What is Apple’s New Digital Product?


Lots of buzz in Macland today as Apple gets upgraded by UBS, and tacks on $3 beans. The analyst there predicted the company could "multiply" revenue with new products:

"Next Tuesday we believe Apple will unveil a major move into the digital home with the potential to multiply its revenue streams. In addition to potential new nanos and movie and video services, we are excited about potential products through 2007."
-UBS analyst Benjamin A. Reitzes

The obvious bets have been an ipod enabled cell phone, and what I suspect is a gimmie: the already well discussed larger screened iPod combo with  iTunes Movie Store download.

Let’s fantasize a bit about what might be more intriguing options: Looking at their iMac line up, the 24 inch model with Front Row software got me thinking: Sure, that’s fine for a dorm room, but what about the rest of the TV consuming country? They want bigger and bigger screens.

Here’s what I want: make me a 40" version of an iMac. Bring this in so it only costs marginally more than other flat screens — figure $3500. (Eventually, roll out  a 50 or even a 60 inch  version for $4500  – $6000 clams).

Build in all of the Front Row software controls into a full function remote control — TV, DVD, music, etc.  Then (just for laughs), build in a DVR or TiVo for that matter.

Apple would have a break out hit, and take total control of the digital living room like no one else has been able to.



sigh . . .  we’ll just have to be happy with a 4 inch screen ipod and downloadable movies (like anyone I wants to wait 2 hours to download a $9.99 movie? ).

UPDATE September 7, 2006 5:33pm

Last month, we discussed Amazon’s new video download service: Unbox.

As KirkH points out in comments below, it is now live . . .

Amazon Unbox


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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Royce commented on Sep 7

    “Apple would have a break out hit, and take total control of the digital living room like no one else has been able to.”

    Sounds cool, but that’s not a mass market product. Most of the population can’t afford a $3,500 home computer that will soon be obsolete. That sounds like a pure luxury product to me. Something for hedge fund managers who can burn through money on the latest home theater equipment, fast cars, and underwear models.

  2. Joe commented on Sep 7

    For something brand new like what Mr. Ritholtz is suggesting, I really feel like initial price points – while possible intially hurting top-line growth – should really be ignored for now because WE HAVE TO MAKE THIS JUMP, people. The technology is there in our PCs, but we refuse to integrate it into our living rooms because companies like Microsoft continue to make errors in judgment during the design process. The prices will come down once we get this engine rolling, but if everyone’s scared that it’ll cost too much, we’ll never get there. Those plasmas weren’t too cheap when they first came out.

    I definitely subscribe to the concept that people don’t really know what they want, but they’ll know it when they see it. And Apple’s just the kind of innovator that needs to show it to them…….and now, please……….

  3. a commented on Sep 7

    Make what jump? Incorporating a PC into a TV. Why would I want to incorporate two things with vastly different depreciation rates? That is just stupid.

    What exactly are Microsoft’s design errors?

  4. James Bednar commented on Sep 7


    It’s just too easy to hook up a Mac Mini to your High Def via DVI.

    We’re already there. Who needs the integrated unit? Computer tech moves much more quickly than display tech. That built-in PC will be outdated long before the display has outlived it’s usefulness.


  5. KirkH commented on Sep 7

    Problem. It’s illegal for me to backup my DVDs to my hard drive (so much for fair use) because I have to crack encryption to do it. MS and Apple can not build that IMO important functionality into it’s media players. Don’t even get me started about the monitor connection requirements. They could solve this by allowing plugins ala Firefox but so far I haven’t heard of that as an option. So we hackers continue to use open source tools like MyHTPC for DVDs and Megasquirt for engine management systems and Firefox and Linux and…

    I’ve been using Windows Vista RC1 and the media player is pretty slick, you can plug in a memory stick with MP3 (plus other files) on it an it’ll automatically start playing them. But… the media lobby just has too much power, I’m surprised they haven’t tied to tie Osama to music piracy yet.

    By the way, CNBC deeply disturbed me today. They continue to quote Lereah despite his Wildthing pitching-esque forecasts for the last year. Then, predictably, Kudlow starts the program with video of OBL. I don’t think you’ll be invited back, your forecasts are a little too accurate for CNBC these days.

    Breaking News:
    Amazon now has “UnBoxed” here’s the first word from the blogosphere:

    “Well, actually, not just Amazon thinks you’re a sucker. So do all the major TV networks and the MPAA as well. See, they’re all convinced that worthless services like the new Amazon.com Unbox Video are going to get you to pay just as much for a digital file that takes a long time to download, won’t play on your TV, and you can’t burn to a DVD as you would pay for the DVD of that same material!”

  6. Robert Coté commented on Sep 7

    Apple iScreen. I have no idea what it wil be called and if I did I’d be prosecuted. Home digital appliance control. It will innovate, it will be expensive, it will be retroactively claimed by microfollower to be imminent.

    The world belongs to the person who builds the cheapest bare box that holds data and talks to all. Apple will build it first and lose the high ground.

  7. BDG123 commented on Sep 7

    If Dell and HP can flirt with home consumer electronics successfully, Apple surely could. The margins are thin so proprietary content of added value would be key IMO. I could think of quite a few capabilities which are unique and don’t have alot of competition today yet I’m not sure the digital revolution has progressed far enough to achieve mass acceptance. Apple needs to do something because the future is not YouTube and MP3s. Frankly, I don’t think the future is iTunes without some serious rejiggering of their business model. We’ll just have to see.

    That said, love the company, hate the stock. It’s still going to $38. And this Jobs/Options situation has a potential to be messy. Especially since Congress has finally gotten off their ass and decided it is a problem. They now see merit in jumping on that ship and that makes the potential outcome all that much worse.

  8. anon commented on Sep 7

    Apple is great but who cares about some analyst upgrading them? lol

  9. noname commented on Sep 7

    B- are you short AAPL?

  10. paul commented on Sep 7

    i just moved the sofa in front the computer.

  11. KirkH commented on Sep 7

    Not to be a jerk TechAddress but your link doesn’t work. Here’s the LINK he links to (good read) at TechCrunch

  12. KirkH commented on Sep 7

    Downloading a movie. It already crahsed on me when I chose the Check for new device option. Looks a bit sloppy IMO.

  13. blue herring commented on Sep 7

    i think 3,500 is a bit high… why would apple need to sell anyone a screen? everyone already has a screen in their living room, in fact a whole bunch of people have recently purchased big widescreens… why would they chuck that for apple’s offering? or rather, why would apple offer to sell a screen for very little margin when so many people already have a satisfactory television?

    seems more logical that apple sells a box that UTILIZES the screen in eveyone’s living room.


  14. DBLWYO commented on Sep 8

    BtW – a friend of mine got a 42″ Plasma MONITOR and hacked it to turn it into a 42″ plasma TV for , $1K instead of $3K; it helps that he’s an engineer. To test the waters you could assemble something like Barry’s talking about plus networking and several other features, including a Terrabyte of HD and DVR/DVD-burner functionalities for $7500-10K (since we’re doing pilot marketing at the high end against the hedgies and PEGs). BUT….

    once we get it de-bugged and in the mass production cost cycle Samsung could take it down to $2500 pretty quick as a modular package. And 3 yrs after that we could have a Chinese clone for $1500. HOWEVER….

    ….to make all this work needs 100 Meg/Sec downside bandwidth and about 1/3-1/2 that upside which is just barely doable with current cable installs and platform and plant. Can you spell major capital program.

    On the other hand that means SBC’s (excuse me) ATT’s current twisted-pair capital plans are already obsolete while Seidenburg’s multi-$B fibre to home premise could leave them owning the market.

    In case there are any industry l.t. investors out there there’s several fun plays on the several dogfights coming. :). Like watching a Greek drama being played out, blood and be-headings included.

  15. Kris commented on Sep 8

    I don’t think a mass share of the market is ready for an integrated MacTV but they are getting there. The right products from Apple (or someone else) could certainly accelerate the move and give them some real market share.

    I’m surprised how poorly done, expensive and obscure the efforts have been so far but if Apple does it one would have to take a close look to see if it could turn the tide.

    There is a big UI gap in the market that Apple could easily fill.

  16. Craig commented on Sep 8

    I agree with the optical route.
    For people like Barry that drool when someone mentions audio equipment, uuber compressed digital junk files will sound like crap. Fine for Ipods with little headphones and low expectations, VERY bad for high fidelity audio. Bandwidth is needed for *quality* audio and video.

  17. Joe commented on Sep 8

    You gotta think like Apple does though.

    Build customer loyalty, and then move with their generation.

    Once you get enough college kids loving these nice 20+inch iMacs for their dorms and bedrooms, wait until the technology makes sense for a 30, 40 or 50inch screen, and then sell it to them. By that time, they will hopefully have enough income to afford one (at Apple’s price, which will be pretty darn high).

    Great blog.

  18. Bobo Moreno commented on Sep 10

    Steve has said many times that it just is no good watching films on a small screen, so the big news won’t be the iPods, what will really bring Apple into the living room is a streaming device similar to Airport Express that will allow you to watch the digital content from your computer on any TV wirelessly…!! Fingers crossed.

  19. Ryan commented on Sep 10

    Have you even sit in front of the 30″ ACD…that can be overwhelming! Why would you want to SIT IN FRONT OF a 60″ iMac?!? Get a TV w/ Mac mini…

  20. dave commented on Sep 10

    I don’t think they will be building this TV, at least not yet, or at least not by itself. It makes absolutely no sense to create this new technology and lock it into a $3000 monitor- they need something like iPod which masses of people will crave to adopt- and they need to make it affordable enough for that critical mass to happen.

    So, my guess would be they will build all the tech into a cool-looking box, which can be hooked up to most existing TVs, and work seamlessly like iPod/iTunes. There is NO WAY ON EARTH Apple will require everyone to buy a new TV in order to adopt their new tech. That’s simply crazy. It is certainly possible that they will sell a Mac TV (incorporating all the tech) in addition to the standalone box, but not by itself.

  21. sman commented on Sep 10

    i don’t know who started the large integrated tv/computer piece of this discussion but it’s just silly. Apple has no interest in that, and shouldn’t. Joe is right, in the near term this is all about a streaming media device to take the content on your existing mac or mac mini and show it on a nice sharp aquos lcd with 1080p (for example). Apple doesn’t want to get into the large lcd tv market.

  22. sMACkdown commented on Sep 10

    Interesting idea, even better when I first heard it about a year ago. : )

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