What ever happened to Apple's iTV?

The late Steve Jobs said he had cracked the TV code, but a full-fledged iTV has yet to hit the market. Analysts first expect a set-top box or modest Apple TV upgrade.

By Benzinga Nov 13, 2013 3:08PM

Couple watching television (© Maria Teijeiro/Getty Images/Getty Images)By Tim Parker

Remember all of the hype when the late Steve Jobs told everybody that he had cracked the TV code? Looking back, simply cracking the code isn't enough to bring a product to market.

The individual tinkerer all the way up to the largest company in the world has found that to be true. The fact is that most inventions never see the commercial light of day.

But what's the hold up? Some new comments about Apple's (AAPL) much rumored iTV were published in a research note Tuesday. Ming-Chi Kuo said that before the debut of the iTV, consumers will see a set-top box.

"We expect Apple to launch a new version of the Apple TV with an A7 processor in 2014, and we forecast 2014 shipments to total 8.2mn units. Shipment growth will be limited unless Apple is able to integrate more TV content, services and its App Store, in our view."

In his note, he went on to say that he believes a full-fledged TV won't reach the market until mid-2015 or 2016 at the earliest.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes the iTV will become reality sometime in 2014, although many analysts believe 2014 will be the year of wearable computing like the also heavily rumored iWatch.

The issues that surround a TV haven't changed for Apple. First, there's licensing. The TV industry is facing mounting pressure to change its model but it still has a healthy viewership giving it enough muscle to fight off companies like Apple, at least for now.

Second, while a TV that does everything people love about Apple devices would be somewhat of a draw, people have already found that on their macs, iPads and iPhones. Competing against yourself is never a sound strategy.

Finally, the Apple TV isn't known for its innovative new features that turned the TV experience upside down. Sales are slumping -- not that they were ever outsized anyway.

The refresh of the current model with a lightening-fast A7 processor would indicate a device that can do more -- much like a set-top box.

Maybe the answer lies in using its name and cash pile to do something that rivals Netflix (NFLX). Instead of trying to negotiate for everybody else's content, it partners with a studio to produce original content or set out to make its own. The latter seems unlikely, but if any company has the resources to take on such an endeavor, it would be Apple.

At the time of this writing, Tim Parker was long Apple.

Read more from Benzinga:

Nov 13, 2013 10:53PM
The reason Apple has not unveiled a tv is spelled S-A-M-S-U-N-G.
Nov 13, 2013 10:19PM
I got a free Apple TV, makes an attractive paperweight!!
Nov 14, 2013 4:12PM
It'll be here "sometime next year" and it will be GRRRRRREAT!
Nov 14, 2013 10:48AM
People here don't have a clue. Its called network programming which is why they are looking to Netflix so they can develop there own. Regular programming will take a big hit when they do
Nov 14, 2013 1:13PM
As a pro AV integrator, we use a lot of Apple TV's in conference rooms to allow a WI-FI portal for tablets.  Apple needs to learn to play well with Android-based systems to be truly successful.  No, they no longer dominate either the phone, tablet, or media interface market.
Dec 4, 2013 5:44PM
If course MSN uses a title to attack Apple here and Disney in another story.

MSN is Microsoft and they partner with NBC and Fox
Apple is about the tech and the content flow, that can be achieved with a box, just putting out a high definition screen is not going to make money.  That is a cut throat low margin business with many many competitors.  Who do you think makes more money the company that makes the dishwasher or the company that makes the detergent.  Most video game consoles are loss leaders the money is in the games.  Profit margins on sets are only 3% for the strongest competitors….3% sucks.
Apple delivers the content through proprietary technology.  With ITunes wildly dominating the music content business, video is an easy jump.  And since they partner with Disney/ABC/Apple they have a jump on the competition, and since most music companies are tied in to entertainment conglomerates…they depend on iTunes and won't risk pissing them off.

Nov 15, 2013 4:38PM
Xbox One is what Apple iTV wants to be. Thing is Apple has to come up with something that doesnt appear to just be copying it.  They arent going to be able to just get content providers to abandon content and make everything available through iTunes.
Nov 14, 2013 12:59AM
Is it 4K?  Went into a store that has them already ... simply amazing!
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