The ‘Apple television’ is the magical unicorn of consumer tech

“A fully integrated Apple television is the magical unicorn of consumer tech: Everybody can imagine what it looks like, even though it doesn’t exist and perhaps never will,” Derek Thompson writes for The Atlantic.

“Cupertino’s TV strategy achieved mythic status after Steve Jobs’ Rosebud comment to biographer Walter Isaacson, made shortly before he died, that he’d ‘finally cracked’ the secret to disrupting the cloistered TV market. Precisely what Jobs had finally cracked was never clear, but that made it all the more tantalizing to Apple fanboys, who fleshed out his mysterious comment with their own fantasies. Gene Munster, the widely cited Apple analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co., envisioned a voice-activated ’40 or 50-inch iPad’ to debut ‘in late 2012 or early 2013,'” Thompson writes. “Late 2012 and early 2013 came and went — so did late 2013 and early 2014 — and still there is still no Apple television set.”

“Apple’s TV strategy must revolve around its [Apple TV] hockey puck. Horace Dediu estimates that Apple has sold about 25 million of these guys. A deal with Comcast/TWC could easily double that figure,” Thompson writes. “But what exactly is in this for Comcast? The cable company would have to invest in new network equipment to make this partnership work. It would tempt net-neutrality restrictions by giving Apple preferential treatment along its pipes just as its Time Warner Cable acquisition faces accusations of a law-breaking monopoly. Plus, Comcast would have to give Apple a share of its pay-TV profits in exchange for popularizing a device that’s partially seen as a replacement for pay-TV. Henry Blodget says there is no way this deal is going down. I say he’s right.”

Read more in the full article here.

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


  1. Should Apple release a television set, a couple of hundred hardcore fanboys will snap up a copy because as far as they’re concerned, an Apple TV shoots out unicorn colors and fairy dust whereas the rest of the TV consumers will ignore it as a piece of overpriced junk.

  2. The secret is a headless Mac and not a television set!

    Get over the idea of a television set and instead think of a Macintosh that includes a television tuner and perhaps an AM/FM radio that serves to feed all of our iDevices, both in the home and out.

    I envision a sophisticated MacTuner capable of acquiring television broadcast signals as well as Internet channels and programming, on-demand and sports programming, including Apple events and streaming.

  3. Henry Blodget says there is no way this deal [Apple/Comcast] is going down. I say he’s right.”

    AT&T jumped in with both feet and co-developed technology to make iPhone a reality when all of the pundits said there is no way Steve Jobs can pull this off, and he did!

    Comcast is formidable, but Apple has gravitas and leverage and anyone who doubts Apple will be proven wrong again.

    So many of you think Apple is a timidly weak player in these negotiations and yet you overlook the fact that they are the world’s most successful company on the planet. That doesn’t count for anything? Really?

    If Comcast doesn’t play ball with Apple, they’ll go to Cox, or even better TimeWarner, just to piss off Comcast, even if it’s only to cloud the water of their ongoing negotiations.

    Apple could make Cox a partner, if not buy them outright, and make Comcast regret their decision not participate. I suspect once Cox begins eating into Comcast territory, they’ll come around.

    FYI, Arizona is an exclusive market for the Cox company, no Comcast whatsoever, making it an ideal proving ground for fleshing out experimental services and products.

    1. eh, eh…
      “AT&T jumped in with both feet and co-developed technology to make iPhone a reality when…”

      actually, Jobs’s original iPhone deal was brokered with Cingular, which was purchased midstream by AT&T:
      “Apple chose Cingular because they are the best and most popular carrier in the US,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We are thrilled to be offering our revolutionary new iPhone exclusively with Cingular, and look forward to working together with them to create some wonderful new features for our customers.”

  4. I think the secret is ‘pay per view’ across national boundaries. So, selling episodes of Big Bang Theory after release in US to UK audiences or Downton Abbey to US audiences ahead of a channel sale to a US network. Ie selling it more than once – just like LPs, CDs or VHS then DVD then Blu Ray.

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