I can imagine Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster’s mother saying something like, “Keep at it, Gene. One day you’ll get something right.” Munster is the same analyst who predicted Apple will launch an Apple television this year. Every year for about the last 10 years. Here’s why everyone gets Apple television dead wrong.
Ignore History, Repeat History
Fortunately, that seems to be how BI works. So, as I read Munster’s latest musings in BI I spit a little coffee onto my Mac’s screen.
Munster thinks everyone else’s thinking about Apple and a television is wrong. Except his. Which is only wrong once a year. Others think Apple needs content deals. Munster says that’s backwards.
Why should Apple build a television? Munster’s surveys say 50-percent of people he asks (I’m sure his mom is on the list) want a TV from Apple. Do they say why? No. But many people like Apple’s products, so why not get from Apple another product that they use often?
You know, like a television.
Humans love to compare and contrast and Munster went off into history assuming a repeat of the iPod and iTunes industry could work with an Apple television. It’s those damned facts that get in the way of those who rewrite history.
iTunes music player came before iPod. iPod came before iTunes Music Store. The music industry was suffering at the hands of Napster-using thieves. All the planetoids and black holes lined up perfectly for Apple which then pwned the music industry with a better way to do music.
Here’s the problem. That was then and this is now.
The television industry today is not the music industry then. The industry has many players and none of them are hurting, and none of them are eager to let Apple dominate the industry the way it did with music. Apple made tens of billions on the iPod and iTunes Music Store, probably saved the music industry for a decade or so, but television is a different beast.
Unlike Apple’s former iPod business, current Mac, iPhone, and iPad business, those who manufacture televisions do not make any appreciable money. Apple may make more money from the Apple TV hobby than Samsung makes on televisions.
Apple may want to fix the television industry. We may want Apple to fix the television industry. My lips say it won’t happen. But my eyes, on the other hand, say, read my lips. If a company that has a half a billion very satisfied customers, and $150-billion dollars in the bank, and both substantial design and engineering chops and still cannot fix the television industry or remake it in Apple’s image, who can?
Apple won’t do a television because there’s no money in televisions. The money is in content, an area where Apple is merely another in a long line of content distributors. Apple won’t be a big player in televisions. We can get over it. Gene Munster cannot.