I don’t know if Apple will ever get into the business of making HDTV’s. There are apparently some rumors flying around that the Apple HDTV is coming this year. Marco Arment gives a compelling argument that the profit margins on HDTV’s are not high enough, nor is the product lifetime short enough, for this move to make business sense for Apple. And Apple already has their Apple TV unit, priced affordably at $99, that is a perfect compliment to your existing HDTV. Why even bother with the actual TV display market at all?
I think Apple has plenty of reason to enter this market. While the Apple TV is a great product, I don’t think it’s reached as wide an audience as Apple has hoped. If Apple can design an HDTV that’s as innovative and beautiful as the original iPod was, they’ll sell like hotcakes. The bigger picture here is that Apple wants to start competing with cable TV services with their iTunes streaming products. Once Apple has their software running on a significant portion of TV’s, they can really throw off the gloves and start competing directly with cable and satellite TV providers. The Apple HDTV device itself could almost be a sort of loss leader, or low-margin product that’s simply a vehicle for pushing iTunes out into as many homes as possible.
I’m excited to get rid of current cable/satellite paradigm where I pay $100/mo just to watch 10 hours of sporting events and a few TV shows that I could easily get through iTunes, Amazon or Netflix.