Years have gone by and even Gene "no lines" Munster of Piper Jaffray seems to have given up reporting that an integrated Apple HDTV of some sort is just around the corner. When Gene gives up on the idea, it must be a dead product, right? Will the mythical Unicorn Apple HDTV ever arrive?
During the past year, attention has shifted away from an Apple TV and towards the idea of Apple launching a watch-like device, and more recently, chatter has surrounded the forthcoming iPhone. But Apple has become a master of "look at the shiny object in this hand while you ignore what we've got in the other." Just because focus has shifted away from a living room device going above and beyond the current Apple TV in no way means it isn't be developed, or waiting for an opening in Apple's schedule to launch.
Sources have constantly cited Apple running into content provider issues. Networks have refused to give Apple any leverage, which could destroy their highly lucrative cable bundles. Apple has slowly, if not consistently, added additional cable networks to the current Apple TV, but many channels require a cable provider key to actually watch the content. The Apple TV, a would-be cord cutting device, is slowly turning into a cable-only accessory.
Morphing Apple TV into a quality streaming gaming solution for iOS devices may be the direction the Apple is moving. 4K (or UHD) gaming would trump Xbox One's maximum 720p, and PS4's 1080p resolutions, while both systems are not due for major upgrades until at least 2017. Most major film productions have been shot in Cinema 4K since 2012, and Apple could provide streaming UHD movies instantly with the new Apple TV.
Apple's advantage in selling an integrated UHD Apple TV need not rely on networks and Comcast's strong arm to cave. Rather, Apple has a slew of solutions to sell tens of millions of UHD Apple TV's and stand-a-lone UHD capable Apple TV's, which would rapidly pressure networks to fall in line.
Launch products and developers will follow. Apple's mantra has worked for the iPod with music content, it has worked with iPhone and developers, and it will work with an Apple UHD TV with the networks. The only question continuing to haunt the industry is when, not if, Apple will make an assault on the living room.
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