A Wild Rumor Surfacing about an Apple HDTV being Tested Overseas Reignites the Dream of TV Reinvented
Yesterday Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Snags Matt Cherniss, Former President of WGN America, for Entertainment Programming Development." This new hire seemed to lock in the reality that Apple is getting serious about creating top tier content that could one day compete with offerings from other services like Netflix and Amazon.
At one point in time Apple decided that the mobile phone could one day threaten their iPod and iTunes Store and so they decided to invent the iPhone to save their music market. Although Apple has toyed with TV as the next big market for over a decade, not much has ever materialized. Apple TV the set-top-box was considered a hobby product for years by Apple's CEO and while they'll be upgrading it this year to support 4K displays, we have to begin rethinking Apple's future as a major player in entertainment content. With Amazon bundling in Prime Music with their TV content, Apple may be seeing services like this as a potential threat. If they're doubling down on content, the idea of an Apple HDTV on the drawing board has to be seriously entertained.
When Foxconn announced their new plant for Wisconsin on July 26, Chairman Terry Gou listed some of the main products his new plant would produce. Gou said that while TV was invented in America, there were no U.S. plants making televisions anymore. His company's first product focus will be on making 8K TVs. It sounds like TV will be 'reinvented' and that sounds like something that Apple would be interested in.
If Apple has a prayer in cracking the HDTV market they'd have to do it in the U.S. first where they have their strongest fan base and where they already have other TV content deals worked out with major content creators. So while there appears to be absolutely no connection between Foxconn's 8K televisions and Apple today, you have to wonder if one will be there in the future; especially in light of a wild and wacky new rumor coming out of China today showing photos of an Apple HDTV being tested.
Blurry photos have always reminded me of the fake Big Foot photos of a man in costume. If it's blurry it ads to the mystery of it. Then again, why not take the time to get the photo right? You can always justify it by saying it's a secret facility and so taking photos could cost people their jobs if not get them arrested. Or it could just be straight out nonsense.
While I try not to cover wacky rumors on Patently Apple, this one holds a modicum of the possible because of the other pieces of the puzzle that are coming into play as Apple ratchets up their TV content business.
The Apple community is familiar with the reasoning that Apple products are superior because they make both the hardware and the software like nobody else. It's that holistic approach to a creating a product that has been Apple's longstanding strength. So with all this new content on the drawing board, will Apple continue to rely on their tiny little Apple TV box to deliver it forever? While that may be the reality of the day, Apple would be able to deliver a much more satisfying experience with a next generation HDTV. For instance, Apple could deliver a new kind of FaceTime conferencing experience in the comfort of your living room. They could also use depth cameras for user authentication to control what content is available to different members in the home. Apple could also introduce in-air gesturing by integrating an in-depth camera that could be used to control game play. There's so much more Apple could deliver with an HDTV that can't be done on their set-top-box.
While it may be a little to early to bang the Apple HDTV drum just yet, I remind our fans that Apple's CEO spent a great deal of time in 2013 promoting the notion that something big regarding TV was on the horizon. Just look at Cook's face in our cover graphic when he spoke about the future of TV with NBC and Charlie Rose. That expression of enthusiasm is not for a tiny black TV box called Apple TV.
So while today's rumored photos are questionable, I'm not quite sure that the idea of an HDTV from Apple is really dead as reported by the Wall Street Journal back in 2015. It may have gone underground, but there's still enough evidence to suggest that Apple will want to create a more profitable device for delivering the content that they're creating.
An HDTV would definitely be a hit with Apple fans in the U.S. and more than likely by most die-hard fans around the world. They'd probably sell more televisions than they currently do iMacs.
And lastly, Apple has filed a series of patents for advanced stereo systems, that yes, are in-part designed to work with flat screen televisions as illustrated in Apple's filing that only came to light on August 16. More Apple TV patents could be found in our archives.
The naysayers laughed at the very thought that Apple would ever enter the smartphone market because Motorola, Nokia and Blackberry would slaughter them. History shows that Apple wiped those one-time leaders off the map.
The naysayers also said that Apple would never ever enter a losing market like tablets because Microsoft tried it and it was a failure. Naysayers went ballistic every time Patently Apple posted a patent report over the years regarding a future smart pen. They snarkily reminded me that the late Steve Jobs hated the stylus. Yes he did, but Apple was working on an advanced pen and not a dead plastic stylus. Yet the naysayers just couldn't wrap their head around that distinction and thought it was ludicrous that I continued to post patent reports about something that would never materialize. How can I not laugh at naysayers who rely solely on emotion and faulty logic?
Could Apple be working on a future HDTV? Evidence shows that Apple is working on many Apple TV projects, from advancing OLED display technology to delivering advances in home theater audio systems to a TV listings service and now the creation of top tier content. Even one of their last trademark filings listed televisions and home theater systems 17 times as something they wanted to legally cover and protect. So yes, it's still a possibility that Apple will want to introduce new hardware into their product line-up to continue their string of record breaking profitable quarters.
In the end it's really more about timing than anything else. And with Tim Cook saying that TV was an area of intense interest" – a future HDTV can't be ruled out.
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