The much-rumoured Apple iTV might not be a TV at all, but a new screen in the house, acting as a kind of iHub for the whole family – says a Forrester analyst.
Apple iTV or iHub?
Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst James McQuivey believes that Apple can't win by simply introducing a new model of television.
"The TV business is a tough nut to crack: Content is still controlled by monopolists unlikely to give Apple the keys to their content archives," wrote McQuivey in his Forrester blog.
"And simply introducing a new display on which to watch that content as it is currently delivered by existing distributors won’t offer consumers much that’s new.
"Unlike in the phone business where the iPhone penetrated quickly, the TV upgrade cycle takes seven years. You can't jump in with a new version of the same thing everyone already has – even if it is elegant – and expect millions of people to buy it, especially at price points that Apple will have to maintain in order to keep its margins far away from those of LG and Samsung.
"Apple's only shot to sell such an expensive device quickly is if it does something very different."
McQuivey urges Apple to sell "the world’s first non-TV TV".
"Instead of selling a replacement for the TV you just bought, Apple should convince millions of Apple fans that they need a new screen in their lives.
"Call it the iHub, a 32-inch screen with touch, gesture, voice, and iPad (reviewed) control that can be hung on the wall wherever the family congregates for planning, talking, or eating — in more and more US homes, that room is the dining room or eat-in kitchen.
"By pushing developers to create apps that serve as the hub of family life – complete with shared calendars, photo and video viewers, and FaceTime for chatting with grandma — this non-TV TV could take off, ultimately positioning Apple to replace your 60-inch set once it’s ready to retire.
"My proposal takes advantage of everything Apple has going for it: Its base of super-engaged customers, its bevy of hungry developers, its ability to open our minds to the possibility of post-PC computing form factors, and its spectacular track record with generating elegant experiences that teach us to do things we didn’t know we needed."
Last week Forrester claimed that it is Apple arch-rival Microsoft that was in the lead in the US TV platform battle, with its base of millions of Xbox 360 owners generating more online video views on the TV screen than viewers of any other device.
"With more than 70 million consoles in households worldwide – as many as half of them connected to the Internet, depending on the country – Microsoft can rapidly drive new video services into tens of millions of households," wrote McQuivey.