Forrester: Maybe Apple’s TV Isn’t a TV

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Rumors that Apple is planning to release its own television have been circulating for months, and now Forrester Research is saying that Apple’s best move into the television market may be to make a TV that isn’t a TV at all.

Forrester thinks Apple's TV may be a family hubForrester thinks Apple’s TV may be a family hub

Instead of making a traditional HD television, Forrester’s James McQuivey thinks Apple could give consumers a big touch screen that serves as a hub for family life. He said,

Apple should sell the world’s first non-TV TV. Instead of selling a replacement for the TV you just bought, Apple should convince millions of Apple fans that they need a new screen in their lives. Call it the iHub, a 32-inch screen with touch, gesture, voice, and iPad control that can be hung on the wall wherever the family congregates for planning, talking, or eating — in more and more US homes, that room is the dining room or eat-in kitchen.

He proposed a setup where family members can share calendars, view photos and videos, FaceTime chat, and more.

“This non-TV TV could take off, ultimately positioning Apple to replace your 60-inch set once it’s ready to retire,” Mr. McQuivey said.

He added, “If you think about it, my proposal takes advantage of everything Apple has going for it: Its base of super-engaged customers, its bevy of hungry developers, its ability to open our minds to the possibility of post-PC computing form factors, and its spectacular track record with generating elegant experiences that teach us to do things we didn’t know we needed.”

So far, Apple’s television offering has been AppleTV — a device the company calls a hobby. AppleTV streams content from the Internet and user’s computers or iOS devices, and physically is another set top box.

Apple isn’t saying whether or not it is working on a television, but that isn’t stopping analysts and consumers from hoping the company is. Assuming an Apple television is on the way, the company is no doubt planning on positioning it as something different from the current crop of TVs, and maybe a family hub might be part of that spin.

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This makes a lot more sense to me.

Lee Dronick

He proposed a setup where family members can share calendars, view photos and videos, FaceTime chat, and more.

Sounds like Facebook


Needs to have full Siri control without needing to touch anything.  Since the screen is plugged in constantly, it can listen constantly.  It knows and talks to all of our iPods/iPhones/iPads/Macs that the family owns.  Family sitting down eating dinner and daughter says that the drama club has set the date/time for their play.  “Siri?”  you say.  “Yes Ron?”  “Schedule June 15 at 6 PM for Allison’s school play.”  “I’ve scheduled it, Ron.”

Allison remembers a funny video that the kids at school were talking about.  “Siri?”  “Yes, Allison?”  (Voice recognition)  “Can you play the youtube video of the cat sliding across the ice?”  “Yes, I’ve found the video.”  Video plays.  We all laugh.  “Siri, add that youtube video to my favorites on my iPod touch.”  “Done Allison.”

“Siri, please play some classical music while we eat.”  Music plays.

“Siri, what’s the weather forecast for our trip to Florida next week?”  Shows the weather and also the confirmation for the upcoming flights.

“Siri, please open the Biography textbook from Allison’s iPad to Chapter 3 and point out the highlights on your screen to prepare her for her test tomorrow.”

“Ron, don’t forget you have to leave early tomorrow for your 7 AM meeting at work in Conference Room 1D on 2013 Budget Preparation.”

“Incoming Skype call from Grandma.  Would you like to take it now?”

“Allison, you just got a text from your cousin saying ‘call me later’.”

“Ron, you wanted me to tell you when the stock price on Apple reached $700.  It just hit that at 3 PM today.”

“Ron, your wife is almost home from her appointment.  She should arrive in 5 minutes.  You should heat her food up for her now.”

“Ron?  Do I detect smoke?  Should I call and order a pizza for you?”

“Ron, don’t forget to pay your Discover card bill with that huge cost for me on it.  I suggest you sell a couple shares of Apple stock to help pay for me.  I love you guys!!”

Wow, I really could get used to one of these on my wall!!


It does sound like Facebook.  The genius of it would be, Apple would be selling the hardware for Facebook.  Addressable market of 800 million users.


Lee Dronick: Sounds like Facebook

Hopefully, if Apple does this “proposed setup,” they will protect users’ privacy, unlike Facebook…or Google, who are more interested in selling their users’ profiles as a commodity.

Lee Dronick

Hopefully, if Apple does this ?proposed setup,? they will protect users? privacy, unlike Facebook?or Google, who are more interested in selling their users? profiles as a commodity.

Yes and they almost certainly will. Facebook makes money from people in their Matrix, Apple makes money from selling hardware, software, and content.


I agree with Jeff’s & RonMacGuy’s predictions here, and also with skipaq’s reply to my comment on Jeff Gamet’s May. 11th ET, 2012 article “Hon Hai Exec Says Apple Television Coming

“So, calling it a ?TV? was perhaps just SJ?s last magical marketing misdirection; a subterfuge to sneak into the marketplace a (relatively) unanticipated massively-disruptive new gadget-system which should really be thought of as more a next-generation iMac ... (and/or even a next-generation MacMini without any included monitor) ... with ultimately extensive (RadioShack ?X-10 Plug-?n-Power? style) home-automation & home-entertainment-center missions rather than merely some sort of modified/augmented TV?”

“If Apple does bring a TV to market it will be iOS and not OSX based. This means it won?t be an iMac with TV functions or any other Mac platform. Just my take on Apple?s direction.”

that this anticipated “Apple Television” will most likely be an iOS-based (instead of MacOS-based) big (>32 inches) touch screen with iPhone-like telephone & Siri functionalities, that serves as a iHub for family life.

But I think it needs to be much more than merely some sort of 32-inch iMac-like iPhone like what’s been suggested by Jeff & RonMacGuy above, order for such an iHub to become a truly massively-disruptive new home gadget-system.  Namely, it needs to manage the operation of home-automation peripheral devices (e.g. via something like SmartHome’s/RadioShack’s/Sears’ ?X-10 Plug-?n-Power? interfaces) with sensor-feedback inputs & and not merely manage the operation of home-entertainment-center operations via the AirPlay system.


I can’t believe how out of touch that concept is. A single screen shared by the entire family? Are you kidding me? Today’s families rarely see each other face to face and certainly don’t want to have to visit whatever room the iHub is in to get information. They want it automatically sent to their mobile devices so they get it in real time no matter where in the house or the world they are.

Why would anyone want this thing on the wall when they’ve already got it in their pocket?

The Apple Television set concept is marred by a similar problem. No two members of the family want to watch the same show at the same time in the same room. Many homes have 3 or more TV sets scattered around the place, each with its own viewing audience and time frame.

The era of the entire family gathering around a single TV to watch Ed Sullivan, The Wonderful World of Disney or The Muppet Show is gone, never to return.


I agree with others here, the concept of making a TV for the dining room (or any other) wall makes no sense. Reality: most of us have invested in large-screen TVs fairly recently and we tend to not replace TVs too often. They are reasonably reliable, commodity products.

What I think most of us detest is the endless array of devices we need to work with those TVs, and all the screwy controllers that come with them. An intelligent IOS device capable of replacing our PVRs _and_ many of the controllers for our other devices, would be very appealing. Let it be controlled by Siri or our iPad, iPhone, iPod. And let it learn to recognize and control other devices connected to the TV.

Supply access to TV channels on demand (.99 cents per episode of a series, or a discounted rate for subscribing to the entire series?). Significantly bulk up the options from the current Apple TV device. Pressure the mainstream TV channels to stream programs the same day they release. Leverage the Apple-Disney relationship to get Disney on board at the start, then start squeezing the ABC/NBC/CBS brass.

Let the device not only feed our 60” big screen, but any other wifi-enabled screen in the house.

Doing some variation on the tired TV screen-on-the-wall technology doesn’t make sense to me. Disrupting the archaic broadcast business makes endless sense.

My two cents.

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