Rumors surrounding the launch of an own-brand HDTV from Apple (AAPL) heated up earlier this year, and a number of reports suggested the device might launch as soon as the fourth quarter. A more recent report from Piper Jaffray even suggested the device is already in production. According to Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves, however, comments that came directly from Apple executive Eddie Cue suggest that the company has no plans to rock the TV business any time soon.
Hargreaves’s note, as picked up by Fortune, follows below:
An Apple Television Appears Extremely Unlikely in the Near-term
Relative to the television market, Eddy Cue, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services, reiterated the company’s mantra that it will enter markets where it feels it can create great customer experiences and address key problems. The key problems in the television market are the poor quality of the user interface and the forced bundling of pay TV content, in our view. While Apple could almost certainly create a better user interface, Mr. Cue’s commentary suggested that this would be an incomplete solution from Apple’s perspective unless it could deliver content in a way that is different from the current multichannel pay TV model.
Unfortunately for Apple and for consumers, acquiring rights for traditional broadcast and cable network content outside of the current bundled model is virtually impossible because the content is owned by a relatively small group of companies that have little interest in alternative models for their most valuable content. The differences in regional broadcast content and the lack of scale internationally also create significant hurdles that do not seem possible to cross at this point.
The report may be bad news for everyone involved, including major players in the TV industry itself — Barclays sees TV ad revenues potentially slipping as viewers move off the big screen and onto portable devices, and the firm thinks Apple might be the only company that can save TV.
Updated to clarify analyst’s views in headline.