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Apple Must Do a TV

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- TV shipments down again; Would Apple enter a shrinking market?

That's a headline another financial media outlet used last week to top an Apple (AAPL - Get Report) story. There's no need to link to the article; it's void of anything worth reading.

However, the headline contains something to explore.

It strikes me as funny that we're all so sure Apple has wearable technology, particularly a smartwatch (iWatch), coming sooner or later. Forget shrinking markets -- why would Apple enter a fabricated market, one created and perpetuated by a technology industry that has run out of ideas and can't seem to effectively up the utility of existing devices.

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Apple should focus on increasing the efficacy of (and need to own and upgrade) its iPhone by getting it to the point where it can do everything something that's "wearable" can do. So, in other words, to make the rumored Healthbook work, all you need to do is keep your iPhone in your pocket and maybe hold it to your nose or something a few times a day.

The last thing I need is another device to carry around, be it on my person or in my purse.

Plus the next to last thing Apple should do is chase a market names such as Intel (INTC) seem so excited about. That's a surefire way to enter an area of consumer need and want that, for all intents and purposes, doesn't exist ... at least not to the level Apple's accustomed to based on its experiences with iPod, iPhone and iPad.

I'm upgrading to the next iPhone no matter what. I would be hyper elated with wide-ranging mobile payments capabilities and a much-improved Siri. Even that, though, represents icing on the cake. I don't need Apple to follow the hype. That's certainly not the approach that brought it to the dance.

With that trajectory of thought in mind, there's no better space for Apple to introduce bells and whistles than an existing and shrinking one. Entering the TV market in its current state makes a heck of a lot more sense than placing a bet on a market created by less-than others.

Consider the current state of the TV market.

It's an area Samsung and others bring zero life to. In fact, they have allowed it to stagnate. 

When you buy a television set, your decision making process comes down to screen size. At least that's the only area I spend time on. All the pictures look great, particularly in HD. And the notion of a Smart TV has rendered itself pointless. I'd rather buy a "dumb" TV and hook a $50 to $100 Roku Player or Apple TV up to it.

Apple can walk into this shrinking market and make it exciting again. It can create an environment where people will be willing to drop a couple grand on a television set again, without flinching. And they'll wonder what the competition was up to while Apple was busying innovating.

Isn't that what Apple did to the smartphone market?

The artist formerly known as RIM -- BlackBerry (BBRY) -- initiated the craze, but it was clear that company wasn't going anywhere with it. So Apple stepped in, introduced iPhone and passed everybody by. In the process, Apple redefined both a product and a market. The same opportunity exists in the living room.

If the Apple way is indeed alive and well, expect an Apple TV. Most likely a television set morphed with Apple's existing set top box. I would be shocked to not see the aforementioned.

Though I can't speak for him with respect to intensity of thought, Mac Observer senior editor and TheStreet contributor John Martellaro agrees with the notion of an actual Apple TV. In fact, he tied much of it together (minus the actual TV set, which he has written about previously) in a recent article where he floats the idea of a touchscreen remote with a next generation Apple TV.

In the shell of a nut, I'd rather see Apple turn an existing (and proven) space on its ear. That's what it has done to multiple spaces with iPod, iPhone, iPad and more than a few of the in-between iterations of each.

Pulling together existing technology such as Siri and the present Apple TV to bring a television set to market makes a heck of a lot more sense than risking your reputation on a wearable market we're not even sure exists at any meaningful scale.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks. Rocco Pendola is a columnist for TheStreet. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

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