This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Apple Is Not Building a TV, Or Maybe It Is

Updated from 8:50 a.m. to include CFO comments in the ninth paragraph.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's long been rumored that Apple (AAPL) will eventually release its own television set, changing the way we watch television forever. However, a new book on Apple, Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs, may tell a different story. Or it may not.

In the new book, written by former Wall Street Journal reporter, Iwatani Kane, Steve Jobs at his last top 100 meeting, (Apple holds meetings for its top 100 employees every year to discuss new products, a very secretive meeting), said that Apple would not be building a television, simply because the economics didn't work. "TV is a terrible business," Jobs is quoted as saying. "They don't turn over and the margins suck."

Pretty damning comments, right?

Not so fast, my friends.

Jobs was notorious for saying one thing in public, and doing another. Just look at his stance on several of Apple's biggest products: video iPod, iPad mini, iPhone, etc. In the past, he had damned all of these products in one way or another, the most recent being the iPad mini.

On Apple's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call in 2010, Jobs took a swipe at 7-inch tablets, saying the size of the devices, most of them running Google's (GOOG) Android operating system, was not conducive to a great app experience. Here are his comments in full:

"I'd like to comment on the avalanche of tablets poised to enter the market in the coming months. First, it appears to be just a handful of credible entrants, not exactly an avalanche. Second, almost all of them use seven-inch screens as compared to iPad's near 10-inch screen. Let's start there. One naturally thinks that a seven-inch screen would offer 70% of the benefits of a 10-inch screen. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. The screen measurements are diagonal, so that a seven-inch screen is only 45% as large as iPad's 10-inch screen. You heard me right; just 45% as large

If you take an iPad and hold it upright in portrait view and draw an imaginary horizontal line halfway down the screen, the screens on the seven-inch tablets are a bit smaller than the bottom half of the iPad display. This size isn't sufficient to create great tablet apps in our opinion."

Now, the iPad mini is one of Apple's best selling products, helping Apple to sell 26 million iPads in its most recent quarter. "Customers are loving the new iPad Air and iPad Mini, with Retina Display, introduced in October, and response to the more affordable iPad Mini has been very strong," Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said on Apple's fiscal first-quarter earnings call.

Jobs was notorious for this kind of stuff, so it's difficult to read too much into this, especially considering he told his authorized biographer, Walter Isaacson, something completely different. The following is a passage of text from Jobs' biography, entitled, Steve Jobs:

"'I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,' he told me. 'It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.' No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. 'It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.'"

Also See: What Exactly Will Be in the Apple TV?

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,131.97 +100.83 0.59%
S&P 500 1,998.98 +14.85 0.75%
NASDAQ 4,552.7590 +33.8570 0.75%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs