Piper Jaffray: Apple iTV coming late this year

“It’s almost time to line up at the Apple store, again. New evidence suggests that Apple iTV is coming soon,” Lee Brodie reports for CNBC.

“So says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Muster after his proprietary research found that Apple has been reaching out to TV component suppliers,” Brodie reports. “And from his conversations, Muster believes he’s landed on the company’s time horizon. ‘It’s likely coming late this year,’ he says.”

Brodie reports, “You may wonder, why such intense interest? After all, Apple investors are no stranger to new gadget launches. Well, this one may be different – even for Apple. Fast trader Jon Najarian believes it will be the piece de resistance – the gadget that integrates all others.”

Read more in the full article here.

19 Comments

  1. It will come eventually, I have no doubt about that at this point. Late this year (just before the holiday season) sounds reasonable. It’s announcement event would replace the hype previously generated by the annual “iPod” event.

    In the full article, there is a bit at the end about the “dividend,” which seems completely irrelevant to this topic… But I’m glad someone understands the connection between Apple’s large cash hoard and Apple’s risk-taking (AKA actual “innovation”). iPad was a big risk. This “iTV” is a big risk. The CASH makes it possible, without betting the company every time.

  2. I think it’s safe to say they would do fine with their iTunes offerings on TV in the middle of the living room. Having the convenience of a built in iTunes store in an elegant package Apple could certainly make a dent if not mortally wound traditional TV manufactures that depend on the TV itself as the source of their profits.
    Expect Amazon to join the fray not too soon after or even before Apple gets into the game. Amazon is not going to let Apple go uncontested. Google has proven they are not up to the task.

  3. I wonder what the Apple caveats will be. What are the one or two normal, everyday things that TV owners take for granted which we won’t be able to use or have on the Apple TV, causing hysteria on tech blogs. The things that, due to their absence, we’ll be told are causing a “backlash” against the Apple TV, with MDN and the like furiously belting out counter posts and articles from analysts, bloggers and writers saying the people lamenting the absence of those things are curmudgeons who don’t realize that those things were holding the TV experience back.

    1. It’s a TV. There will be a mode where you can just connected it like any current HDTV and use the remote control for the cable/satellite box. So I can’t think of any functionality that will be missing versus “everyday things that TV owners take for granted.” With my current cable service, I hardly ever touch my TV’s remote control (it mostly just sits there); just about everything is done using the cable box and its remote control. And that kind of sucks…

      I think Apple will provide usability enhancements that build up from that current (rather “primitive”) TV experience. It’s a poor experience, compared an “Apple user experience.” And it’s one of those ideal opportunities for Apple to step in and completely demolish the current standard, redefine the “TV.” Just like Apple redefined personal computer, portable music player, music retailing, mobile phone, and mobile computer.

      I see two major parts to the “iTV” experience, (1) enhancing the use of customers’ current TV service, such as cable, and (2) accessing content that Apple controls. (1) is very important, because Comcast and other TV service providers have so much control, and customers are not going to just give it up (not overnight). The current Apple TV is still a “hobby” because it basically ignores (1) and focuses only on (2).

      So I think what Steve Jobs “cracked” was a method to enhance the user experience for (1). Even ten years ago, TiVo did this in a simple (but limited) way. The TiVo box was able to communicate with the cable box and give it commands to change the channel. TiVo enhanced my user experience with cable service by recording and playing back programs I wanted to watch through a smart and friendly interface. No, iTV is NOT going to record cable programming (that’s not my point), but it will (like TiVo) enhance the user’s experience with their existing cable service and hardware, to a new level of sophistication. It will control the cable hardware and act as the smart and friendly interface in a broad way.

      For (2), the content that Apple controls, that’s just taking the current Apple TV experience to the next level. If Apple controls it, there is no limit to what Apple can do with it.

      Over time, Apple will improve (2) more and more. With more and more “subscribers,” Apple will gain the clout to negotiate for better content deals. Customers will steadily use (2) more and (1) less, until they cancel (1) and use only (2). I think that is Apple’s “end game” strategy for TV.

      1. I don’t see that Apple will take it upon themselves to interact with other services/devices. You’re going down the route of IR blasters and cludgey unreliable interactions if you do that. I think they will allow other hardware, such as a sky box tuner, freeview, cable, blu-ray etc to interface with Apple TV. Either as some sort of dedicated app, or as one combined interface for all your connected content.

        I think the way to go is to allow other services to tailor their content to fit the TV’s interface, rather than the TV trying to mimic and control the other service.

        I also think that since this isn’t an entirely new market like the iPad was that the most important thing will be getting widespread adoption. Numbers will be key, which is why I don’t see making an actual TV screen as making sense. It’s a lot of expense to replace all your TV’s, adding a separate box which acts as a hub, and makes your TV effectively a monitor seems to make more sense for getting a lot of people to buy one. Existing Apple TV owners can also no doubt get a lot of the features – albeit internet based only without the connectivity to external hardware.

        1. Agreed. Want Comcast cable? Buy the app. Or even more likely, subscribe through the iTV Store.

          Want NFL Live? Buy the app and subscribe. Makes TOTAL sense…

          If they can line up the content.

          This is why no apps yet on apple tv, by the way.

        2. IR blaster? Even with my TiVo experience from ten years ago, the connection was through a wire running between cable box and TiVo box. Completely reliable.

          > I think the way to go is to allow other services to tailor their content to fit the TV’s interface, rather than the TV trying to mimic and control the other service.

          That is part of what I described, as (2). And Apple is already doing that with the current Apple TV; it’s still called a “hobby.” But that part of the iTV experience will continue and grow in prominence, over time.

          However, that is NOT enough. Typical consumers will want what they have right now. TiVo paved this path many years ago. It gave consumers exactly what they already had, with the added ability to record programs with simple tapeless automation, and also “time shift” live programming. Customers were willing to pay extra for TiVo, because it was worth the additional cost.

          > the most important thing will be getting widespread adoption.

          The only way Apple can achieve mass adoption of iTV is to take what customers already have, and enhance the experience. In a way, it’s similar to iPhone. Apple did not try to re-create and run the entire operation. Instead, Apple used the existing wireless services and created a better user interface for it (the iPhone). Apple took what customers already had with mobile phones, and enhanced the experience. There was mass adoption. THEN, Apple kept adding more and more benefits that Apple controls directly, such as the App Store and Siri.

  4. Irrespective of what interfaces it has, and what delivery mechanisms they use for getting content, I think it’s obvious that it will have to allow connectivity to other devices (blu-ray/dvd/cable/satellite etc) and will need to have some sort of tuner (differing throughout the world).

    On this basis, why does it need to be a TV as we know it? It’s increasingly common for TV’s to be wall mounted, with all the things you have to plug in it looks awful unless you can afford to hide away all the cables. As such, couldn’t they effectively just sell large screen monitors (maybe not with the same resolution as a computer monitor to reduce cose) that then connect via one cable to an Apple TV – but an Apple TV with connectivity for other services.

    An actual Apple TV screen would no doubt be at the high end in terms of cost, not expensive for what you get probably, but not cheap. Upgrading the existing separate box idea of Apple TV would allow anyone with any TV to use it – thus helping to make it widespread which is going to be the important thing if they’re going to want to push iTunes services and downloads. Other boxes could be plugged in and accessed as traditional separate inputs, but they could no doubt also accommodate apps and separate hardward for direct integration.

    A standalone TV just seems like it would be too big a jump to make, for the cost that adding a screen would add to it, especially worldwide with all the different services available. I think a supercharged, non-hobby of Apple TV would make so much more sense because you could upgrade all your tv’s rather than replacing all of them. Plus if they could get the price down a bit, you could just plug in an Apple monitor and use it for your Mac as well if you want.

  5. Why wouldn’t Apple get between all cable networks and their customers by sending their content over the Internet to homes. This would eliminate an old redundant physical investment over time and enhance every cable networks interface for users. The cable provided via ITV would be purchased just like apps and content like magazine/newspaper subscription making things simpler for subscribers. Thus, no trips to the cable company, cable box programming, another controller. The cable companies still do there thing providing better Internet connections and expand their content distribution worldwide. The customers are delighted by the easy to use content integration and I as an AAPL stockholder make more money. That’s win, win,win.

  6. Q) What differentiates a flat screen TV from an Apple LED Cinema display?
    A) A Tuner and little else.

    My Mac Pro already has Eye TV HD, an LED Cinema Display & Focal Speakers. Within its 5 internal (4 bays and 2nd optical bay) drives is a huge iTunes library with over 500 movies, over 1,000 episodes of television, still more ripped DVDs of movies now resident in my attic and well over 80GB of music. It can also play DVD’s, subscribe to podcasts and play streaming video as any modern computer can do.

    Let’s see, live TV, time shifting, automated scheduling, paid content, podcasts, internet radio, streaming video, a huge movie/TV/music library all remotely controlled.

    I have an Apple iTV- it’s called a Macintosh.

    1. That’s all fine, but a 27-inch screen (big for a computer display) is relatively small at typical living room TV viewing distance. And all those tiny expensive pixels are overkill when the screen is six or more feet away from the viewer.

      That’s the difference. A computer screen is optimized for use about two feet (maybe a bit more for at 27-incher) from the user’s eyes. A TV screen is optimized for use across a room.

      1920×1080 is the resolution of a “1080p” HDTV, no matter how large the screen. “HD” content does not exceed 1080p, so any higher resolution (such as with the 27-inch Cinema Display at 2560×1440) is wasted.

      1. So, since Motorola lost money, Apple should think about getting out of the smartphone business too? And that whole PC industry is stagnant… Apple should be “perfectly reasonable” and drop those Macs before it’s too late.

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