Despite the tumult surrounding the resignation and subsequent passing of CEO Steve Jobs, Apple is on a roll. They’re selling millions of iPhones and iPads and planning to sell many more through the holiday season and into 2012, when an iPad 3 is expected. So things look good for at least the next year.
But then what? What will be the next “insanely great” thing to emerge from Cupertino? How about a television? Apple watchers have wondered for five years whether Jobs and Co. would tackle a full-on TV as a successor to its Apple TV video streaming box. Obviously, any such device would have to have an integrated browser as well as access to Apple’s universe of apps. And it would have to compete favorably against Netflix, Google TV and Amazon’s Instant Video. Apple’s new iCloud would also play a huge part.
And yet, some observers, such as the Enderle Group’s Rob Enderle are skeptical:
“TV is a thin margin commodity business as both HP and Pioneer discovered. I doubt even Jobs would try to enter a space already so aggressively defined by price and saturated with product. Now if they could come up with something to replace the TV then…They’d have to position this as enough different than a TV for them to hold margin. Jobs might be able to do this (and I say might given the Google TV belly flop may have already soured the market), but Tim Cook isn’t up to this level of problem at all. But we’ll see, they’ve never tried a saturated market in current years. Saturated markets are a bitch.”
Would Jobs have been brave enough to tackle the TV? Will his successor keep looking into it? Eulogists said Jobs gave us products we didn’t even know we wanted. Is a super smart TV the next thing we don’t yet know we need?