BusinessWeek’s Best Tech Products of 2007: Apple iPhone, Mac Pro, MacBook Pro; and Worst: Apple TV

“Every year there are winners and losers in the consumer electronics business. But rarely are they so acutely divided as they appear to be in 2007. Those products deemed winners not only won—they won big. Those that lost tended to lose big, too,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for BusinessWeek.

“Some winners will come as no surprise. Apple continued to dominate the mobile media player business, its iPod brand still a synonym for the entire category. The clear loser in this market was pretty much any company that dared challenge Apple on turf it has owned in an undisputed manner since 2003,” Hesseldahl writes.

“But Apple didn’t dominate in every market segment it entered. Selling downloadable TV episodes—it has sold 100 million of those in two years—is one thing. Selling gadgets that make those videos watchable on a TV set is quite another. Take AppleTV, an iTunes-connected TV accessory that, with sales clearly not taking off in an iPod way, Apple CEO Steve Jobs described as a ‘hobby,'” Hesseldahl writes.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple TV itself isn’t to blame. The box is just sitting there waiting for more compelling, higher quality content and, perhaps, more enticing options beyond direct sales of content that most people watch once. Whereas we want to buy and own our music, we want to be able to either subscribe (or maybe rent) TV shows and movies, with the option to buy the few that we’d like to watch multiple times. At least let us buy iTunes video content directly from the Apple TV! Apple needs to get the system developed (they may have it already in the lab) and either sell the content providers on the idea(s) or wait for them to finally get with the times. Apple TV and Apple could replace a sizable chunk of cable subscriptions, but, for now, our Apple TVs sit there showing photos from time to time, playing music perhaps, maybe some podcasts or YouTube vids, and only the occasional TV show or movie that we missed.

Hesseldahl continues, “The video game market also produced a surprise winner in 2007… More than 15 million Nintendo Wii consoles had been sold this year through October, according to iSuppli. That beats the 10.4 million Xbox systems and the 8.8 million PS3 consoles sold in the same period.”

Full article here.

In the accompanying article, BusinessWeek names Apple iPhone “Best Smartphone” (Worst: Palm Centro), Apple MacBook Pro and Mac Pro (tie) “Best PCs” (Worst: Dell’s Inspiron 1501 notebook), Philips Soundbar HTS8100 and Bose Lifestyle v30 (tie) “Best Home Entertainment Systems” (Worst: Apple TV), Pioneer’s Elite Blu-ray BDP-95FD “Best DVD Player” (Worst: Microsoft’s Xbox 360 HD DVD).

More categories and products in BusinessWeek’s full best and worst photo and text slideshow here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “MacUser” for the heads up.]


  1. My wish list:
    Built-in DVR, slot loading DVD, game capabilities, HDMI pass through, more formats support, wireless web access and audio streaming to Airport Express.

    And on a related note, high-def movie rentals from the iTS.

  2. Apple TV had to be placed into the market, even though it had no way to achieve large sales — immediately. It is there to stimulate the web into dumping proprietary protocols, such as Microsoft’s codecs for multimedia and web sites that only work with Internet Explorer. Together with the Mac becoming more popular and the iPhone phenomenon, Apple TV is slowly getting the web to become more Apple friendly. Note that Google has committed to making YouTube content available under h.264. All of the dimwitted pundits will be eating crow when the tipping point comes and Apple TV takes off.

  3. At our home we use the AppleTV every day, it is great for children’s videos, playing your Itunes music library thru your home entertainement center, displaying family photos, watching/listening to podcasts and catching up on missed TV shows.
    In my opinion, Apple TV bashers have never used it, or do not have the correct setup in their home. For my family, the AppleTV is great!

  4. I Love my AppleTV. I use it one my the primary A/V system in my house. I can show pictures with ease on my LCD television and I have visual control over all my music. Sometimes I’ll miss recording one of my favorite shows and it’s great to download it from iTunes and watch it on my large LCD. To go w/out an AppleTV would be simular to switching back to a regular phone instead of my iPhone or watching TV w/out a DVR.

  5. The correct setup? Isn’t it a bit presumptuous to suggest that people who have no use for the AppleTV have a “wrong” setup in their home?

    I have a Mac connected to my home theater system- what purpose would an AppleTV serve me? Oh, wait- I could turn that on instead of the Mac that would sit right next to it. That would be useful.

    All sarcasm aside, when the AppleTV offers a DVR solution, it will become a much more compelling product. As long as it just replays media that’s already on my Mac, it offers no new features for me.

  6. 2 Apple TV’s serve music, photos, TV shows and over 300 movies to the 2 HDTV’s in our house.

    They work flawlessly and we wouldn’t give them up for any swiss army knife, do everything not very well, Microsoft, Sony or HP powered piece of crap.

    If The Studios weren’t involved in a power play with Apple, Apple TV would have been The Next Big Thing.

  7. I have all may kids shows and movies ripped and on my apple TV and it is so easy for my kids to just turn it on and watch what they want – Finally no scratched DVDs. Woo Hoo – I want to hook one up to the video system in my car so they can have all the programming at their fingertips.. It really is a great simple device.

  8. Apple TV is not selling but I wouldn’t say it is dead in the water. It is for Apple to add some little things here and there (movie rental, HD content) and it will take off. It’s just a matter of time. Perhaps Macworld ’08 will reveal new aspects of this product.

    Another thing to consider: Lots of products launched by Apple have failed; such as the Newton, or the cube. That didn’t mean Apple gave on selling gadgets (iPhone) and computers… if Apple TV is really doomed, then Apple will come back with an evolution of it, and will make NOISE !!!

  9. @Touch
    It would have achieved large sales immediately if it had DVR capabilities from the start.

    If it would have sold in significant numbers, Apple would have more leverage with content providers to get more, high quality content onto iTMS.

    This is one case where we see the downside to SJ’s “vision”. HE doesn’t think it should have DVR, so it doesn’t, even though it is clear that is what the customer wants.

    Note to SJ: The customer actually does sometimes know what he wants.

  10. The problem with DVR is that yo need to have content to record. In my area over the air is pitiful and the cable company does not offer a reasonable deal on cable cards. I have an Elgato DVR and I never use it. I do not agree that the DVR is the missing component.

    AppleTV and iTunes need movie rentals and at DVD quality.

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