Think Apple regards the TV business as a hobby? Think again. Amazon.com in America is selling the 2nd-generation Apple TV set-top box for almost triple the regular asking price. Why? Because of a little thing called “jailbreak.”The second-generation puck-sized box launched in 2010 is the only Apple TV that has enough raw processing power to make a jailbreak – a hack that circumvents certain restrictions – truly relevant.
The Apple TV 2 supports a range of new features thanks to add-ons like the aTV Flash from fireCore, and it opens access to tons of TV content, much of it being free. But to enjoy all these benefits, a person must 1) actually own a second-generation Apple TV and 2) jailbreak it.
Want to buy one from Apple? Good luck with that. The company is only carrying the 3rd-gen version (for $99 / €99). And you can’t jailbreak that one (for now).
Amazon knows this, so they’re charging premium for whatever ATV2 stock they have left. Here’s one listing that slaps a whopping $259.99 price tag on the elusive hardware.
You don’t have to be a market research guru to realize that ATV2 screams “demand.”
And wherever there’s demand, there is Apple, ready to take the lion’s share. They’ve been at it for years, which means they also know exactly where that next bet should be.
Why do you think they’re keeping such a tight grip on the set-top box model with all this HDTV talk floating around?
They didn’t launch the iPad mini to shut everyone up. They did it because it finally became relevant to do so.
In other words, Apple is yet to be convinced that a 50-inch screen bearing its fruity logo is feasible.
Business Insider cites a research note from analyst Gene Munster – a longtime supporter of the iTV theory – who spoke with his sources in the Asian supply chain about Apple’s progress on the TV front.
“Those sources said that Apple had requested a specific type of screen for a TV, an indium gallium zinc oxide or IGZO screen. Manufacturers were having trouble making that screen for a big-screen TV,” the business publication reports, based on Munster’s research.
However, there is a massive amount of evidence that people are not as interested in the big screen product as they are in the content that’s being routed through it. The aforementioned price tag makes it crystal clear.
Apple could be prototyping some screens – it’s always good to do both the software and the hardware – but that doesn’t necessarily mean a big-screen Apple-branded TV is coming out too soon.
Munster’s theory (which many other analysts have embraced) could materialize, but there’s a good chance the current TV business model has reached a tipping point.
It may be exactly what Apple needs to exercise some greatly-missed innovation under Tim Cook’s lead.