Apple is rumoured to be ready for a serious assault on the audiovisual category, preparing an Apple-branded TV that runs a variation on the iOS operating system. An industry source (who wished to remain anonymous) revealed that major third-party manufacturers had consulted Apple about developing a TV, and considered the move into home entertainment the next big strategic direction for the company.
Last week, company COO and acting head of Apple Tim Cook referred to a US$.3.9 billion supply side investment to secure component supplies, which most commentators have taken to be a large cache of high-resolution screens for the iPhone and iPad. It’s not, however, unthinkable that the company is laying the groundwork for an entirely new category of device.
Another strong indication that Apple may very well be considering taking on industry giants like Sony, Panasonic and Samsung is the pending release of its streaming audio initiative, AirPlay. A number of third-party hi-fi manufacturers including Bowers & Wilkins and Denon are preparing receivers that can be controlled wirelessly by Apple devices, a technology that could easily be applied to home theatre.
While at this stage the rumour is strictly industry chatter, releasing a smart TV product would be consistent with Apple’s approach over recent years. Besides developing devices whose function centres more squarely on entertainment, its also bolstered its content delivery services through iTunes and the App Store to reap significant revenue from media. An Apple-branded iOS TV with iTunes integration, with easy access to downloadable movies, television and music, and a system that wirelessly connected with third-party amplifiers and receivers, all controlled via an iPhone or iPad, could conceivably be the next big thing in the lounge.