By Jim Karpen on Mon, 01/30/2012
TechnoBuffalo reported last week that a high-ranking source with a major tech retailer told them that an Apple TV will be coming out in April, or May at the latest. It will a use state-of-the-art OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display, and will include Siri and face recognition. One never knows how accurate these rumors are, but it's hard to imagine Apple coming out with a TV that wouldn't use OLED. This technology stunned the crowds at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and CNET named the LG 55-inch LED TV "Best of CES." The colors are said to be amazing, and OLED TVs are as little as one-sixth of an inch thick. The LG TV and a similar model from Samsung that was shown at CES will be out later this year. Neither company named a price, but speculation among analysts was in the ballpark of $7,000.
The rumored Apple TV is described as gorgeous and very thin, and will be available in models up to 42 inches. It will use Siri-like voice controls, and will also have the ability to control other home systems. The report says that the TV will save energy by going to sleep when not being watched, and will wake up via its face recognition technology when someone it recognizes walks into the room.
TechnoBuffalo's source said that Apple has been taking a long time to get the TV ready for market because it wanted to have a killer product at launch. This is quintessentially Apple. You can expect it to be innovative, high quality, beautiful, and exciting. Plus, now that Apple has nearly $100 billion in cash reserves, there's no need for the company to hurry products to market. They have the luxury of taking a long time to work on something and get it right, without having to worry about an immediate return on investment.
One question, though, is how many additional markets Apple will jump into. We have rumors of a TV, a universal remote, Siri integration across a wide range of consumer products, and more. And Apple enthusiasts, including me, love to imagine the great and revolutionary new technologies that Apple will be coming out with. However, one of the hallmarks of Apple, and Steve Jobs, has been focus. For a leading technology company, Apple actually has quite a narrow product line. This intense focus has been one of the reasons that Apple has been profitable. So it's likely that we can expect Apple to jump into another market or two, but I think we can expect that it will be very gradual, and that the company will continue its narrow focus — which has led to so much success.
So how much will an OLED Apple TV set cost? Apple has never been afraid to be pricey, and OLED is itself pretty expensive. I doubt that we'd see a TV set at less than $2,000. And it could easily be $3,000 or more. Plus, Apple has always had comfortable profit margins, knowing that people would pay for quality. HDTVs have largely become a commodity, so Apple will clearly go for the high end. And no doubt that even at thousands of dollars the TVs will be hugely popular.