Reports have suggested for more than a year that Apple is working on a smart TV product, and those reports were firmed up last week when an excerpt from Steve Jobs’s biography revealed that the Apple co-Founder was indeed working on an Apple television. “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,” Jobs said according to biographer Walter Isaacson. “It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.” In a note to investors on Monday, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White said that the upcoming introduction of a smart TV represents a $100 billion revenue opportunity for the Cupertino, California-based consumer electronics giant. Read on for more.
White says Ticonderoga was the first Wall Street firm to uncover concrete evidence that Apple was working on a television of some kind, revealing in June that the product was already in early production stages. White says such a product will be a much more substantial opportunity for Apple than its current Apple TV set-top box. “We believe the TV experience is in need of greater simplicity and innovation, providing Apple with opportunity to yet reinvent another product category and develop even closer ties with its customers,” the analyst wrote.
“For Apple, we believe the Smart TV market represents a significant new revenue opportunity for the company, while bringing Apple into a consumer’s living room and providing the digital hub in a home,” White said, noting that DisplaySearch estimates the LCD TV market will generate $100 billion in revenue in 2011 and $102 billion next year. “We believe a product could hit the market in the coming quarters, opening up a new growth category for Apple and driving sales of existing products that play into the Apple digital ecosystem.”
White believes Apple’s smart TV will tie in closely with Apple’s digital ecosystem. He also believes Apple will charge between two and three times the cost of competing LCD TVs for its television product, which will feature “unmatched aesthetics” and an unrivaled user experience. “In our view, features such as Siri, FaceTime, the App Store, iTunes and gaming are a natural fit for a full blown Apple TV, combined with potential new features and technologies in the future,” White wrote, adding that deep integration with iTunes and iCloud is also a given.
Finally, White notes that Apple’s smart TV will be a great opportunity for the company to further expand its position in the video game market. He thinks Apple could make some key acquisitions and become a major player in home-based gaming, noting that Apple’s Game Center already has 67 million registered users.