Apple TV Rumors
With all the recent Apple rumors mostly surrounding the imminent launch of the iPad 3 during the first week of March, one story that was all the rage the last few months, but has been getting overshadowed a bit by the iPad 3 is the launch of an actual Apple HDTV. Most expect Apple to release the TV late this year or early next, but evidence to the contrary has recently showed up across Apple authorized resellers. I’ll explain more below.
Rumors have been swirling for near a year that Apple would be replacing the current Apple TV 2 by entering the HDTV market and releasing an actual smart TV. Apple doesn’t usually enter a new market before it feels it can actually be a game changer by reinventing the market. Examples would be the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Rumors hit a fever pitch late last year when Walter Isaacson wrote in an authorized biography of Steve Jobs that the late Apple Co-Founder and CEO stated that one of the three remaining industries he wanted to reinvent was the television. He was also quoted as saying…
“I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”
Reinventing the TV
Most believe for Apple to be successful in a highly competitive, low margin industry like consumer TV’s they’d have to offer something so mind blowing that it would have to reinvent the space and not just be a nice big LED screen with integrated internet services which are already easily available. It would have to reinvent how cable, satellite and other services work with it along with full integration into the Apple ecosystem including iCloud, 3rd party apps and the ability to control it through an extremely simple user interface. Possibly including Siri voice controls.
For a few years now Apple has referred to the Apple TV as a hobby. Mainly this is because as Steve Jobs stated over a year ago that there was currently no “go to market strategy”. It also only makes up a small amount of sales compared to their other businesses like the iPad and iPhone. If my memory serves me correctly… Apple sold around 3 million Apple TV units last year while selling over 37 million iPhones just last quarter alone. Current CEO Tim Cook even reiterated this view as recent as yesterday at Goldman Sachs Tech Conference. While the Apple TV gets great reviews, it’s not that different than other streaming devices on the market like the Roku or streaming through an Xbox except for the integration with other Apple devices.
For Apple to bust into the market and really shake things up they need to create a game changing product. Without even officially announcing they’re working on an actual HDTV, the rumor mill is in full swing and even has Samsung worried and making statements.
Apple HDTV Announcement
So when is this rumored Apple HDTV going to finally hit the market? Nobody knows for sure, but recent supply chain leaks along with the fact that Apple always lowers its inventories of products about to be replaced at authorized resellers says that the Apple HDTV could be coming as soon as the rumored March 7th iPad 3 event.
Apple is known for having their available inventory down to a science. They’ve perfected how to keep the lowest amount of available inventory at any given time to keep costs down. This is especially true just before a product is about to be replaced. Apple typically sends out notices to authorized resellers about 3 weeks before new products are about to be announced/replaced to alert them there won’t be new inventory until after an announcement which seems to fit perfectly with the rumored iPad 3 event.
Recent checks of online inventories show that the Apple TV 2 availability have basically all but dried up. No major online retailer including (links to Apple TV pages) Target, Best Buy, Amazon or Sams Club is showing any online inventory. Target shows the device being sold out, Best Buy doesn’t even list it anymore on their site even though there are links to that page, Amazon is only listing used versions for sale and Sams club Apple TV 2 page although still live links to a dead link which just a few days ago didn’t.
While not a 100% guarantee this means Apple is about to release the rumored Apple HDTV as they could be replacing it with a newer Apple TV 3 set top version, recent leaks show they’ve been meeting suppliers for the HDTV.
This seems to be the best evidence Apple is about to release either a new version of the current Apple TV 2 or are about to blow the socks of the TV industry with a full blown HDTV set.
What do you think about Apple entering the HDTV industry? Will it happen in March? What will it be called… Apple HDTV or iTV? What will this do to the stock which as currently trading at an all-time high of over $500. Tell me in the comments below.
Update: Looks like there were a few other publications that also noticed this over the last few days. I actually just happen to notice it first last night when searching Sams Club. I had just been there a few days earlier and saw it was available and all of a sudden the link didn’t work so I decided to check the other major retailers and noticed the same thing. I hadn’t seen anything on the typical sites I read daily, but just ran across a few. Looks more likely it will be an update to the current set top box with one more cycle before an actual Apple HDTV. Hopefully that’s not the case, but either way hopefully there will be some major updates.