Apple Television with OLED

By Richard Menta 5/25/12

Ever since it was revealed in 2011 that Steve Jobs told his biographer that he cracked the TV conundrum the pundits - both knowledgeable and less than so - have chimed in with their predictions as to what this television set will look like. More important, what will differentiate this set from that of all of the other manufacturers; makers who have dropped prices sharply in a market where most homes already have one or more flat screens.

MP3 Newswire offered just such a picture several times, starting with our September 2007 Handicap where we gave the odds of an Apple flat panel appearing at 100:1. In our May of 2009 article iPod Handicap: Betting Line we lowered those odds to 60:1 writing:

Apple Wireless OLED Flat Panel TV: Odds = 60:1 - OLED in large screen format is prohibitively expensive. It's still a superior technology for television and we bet Apple will join the crowded TV market when 32" models are more affordable. The unit will also take its inputs with and without wires, a TV that can collect signal inputs from the cable box, surround sound system, DVD player, Blu-Ray unit, DVR and Apple TV via wireless.The ability to banish the spaghetti tangle of cables found behind our contemporary entertainment systems is damn compelling. Talk about a brand new market for Apple peripherals, which of course will be proprietary.

Richard Menta

Three years later we still feel this is the way Apple is going to go.

The quality of the OLED flat panels is still sharply superior to standard LCD and Plasma sets. They are also still prohibitively expensive as LG's recently released OLED monster will attest to. The high price at present actually works in Apple's favor and we know why, because we have seen it before. It works in Apple's favor, because the Apple brand brings in the sales that allow the company to buy in huge bulk. Very few companies can purchase parts in the volume that Apple can, because the risk of success is so much greater for them. It endows a competitive advantage that Cupertino exercises not only to acquire compelling technology at the lowest price, but to literally swallow up all that can be produced initially. We have seen this time-and-time again where competitors are left out in the cold with a particular technology until the parts maker has time to fire up another factory or two.

The Apple brand also allows Apple to charge higher prices for their final products, prices most competitors simply cannot command. The tablet PC market perfectly illustrates this. All of this allows Apple to re-invent a mature, but not polished market (Microsoft was selling a tablet PC OS a decade before Apple introduced the iPad. Mobile phones were around for nearly 30 years when Apple ignited the smart phone market).

Apple can do the same for the TV/flat panel market. Exactly what Steve Jobs meant by cracking the TV conundrum is anyone's guess beyond certain technology. But Apple is not about technology, it is about the user experience. This is where it has excelled. Technology is just a means to improve that experience in a way that is compelling to the consumer.

This is why consumers flock to Apple products and this is the exact area where the pundits who try to make predictions (and this does not exclude us) are left scratching their heads. The reason is because until Apple releases their product the real spirit that drives this transformation is conceptual rather than tangible.

We predicted OLED years ago. So what? We know that won't be the full story.


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