NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Because it only takes a $99 investment in a Roku streaming player to make a television "smart," I just can't bring myself to spend more than a few hundred bucks on a boob tube these days. That's about to change. Here's my quick and dirty on why.
In a perfect tech space, Apple's (AAPL) dominance would have spurred a different kind of competition.
Think of how, by and large, things have gone.
Apple sells products at premium prices. Unable to compete on anything other than price, we see competitively inferior hardware, particularly computers and tablets, that do very little except undercut Apple and underwhelm consumers. When another company shoots for a lofty price point, shoppers respond with skepticism and little else. Reference the woeful launch of Microsoft's (MSFT) Surface tablet as evidence.You would think supposedly innovative and aggressive technology companies would lick their respective chops at the table Apple set for them. Steve Jobs created a world where you can name your price and sell millions of units. Of course, you have to bring the goods. That's the tough part. Creating products that are good enough, across the board, to carry a premium price tag and attract aspirational gawkers and buyers.
Can't do this. Not sure your efforts will be successful? Just copy Apple, but cut several dozen corners and charge people less for bad design and relatively poor user experiences. That's pretty much what we see with attempts to steal mindshare and/or marketshare from MacBooks and iPads. As such, Apple only loses if it beats itself. It competes with the bar it most recently set for itself. So, we're all waiting for the next innovation, not on an existing product, but on something new. I'm a believer that the next big thing is a television set. I provide some rationale in iTV Can Rescue Apple From Uncertainty. But, in a nutshell, Apple succeeds when it produces high-end hardware, not software or services. And that hardware comes for a price.
As iPad mini was set to launch, the world expected something at the $199 price point because that's just what Apple had to do. Amazon.com (AMZN) and Google (GOOG) already set the market for a seven-inch tablet at $199. There was no way Apple could walk into the subspace at a level much higher. We know what happened there. If the $1500-to-$2500 iTV rumors come true, we'll hear the same sorts of objections. And, like Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, Apple will overcome them. It will make dropping several grand on a TV cool again. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
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