M.G. Siegler on the recent news that Apple shelved development of a television set:
why on Earth would they want to do that? Even for a company with the manufacturing chops of Apple, a 60-inch screen would be complicated. Glass. Shipping. Storing. Showcasing. Margins. Etc.
At the same time, a whole generation is now growing up used to watching television content on their phones and/or tablets. Or, at the very least, their laptops. For all intents and purposes, these are televisions. And guess what? Apple already makes them!
Every friend I had growing up had a TV in their bedroom. It was kind of a right of passage that your parents would buy a TV for you when they thought you were responsible enough to have one. But, that no longer seems to be as common. Today, nearly every teenager has a smartphone they carry in their pocket and if they have a TV-like device in their room it’s more likely to be a computer or a tablet.
When those smartphone, computer, or tablet touting kids become adults, how many of them are going to spend $300-400 on a TV? Many of them will be just as happy to, instead, spend that money on a computer or tablet and go without a traditional TV well into their 20s.
Simply based on habits developed in the average person’s childhood and teenage years, I wonder how long it will continue to be the norm for every living room in America to house a large television set. At some point it seems that there will be a transition away from one large screen toward smaller, more personal devices for everyone in the house.
I think Apple was wise to shelve development of a television set. Not just because of margins, shipping, and physical space in their stores, but because it’s a market that will eventually die due to the proliferation of tablets, smartphones, and computers. And Apple’s already doing quite well in that market.