This Day On The Street
Continue to site
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

Apple's Vision Shreds Amazon Fire TV, Other Competitors

Unfortunately, when the business goal is get better at convincing the customer into spending more, there is a certain implicit callousness towards the consumer. There is a distinct difference between a beautiful instrument of creation that can be used for entertainment and virtually invisible hardware that caters solely to the frequent, shallow whims of the customer.

With all that in mind, what future options are available to Apple? With Google's (GOOG) Chromecast, the Roku systems and the Amazon Fire TV, should Apple be focused on a next-gen black box, indistinguishable from the rest? Is a race to deliver the most salivating content so that Apple can make nickels and dimes on movies and TV shows Apple's ultimate goal?

Apple has always had a reputation for encouraging people to do something creative with their hardware; this attitude is  fundamental in its marketing. The goal is to become more of an individual, to refine skills, to think independently. How can these next-generation set-top boxes, supremely tuned to lure the customer into thinking like the crowd, do that? They cannot.

Yet when it comes to next-generation TV hardware, Apple's traditional vision remains elusive. If personal entertainment and spending is the only personal goal, and the hardware means nothing, then one is not really encouraged to do something with that amazing device. Since day one, Apple has done its best to remind us that we should think about being good stewards of our computer tools -- and contributing.

For Apple, the fundamental reason why it has declared the Apple TV as a hobby in the past was because there was no clear-cut path to develop hardware in line with its own vision, given the constraints of the TV industry. A black box was all that could be accomplished.

However, Apple has always demanded more from itself than that. And so do we. So the real question is, if Apple is going to make a leap forward, to make a piece of TV hardware that exemplifies Apple's traditional industrial design, what form will it take and how will we use it?

Is the goal merely to help the customer find and pay for video content more easily? Will the goal be to extract the maximum amount of revenue from the customer when, consensus thinks, Apple's real interest lies in hardware profits derived from fulfilling a fundamental human need?

At first, one might be concerned that the flood of set-top boxes will overwhelm Apple's TV efforts into insignificance. But I somehow doubt that Apple's ultimate goal is to merely build another, slightly better little black box.

Apple -- if it is to remain faithful to its corporate vision of empowerment instead of the enslavement its critics (and competitors) imply -- is thinking (I hope) about something more inspiring, more grand than just another tiny box to deliver addictive visual dazzles.

Can it be done? It may be the very toughest challenge in the media and technology sectors. The solution seems to be taking its sweet time. Perhaps we'll soon see.

At the time of publication the author is long AAPL.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

2 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

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
Stocks Under $10

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

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

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
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.18 -0.47%
FB $117.76 -0.25%
GOOG $700.94 0.75%
TSLA $211.47 -5.00%
YHOO $36.95 2.60%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,660.58 +9.32 0.05%
S&P 500 2,049.58 -1.54 -0.08%
NASDAQ 4,718.8410 -6.7980 -0.14%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs