In one corner, you have the well-respected Jean-Louis Gassée calling the notion of an actual television set from Apple an "enduring fantasy." In the other, there's Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicting an imminent release, as Gassée noted, for the umpteenth time and third year in a row (!).
Gassée makes compelling points.
First, he states the obvious: Consumers should be able to access a la carte television. Every program should be an on-demand app. Of course. But that's not going to happen. You'll have to go through the "trouble" of programming your DVR from your iPhone a while longer.Apple will never cut this deal with the cable/satellite companies and content owners. And there's really no reason why it should. Gassée asks "why bother" with a television anyway, noting that the revenue Apple would generate represents a tiny fraction of the whole. I don't agree, but, going with that for a second, you could say the same about Apple doing a full-fledged Pandora (P) competitor. Big difference between the two: Apple can break a hell of a lot more ground in the living room than it can in streaming radio. I detail several reasons why in the above-linked and other recent articles. But here's what really baffles me: This hyper-focus on content. I cringe when I make this "accusation" in the same breath as a summary of a Gassée argument, but this hyper-focus shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what Apple is and why it's so successful. Turn on a television -- any one of them -- and, depending on what you subscribe to -- content is there. Theoretically, you can access "all of it." That's all Apple needs: A world full of viewable content. The real "why bother" is why bother getting involved in that whole mess? It's a war not worth fighting. In a perfect world, consumers download or stream content a la carte, but it's not really in Apple's best interest to fight for that "right." I don't see the upside. It's a money out, hustle way too hard to churn out enough product to make acceptable margins proposition.