Apple has made some legendary products, but the products it hasn’t made have legends of their own. For every iMac, iPod, and iPhone Apple has produced, there have been rumors of products that might have been. the apple glassesthe apple carand the first of them: the Apple Television.
Those rumors of a Apple iTV it went extinct years ago, for good reason. A television is an expensive product to make, and Apple likes to make a lot of money. To make the same profit you make on phones and AirPods, you’d have to sell a TV that’s too expensive for today’s market.
Or it would have to use bargain tech to drive prices down, as Amazon did with its Fire TV Omni TVs, until recently.
Apple is already on TV
Apple doesn’t need to make a TV because you can just plug in a Apple TV 4K to the equipment you own. You can AirPlay from your iPhone 14. you can see the best apple tv showsand play all your favorite Apple Arcade games, all without an Apple TV. Apple knows that the real money isn’t in the TV, it’s in the services that support it.
If there is a company on board with the sale of services, it is Amazon. It’s hard to describe Amazon these days because the Amazon Prime service spans so many categories. Amazon is a store with an expedited shipping service. It is also a content streaming service; a music service; a cloud storage service; and a service that can automate and secure your connected home.
Amazon sells speakers, cameras, smart displays, and even a roaming robot. Those screens got bigger and bigger until they became full Fire TV Omni TVs. Amazon TVs quickly gained popularity because Amazon offers them with no more frills than Amazon services, and the prices are among the lowest you’ll find on a brand you’ve ever heard of.
Why sell a cheap TV? Fire TV is a hook to enter Amazon Prime. It’s a huge monitor for all your Amazon Ring cameras. Reminds you to use Alexa. Amazon could sell a TV at a loss. The one-time profit from selling a TV is nothing compared to the monthly income of subscribers.
Why aren’t more streamers making a TV?
Surprisingly few content and service providers are in a position to dominate the living room so completely. Your favorite streaming services aren’t interested in making a TV. There is no Disney TV, HBO or Netflix, not even Hulu.
Roku approaches. Roku bundles its software with TCL TVs, an alternative to the Roku streaming stick. It has some exclusive content, but very little. If you want to watch “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” this fall, you’ll need a Roku. That’s nowhere near the level of original programming that Amazon offers, plus all the licensed content.
Amazon targets Samsung
It’s obvious why Amazon would sell a cheap TV, but why would it sell a fancy TV? The new Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED uses quantum dots, which offer superior color accuracy. It has local matrix dimming, which is a neat trick that brings LED TVs closer to the near-infinite contrast of OLED screens. These are videophile functions. They won’t look as good as the best tv samsung or the Best LG TVbut Amazon is very competitive on price.
This could be a danger for Samsung. Samsung smart TVs can run all the streaming apps you need, including Amazon Prime Video and even Apple TV+, but Samsung doesn’t have any hooks.
Samsung sells great, reliable TVs at a variety of price points, but there’s nothing to lock a customer into the brand like Amazon has with all its Prime, Ring, and Alexa-related services. Once you set up your home to work with your Amazon Fire TV Omni, you may be more inclined to keep buying Fire TVs.
There is a company that could compete with Amazon in this space. A company with a strong streaming channel packed with content; a company with a variety of subscription services; a company invested in home automation. Apple could easily take on Amazon, it just doesn’t want to.
An Apple TV is not impossible
An Apple TV can’t be an entry-level bargain like a Fire TV Omni, and it can’t be half a step up the ladder like the Fire TV Omni QLED. He has to be among the best, if not THE best.
Right now, the best display manufacturers are using those displays in-house, and Apple doesn’t make its own display panels. Buying the best panels from a third party is expensive. For Apple to make enough money from a TV, the display technology will need to be much cheaper.
This is not impossible. Samsung has finally cracked the code to make its own TV-sized OLED panels, breaking LG’s near-monopoly. OLED TVs are considered to be of the highest quality, so it’s unlikely that Apple will make a TV that doesn’t use OLED. If OLED production costs drop enough, that removes a barrier.
If TVs crash, Apple will have to make one
Apple will make a TV if it needs to make a TV. Right now, every TV manufacturer allows competing apps and services to run, and a myriad of devices to connect and stream content. In the future, we could see more of a walled garden.
What if Amazon decides it doesn’t need AirPlay on its TVs, or removes the HDMI port entirely to cut costs? So Apple devices would be effectively locked down. What if Amazon ditches third-party streaming apps, the same way it ditches Google apps on its Android tablets?
Amazon is already securing users by integrating all of its various services into one hub. If iPhone users can get everything they need from an Amazon Fire TV Omni without connecting their smartphone, they’ll stop buying Apple TV devices and be less likely to subscribe to core Apple services. Then Apple could be forced to make a TV.
Someday, if technology prices go down and competition among service providers increases, we might wake up to find that Apple is ready with the TV of our dreams.
If you don’t want to wait for Apple, you can find TechRadar’s list of the best TVs here.