Why Apple isn’t releasing a TV

This was originally posted on Engadget but it was deemed  to be more appropriate here as it is more in line with my personal voice than with Engadget’s.

The internet was ablaze upon the release of the Steve Jobs’ biography about a particularly interesting quote that seemed to reveal that Apple would release a TV. This is just as exciting a proposition as it was over four years ago to smartphone users who dreamed that Apple would fix the mobile phone. But the fact is that Apple, and many others, have been trying to “fix” TV for years, and to date we are still stuck with hundreds of channels that have nothing on, a dozen remotes and a textbook example of how not to make a user interface. It seems, though, that people are ignoring another Jobs quote, from just over a year ago at All Things D, that seems to explain very plainly why Apple has yet to release anything more than a hobby.

When asked about Apple and the TV market, Jobs’ reply showed how well-versed he was in the TV industry, but the choice quote was “it’s not a problem with technology, it’s not a problem with vision, it’s a fundamental go-to-market problem.” Jobs also explains that Apple made an iPhone and the iPad instead of a TV because there wasn’t a choice, “there was no way to get it to market.” So as much as we’d like to shed the chains that are channels and grid guides, as long as the monopolies that own the wires that run into our homes control the bits that travel over them, there just isn’t a way to change TV.

2 Responses to “Why Apple isn’t releasing a TV”

  1. Robert says:

    They wouldn’t let you post an Editorial like that?
    Are there a majority of Engadget Editors who honestly believe that Apple can break the regulated Cable Monopolies?

    There are 4 national cellphone service providers in the US. Pick off a hungry one and you have access 200 million plug potential buyers/subscribers. The biggest consumer hurdle is to wait until your contract is up to jump ship.

    Fight to get on a small cable carrier and you are TiVo on RCN. Nice but they’re never going to be in my area so who cares. Never.
    Unless you integrate with DirectTV or Dish giving you instant National exposure, it is a lost cause.

    • Ben Drawbaugh says:

      I missed the window, I could’ve posted it when the biography quotes were first revealed, but weeks later doesn’t work.

      I could see Dish or DirecTV working with Apple on something like this, but I’m not sure Apple would do it.