component supplier is adapting its production lines to churn out TFT LCD panels for the iTV.

Although those reports suggest TV manufacturers, already operating on razor thin margins, are panicked by the idea Apple could enter the market. The Cupertino, Calif. company has a reputation for squeezing suppliers to produce advanced iPhone, iPad and Mac designs for the least money. Sharp, however, believes U.S. consumers are not as technology-obsessed as Japanese buyers. Instead, American consumers demand low prices, wide screens and the latest features, such as 3D.

However, we have seen the Apple brand become a feature by itself. From iPods to iPads, consumers expect all devices to operate the way Apple devices do. The only question is will the TV manufacturing industry become the latest where everyone plays follow-the-leader behind Apple?

  • Adam Pardy

    well if there supplying the panels for it I don’t suppose they are worried in the slightest!

  • Bob Forsberg

    “640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
    – Bill Gates, 1981

    They eat their words.

  • gareth edwards

    If Sharp are a major supplier and maybe a serious technical partner in this Apple endeavour then they won’t be worried.

    Other players no doubt are looking very closely though. As Apple has proved with all their other hit kit, it’s about the software and the offering. Get the software right (UI, ecosystem & delivery) and the content (music, books, apps etc) and you have the very best chance for a successful product. If these basic elements are not in place then it’s a much harder job to make it fly. Just look at the haircut Logitech took on GoogleTV – it was a gold-rush mentality that took over without checking if there was any gold in the mine. X-hundreds of millions down the drain, lost productivity and wasted potential and the only winner was Google who got all the column inches and proportionally little or no loss.

    The only thing that I see as a very real stumbling block is the price. I know, I know, Apple users have bought their kit regardless of price but we’re all becoming more price sensitive and the TV market, like all other consumer goods markets at the mo is getting a right hammering. Apple need to bring something very good to the table, price it to sell and create a new market for themselves. I’m not saying they should make it cheap but they need to make it stick and part of that is going to be achieved through an attractive PP. Gonna be an interesting 2012.

  • CharliK

    Looks like someone didn’t get the memo. You know the one that says to use the new cover sheets on your TPS reports and IT WILL NOT BE CALLED THE ITV CAUSE THAT IS A TRADEMARK IN USE BY ANOTHER COMPANY IN THE TV MARKET WHICH IS WHY APPLE CALLED IT THE APPLE TV IN THE FIRST PLACE. 

    I know you’e bloggers and not journalists so you don’t feel the need to actually do any research or fact checking but really, there’s no reason to get that detail wrong. Especially when just last year, Johnny boy did like 4 articles about the rumors, the reaction etc.

  • hurtle24

    “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in”
    :)

  • iDaBoss

    so do we all

  • iDaBoss

    so do we all

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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