For over two years now, rumors of Apple’s forthcoming HDTV have swirled around the tech industry. Though much of the speculation about the device may be wishful thinking from consumers still struggling to ditch cable monopolies, there are enough manufacturing reports to believe that Apple did at least test out a few prototypes.
In fact, it may be that cable companies are the reason for the the “iTV” still being missing from Apple Stores. The company had reportedly met with industry officials in late 2012, but were turned away as cable companies refused to give up any control over their content. As those cable companies seem content to wait for the forced industry transition the internet brought to music labels a decade ago, Apple seems content to wait for the TV market to mature as well.
Paul Gagnon, an analyst for market research firm DisplaySearch, today revealed that Apple’s HDTV plans are now indefinitely on hold. In a DisplaySearch blog post Gagnon quoted unnamed “sources in the TV supply chain” as stating the TV ambitions may have been superseded by the also-rumored iWatch.
Apple, according to DisplaySearch manufacturing reports, had been prepared to manufacture TVs for an announcement sometime during the second half of next year. Those plans are now shot, and Gagnon admits it is mostly due to Apple being able to convince cable companies to open up their content for an iTunes-like TV experience.
In addition to the obvious, Gagnon points out that a TV just might not fit Apple’s product strategies. Traditionally, Apple has sold high-end hardware for a premium price. This, added to yearly refreshes of its hardware, contributed to the company’s high product margins. The TV market is the opposite of all of this. Consumers wait years between TV purchases, and the devices are already so expensive that premium-price models would be too expensive for much of Apple’s fanbase.
Still, Samsung has come up with a partial solution to these problems with its upgrade kits, meaning that there are still openings for Apple to innovate in the stagnant TV market.