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Why Apple MUST launch a Flat Television set - Or not

In February 2009 Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Piper said what we were all thinking, that if Apple is into the CE market why doesn’t it produce a TV with

By PETER WHITE

Published: 10 February, 2011

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In February 2009 Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Piper said what we were all thinking, that if Apple is into the CE market why doesn’t it produce a TV with Apple TV incorporated and extended to also be a DVR.

The first time Faultline predicted this was a full two years earlier, but we’re not followed quite as assiduously as Wall Street analysts so we’ll let that pass. It IS logical that a CE company makes TV sets, but it is now just as likely that Apple could provide the chip and the software for everyone to put an Apple TV class experience into TVs and turn them into connected TVs, and sell this to rival TV makers.

Not according to Munster on his hobby horse again that Apple is still thinking of rolling out a connected Apple TV and this time he claims some Far East Taiwanese sources that note that Apple is in the market buying big TV class LCD screens. The fact that the larger Apple Mac screens already have the quality and size and that the LCD panels are just the same, seems to have escaped him.

Screen Digest, now operating with its parent’s name IHS, also agrees and speculates that advanced payments made to LG, Toshiba Mobile Display and LG Display, includes screen between 27 inches and 50 inches, and Munster chooses to interpret this as meaning a TV is imminent.

"While Apple's commitment to the living room remains a 'hobby', we continue to believe the company will enter the TV market with a full focus, as an all-in-one Apple television could move the needle when connected TVs proliferate," Munster said.

We can’t gainsay him here, an Apple designed TV set would fly, but not if it limited connectivity purely to Apple or Apple designated sites. The other rumor that has been around for a long time is that Apple would come out with its own streaming TV channels, but this would have been such a strong spur to sell more iPad tablets, and it’s been a year since the iPad was announced and such a service is long overdue, which we think means the content companies decided against Apple’s terms.

Munster says that during 2012, 50% of the 220 million flat screen TVs sold would be connected TVs and that Apple could easily capture a piece of that market, suggesting around 1.4 million units initially adding $2.5 billion to its revenue line rising to $6 billion by 2014.

We have now revised our opinion, and think that Apple’s current spate of pig-headedness and lack of openness would result in any Apple TV design being so closed that it wouldn’t be taken up by the masses.

Can you imagine Apple trying to convince Comcast that it was okay to connect cable service to a TV set that tried to compete with the core cable offering? It’s not going to sit well with any pay TV operators.

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