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DigiTimes Lends Credence To Apple-Branded TVs For 2012 232

Posted by timothy
from the they-deny-deny-deny-then-ship dept.
It's a rumor that goes back years (here's one example from this summer) that Apple is planning to produce dedicated TV sets branded with its own name; the main question seems to be when. DigiTimes (hat tip to CNet) is reporting that component-maker sources say that Apple has begun the process by ordering parts that hint at an offering next year of Apple TV sets (as opposed to Apple TV) in 32" and 37".
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DigiTimes Lends Credence To Apple-Branded TVs For 2012

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  • Oh good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ArchieBunker (132337)

    A tv that will cost twice as much as the next overpriced Sony and only lets you watch content approved by Apple. Oh and it will also use proprietary connectors so you can only connect it to other Apple devices.

    I guess its the next logical progression from the iPod, iPad, and now iTv.

    • I've got an AppleTV.

      It connects to my (tomato firmware-running) wifi router via industry-standard 802.11n

      It connects to my (Panasonic) TV via industry-standard HDMI

      I use it to watch movies from the iTunes store and Netflix. I also use it to stream music from non-Apple sources and watch videos on YouTube.

      I'm guessing no proprietary connectors for their TV set.

      • Does it do MKVs with ASS/SRT subs too? If it does then I might replace my Xbox with one of them.
        • by Strider- (39683)

          Does it do MKVs with ASS/SRT subs too? If it does then I might replace my Xbox with one of them.

          Mine does. I jailbroke it and installed XBMC for accessing my media library. It will happily play .mkv with subtitles and all the other stuff, then when I want the oficial stuff, I just exit out and go back to the AppleTV interface. It works a treat.

          • Hmm, sure sounds tempting... I must admit that having to transcode just to get subtitles is a big pain. Does the Apple TV read large (>4GB) MP4s too?
            • by MikeMo (521697)
              Apple TV 2 does. Apple TV 1 does not.
              • Apparently neither outputs 1080p, so I think I'll be best served looking at other brands; I'm not going to fork out over five hundred quid for a Mac Mini.
      • by wiedzmin (1269816)
        Oh yeah? Wanna bet that it will use Thunderbolt?
      • by gman003 (1693318)

        Most likely, they'll have the effectively-proprietary Thunderbolt connector (while not 100% proprietary, it's currently only used on Macs, and I'd bet money that it will end up like Firewire - only extensively used by Macs, and not standard or common for PCs) as well as the standard HDMI.

        It's even odds whether it will have the older standards - I can see Apple not including Composite Video and the like.

        • Sure; but frankly, I don't think I've got composite on my current 50" plasma. I don't care.

          HDMI, like it or not, is the standard for AV these days. If they support HDMI as well as Thunderbolt, I don't see how anyone can fault them for it.

          • by Macrat (638047)

            HDMI, like it or not, is the standard for AV these days.

            And a future version of the HDMI standard could very likely include the Thunderbolt connector.

        • The Thunderbolt connector is a DisplayPort connector. DisplayPort is used by many companies like Dell. It is licensed by VESA. It is proprietary in the same way HDMI is proprietary. The latest Macs have the port doubling as a Thunderbolt which the owner of the Thunderbolt spec (Intel) endorses. Apple has chosen to do this but nothing stops others (like Dell) from doing the same. In fact Sony done exactly as you describe in that their iteration only works with other Sony products. Apple's version as f
        • by Macrat (638047)

          while not 100% proprietary, it's currently only used on Macs, and I'd bet money that it will end up like Firewire - only extensively used by Macs, and not standard or common for PCs.

          Just like USB was before Apple put it standard on all their Macs.

    • I guess its the next logical progression from the iPod, iPad, and now iTv.

      Good luck selling them in the UK then.

      No, really, nothing would give me greater pleasure than seeing Apple buy that drivel-spewing POS of a TV station lock, stock and barrel.

    • by drb226 (1938360)
      Soon to follow: iCar, iHouse, iHood, iCity, iCounty, iState, and finally the United States of Apple.
    • I wonder if Samsung will sue Apple for producing a device that infringes on their large rectangular display used with a remote control.

    • Re:Oh good (Score:5, Funny)

      by Hognoxious (631665) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @01:17PM (#38504998) Homepage Journal

      And they'll probably drag up a design patent from 1921 that'll force Sony, LG and the rest to produce heptagonal TVs with screens that face the wall and razor blades on the corners.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Now that 40" high definition television are under $300, it's a perfect time for Apple to come out with a 40" high definition television for $2400.

      And don't think for a second that there won't be people lining up to put $2400 on their credit card if it has an Apple logo and only works with AT&T U-Verse television (2 year contract required).

    • by tholomyes (610627)
      I really thought that Sony was the undisputed king of proprietary connectors and formats.
  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @12:25PM (#38504360)

    As the summary itself notes, these rumors go back years, so yet another iteration of the rumor, "this time for real", without any real info except some screen sizes, is not so exciting.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Agreed. It's in the same class as "the year of Linux on the desktop". Or the second coming. Or the end of the Mayan calendar.

      I think what makes it news is that it captures the imagination, divided roughly into two groups:

      The first group imagines a thin, trendy monitor for a substantial markup over other brands that do more, non-standard connectors, content from a sheltered garden to "preserve the user experience", and carefully timed miniscule improvements where users will be expected to dump their old T

  • Why so small? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blake1 (1148613) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @12:26PM (#38504380)
    If they only sell 32" and 37" sets who is going to buy them? 32" is too small for even a bedroom, let alone watching the 'HD' media one would expect to be able to stream to one of these televisions. Also, if the rumours are true this television must have some significant features other than what can be achieved with an AppleTV + LCD. My guess is they will include an EPG and storage to record television shows to in addition to the AppleTV functionality. Then Apple will call it revolutionary and pretend like they came up with the idea to record to HDD. Not saying I don't like the idea of an Apple tv, just saying.
    • by vlm (69642)

      LOL I have a 12 inch in the bedroom hooked up to my mythtv system. As often heard (?) in the bedroom, its not the size that matters, but how you use it. I think 32 inches in the bedroom might be compensating for a another length measurement being a bit... shorter. Might be cheaper to put a loud stereo in it, or paint it red, or put some fancy rims on, instead of a giant TV. Either that or some people must live in 50 foot by 50 foot bedrooms.

      How do "component-maker sources" know if its a TV or a really b

      • 36 inches is getting into the range where you could flip it upright, throw a glass tabletop on it, and call it the "Apple coffee table" or whatever. Which would actually be kind of cool for certain games (not tired old FPS, but card games, or words with friends, or ...).

        I've been pining for one of these things for years. Microsoft Surface 2 Demo [youtube.com]

        Or, if you're into D&D... [youtube.com]

      • by Macrat (638047)

        36 inches is getting into the range where you could flip it upright

        Isn't a TV already upright? :-)

    • Re:Why so small? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @12:41PM (#38504540)
      My guess is that the information is true but the conclusions were wrong. Apple is ordering 32" and 37" display parts for their next generation of monitors not TVs.
      • by roc97007 (608802)

        Bingo.

      • by am 2k (217885)

        What do they want to do with them? They had a 30" Cinema Display once, but that was replaced by a 27" display. Looking at the market, it seems that the 30" displays aren't accepted, maybe they're too large for most desks. Why should there be a market for 32" or 37"?

    • by swb (14022)

      I agree that the sizes are too small for many applications, but I have a 32" in my bedroom that's just fine -- it's mounted perfectly dead-center on the bed, high enough you can lay in bed and see it fine. As it is with TVs, the next size up seems more attractive, but the bedroom isn't huge and a 42" or larger would get in the way.

      Overall, though, I think Apple would want some of the living room market. My living room TV (Sony Grand Wega, 42", LCD rear projection, circa 2003) IS too small and I don't thin

      • but I have a 32" in my bedroom that's just fine -- it's mounted perfectly dead-center on the bed,

        So many snarky thoughts.

        So little time.....

    • 32" too small for a bedroom? What?

      The TV in my bedroom is a tad over 20" and isn't HD. In my living room the TV is 40" and I think that's huge. When I go to friends' houses and they're watching stuff on their 50"+ TVs, I have to step back as far as possible to see the entire scene at once.

      When I was a kid, a 30" TV was considered ginormous. While I'm sure it would probably be in Apple's best interest to sell larger models, I don't understand your complaint that a 32" TV is too small for a bedroom. Do you ha

    • by Shivetya (243324)

      Price points most likely.

      Not sure how much markup Apple thinks it can get, the 46 and below market is very saturated and Apple is going to have to work hard to make people believe that TV can be different. Different enough to matter.

      Considering the slew of voice activated TVs coming next year I am not sure where Apple thinks it can differentiate or offer value while holding a profit.

      I certainly would not feel the need to pay more to use my TV, I know how to use a remote and I really heading towards consumin

      • by ArcCoyote (634356)

        I disagree about the 60"+ market. If Apple is making a TV, they are smart to focus on the mid-sized sets.

        People who buy big screens care a lot about picture quality and stuff like 120Hz, 3D, etc... more than they do about apps and such. They probably have home theater components and don't really care about an iOS device built into a TV set. To them that kind of functionality belongs in a box, not in the display.

        Not to mention large displays have the whole plasma vs. CCFL LCD vs LED LCD debate ... each has

    • Speak for yourself. My first LCD (a 32" Samsung) now resides in my bedroom and it's just fine (people still think it's overkill a lot of the time).

      Besides, it's not like I'm in there watching full 1080p with 7.1 surround and all that crap, I'll go in the living room and my 60" if I want to do that. The bedroom TV is for watching CNN in the morning as I'm getting ready for work or a movie at night to fall asleep to. Who the hell wants to be in their bedroom for a long period of time watching TV?

      • by vlm (69642)

        Who the hell wants to be in their bedroom for a long period of time watching TV?

        X rated answer : "Adult" movies?

        G rated answer : I was sick as a dog with the flu a year ago and I think a nice comfy bed with a TV was just about right for a day or two... Then I graduated to the couch in the living room with a blankie, etc. I think it took a week to regain full energy level.

        • X rated answer : "Adult" movies?

          People still buy porn? I thought the web had pretty much taken that entire market over...

          • No matter how you get your porn you still have to watch it on something. I'd like to see wireless display mirroring between my TV and my laptop, not just for porn though.
            • Fair enough. I guess I'm spoiled by the fact that my laptop charges next to the bed so I still wouldn't be watching it on TV anyway.

              And yeah, wireless display would be hawt, although based on my experiences with the ridiculously over-saturated wifi bands here in my complex, it wouldn't work for shit...

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      It's small for a TV but large for a monitor. You have to consider the marketplace. a 32" tv is the perfect size for a lonely fanboi in a studio apartment.

    • When I grew up we had a 19" RCA. One christmas we got a huge 32" TV. I got the 19" RCA and used it in my teenage years. As far as I know the thing still works.

    • 32" is too small for even a bedroom

      Yet another virgin slashdotter who watches way too much porn.

    • by Algae_94 (2017070)
      I've got a 32" TV in my living room. It works just fine. A little bigger would be nice, but considering it's operational, I'll keep it as it is.
  • by pdxer (2520686) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @12:30PM (#38504426)

    At his last All Things Digital [youtube.com] (fast forward to 1:31:30 or so), Steve Jobs said that the TV market was hard because the hardware was subsidized, which prevented doing anything interesting. The set-top box from your cable company is "good enough", it's free (at least, you think it is), and enough people won't spend money for a wow-cool interface to allow someone like Apple to make money. He referred to Apple TV as a hobbyist product.

    So it sounds like the strategy now is to make the whole TV and not just a set-top box. I'm curious what that is going to bring. Sure, it'll be a nice set and maybe the interface will be better than the typical clunky "navigate a menu without a mouse" things. But so much of what's controlled on the TV is controlled outside of it - i.e., through my Dish/Cable/etc. carrier's box.

    Will iTV replace those boxes? Is this a sort of androidy model where Apple provides everything those carriers do and then says to the carriers, why keep building your own set-top boxes when iTV can do that for you?

    If it's just a nice TV with a better interface for adjusting the brightness, I can't imagine anyone getting excited, so there must be something more...speculations, please.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Steve Jobs said ...

      ... a lot of trash talking about the tablet market pretty much right up to the ipad release party.

      Its a characteristic "apple" thing that they harder they trash talk something the more likely it seems they are to release it. I think part of it is misdirection, and a lot is management of anticipation, oh steve says its gonna suck, oh look, its actually not too bad, those guys must be geniuses.

      If you can get an apple exec to categorically state there is no way they'll release a TV, that guarantees that in a

      • by Lifyre (960576)

        Steve was talking about the Apple TV product they already had any why it wasn't incredibly successful not an actual iTV...

    • speculations, please.

      I will speculate that the thing won't be called an iTV [itv.com]... if Apple wants to sell it in the UK, that is.

  • Who will they sue? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by horza (87255) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @12:35PM (#38504472) Homepage

    There already plenty of televisions that are black with rounded corners. Who will they sue?

    Phillip.

  • I'm sure it will all be for the low, low price of $3000 for the 32", $3500 for the 37".

    I don't think they should to get involved in this market. Most people already go buy whatever cheap piece of crap Walmart TV they can find. You can get a 32" right now at Walmart.com for $200. [walmart.com]

    Then again, people have shown their desire to throw money at Apple before...

    • Re:What a steal! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vlm (69642) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @12:55PM (#38504718)

      Maybe thats why they should do it.

      Early adopter and tech guys all "know" that multi foot long TVs are supposed to be thousands of dollars. I simply left the market up until recently, there's no way I'm spending a "used car" on a tv. Ignored the market, was shocked recently at how cheap TVs have gotten. Almost cheaper than a physical window. We're very close to the point that from a materials and energy cost standpoint for it to be cheaper to install a 40-something inch TV in portrait mode and a webcam sideways outdoors and call it a "iWindow" or something like that.

      Of course my recently purchased 42 inch TV was only a couple hundred bucks, not several thousand, and I'm probably the last guy in the US to have upgraded from CRT to LCD, so it might already be too late to "convince" people that big TVs are still $3000, including the new iTV?

      • by dissy (172727)

        We're very close to the point that from a materials and energy cost standpoint for it to be cheaper to install a 40-something inch TV in portrait mode and a webcam sideways outdoors and call it a "iWindow" or something like that.

        I recently did something almost identical to that earlier this year.

        At work we were looking to replace the crappy conference room projectors (Max 1024x768, but too blurry to read text at standard sizes), and at the time a 50" HDTV that could do 1920x1080 was cheaper than a new projector that still maxed out below that res.

        The main purpose is to be a computer display, using the VGA input.
        I also connected the component input up to the jacks built into the conference table for visitors.

        The main annoyance that

    • by SolusSD (680489)
      Is that $200 TV an IPS LCD screen, or some POS TN display? APple products tend to have high-end features too.
  • by LordStormes (1749242) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @12:45PM (#38504598) Homepage Journal

    Make it 3D and give it a touchscreen.... I want to watch people flailing trying to grab that damn angry bird on their 55" TV and careen right through their coffee table.

  • by tji (74570)

    Apple is not going to enter a market that is already in an aggressive price reduction war. Just look back at their same reasoning for not messing with Netbooks. If they can come in with a way to redefine the market, they would do that. But, not a "me too" television. Many/most other TVs have competitors to TV + Apple TV. Most suck, but they are still close enough to not allow Apple to price the TVs how they want, meaning they won't get in the market.

    In the past, I thought they might do a next-gen A

    • Re:Not likely (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @01:55PM (#38505432) Homepage

      The 'untapped' TV market is simplicity. It's hard to integrate all of the potential choices for TV input (cable, iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Blockbuster, DirectTV, Over the Air, DVD, BlueTooth, PirateBay etc) without setting up some complicated 'Home media server' and a remote with three thousand buttons.

      It really surprises me how bad the TV manufacturers do at this. I have a 2 year old Samsung 42" - not a bad screen but the interface just absolutely sucks. Yet another 500 button remote with Tiny Little Letters and a few new icons (still haven't figured out the purple button with 2 dots and something vaguely resembling a triangle). The stupid thing can't even remember what it was last hooked to.

      Come up with a generic way of doing this and you're rich. Of course, it it was easy, it would have been done already. For the reasons amply detailed in this and thousands of other posts it is quite a technologic and social challenge. Personally, I don't see Apple solving it - I don't thing anyone really can because of the inherent Balkanisation of the 'TV experience" but perhaps Steve has a better perspective on things from the Other Side.

    • by wootest (694923)

      > Apple is not going to enter a market that is already in an aggressive price reduction war.

      They're not going to enter it with the same product that everyone else is pushing. The point is that the current TV market, plagued with razor-thin margins for years, is making all those cheap TVs to meet demand, but none of the players are turning profits from doing so. 3D and internet/"smart" TVs (with apps) are grabs to differentiate their product. They all want something that's so clearly more than "just a TV"

  • I used to run my TV using a Mac Mini with EyeTV so I could watch and record TV. It was awful, very unstable, crashed often, and required a CS degree in order to understand how to record a series. If Apple is coming out with a TV, they need something much much much better then EyeTV.
    • I used to run my TV using a Mac Mini with EyeTV so I could watch and record TV. It was awful, very unstable, crashed often, and required a CS degree in order to understand how to record a series. If Apple is coming out with a TV, they need something much much much better then EyeTV.

      Um... so you're angry with Apple, because a third party vendor had crappy software? Maybe that's why Apple is thinking about getting in the market. The current offerings are kind of crappy.

    • by ArcCoyote (634356)

      There is. It's called Windows Media Center. Or TiVo. Or your cable/satellite box.

      Point is there's not a lot of room for innovation in the DVR market. If Apple's TV is somehow different from the Apple TV we have now, it will be via something like Google TV... it will interact with whatever content is coming from your TV provider.

      • by GWBasic (900357)
        When I bought my Mac Mini, Windows 7 hadn't come out. I've now switched to an HP desktop running Windows 7, and it's a dream come true.
    • by Macrat (638047)

      I used to run my TV using a Mac Mini with EyeTV so I could watch and record TV. It was awful, very unstable, crashed often,.

      True, EyeTV does have a small memory leak. Best to run it on a Mac with lots of extra memory.

      and required a CS degree in order to understand how to record a series.

      So simply clicking on the TV show description and clicking the "Record All" button is too complicated for you?

  • ...is about to become fashionable again?

  • With Apple being early to add USB and drop the floppy I could see them dropping the tuner altogether. I haven't used a tuner in a TV since 1993 ( bought a monitor only then )
    When there was the big switch in the US from analog to digital TV the numbers mentioned for people who get their television OTA was ~ 10%. That means that 90% of the TV buyers have no need for a tuner. Connecting to a cable or satellite box isn't using the ATSC tuner at all. Maybe Apple could leverage their iTunes deals for a st

  • These can't be TV's -- more likely a new cycle of Cinema Display that has TV-like component inputs for better media integration. Really, why would Apple start selling TVs that are just TVs when brands like Sony can't turn a profit and why at such pathetic form factors as 32" and 37" when you can get a Sony Bravia 40" 3D LCD with built-in internet for $2 less than a 27" Apple Thunderbolt Display? So no -- I highly doubt this "Apple TV-set" is what they think it will be and will more than likely be nothing b

  • by Tangential (266113) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @01:52PM (#38505402) Homepage
    TV sets are an incredibly slim margin market. Plus, they aren't going to be able to easily compete with larger set sizes and probably wouldn't want to. The distribution channel for larger devices in very high volumes is very different than for a handful of 27" iMacs and monitors as well

    Instead, Apple could leverage their current position and just enhance the user experience with a nicer Apple TV (with video conferencing, camera, remote acess and other goodies thrown in.) They could even couple that with a centralized server and really low cost set top boxes at each set for a more consistent and compelling experience and even better margins. iOS games could also be integrated in.

    It makes no sense for them to make sets.
  • DigiTimes is like the Chinese-language version of the National Enquirer for the tech industry. It's rarely right, but that doesn't stop people from continuing to pretend it has legitimacy or accuracy.
  • All the speculation about an iTV is based on what the hardware or software (or price) will be. And all of it's useless. It's easy to predict that Apple will come out with something that's beautiful to look at and fun/easy to use. But there's only one thing that *really* matters for the success of Apple's foray into TV - where the content will come from. Until Apple succeeds on making a deal with the content providers to provide content on with a pricing model that's more appealing than cable and/or OTA, App
  • Instead of TVs, I would prefer to have Apple monitors which work with PCs. 1920 x1200 is the minimum for me but 1920x1080 is more and more common. On the iMac, I have 2560x1440. Thats a display I would like to have on my linux boxes too but the current thunderbold displays from apple do not target the PC market.

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