By Matt Burns
Apple’s secret quest for living room domination is off to a good start, that is if an analyst’s report is to believed. Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities surveyed Apple supplies and found that the latest generation Apple TV managed to maintain steady sales since its October 2010 launch. He claims that Apple sold just over 1 million units before Christmas and around 820k since the start of January. Of course these are all estimates, but Apple (AAPL) might confirm them in Wednesday’s earning conference call.
Apple famously called the Apple TV a hobby but it seems to be turning into a profitable hobby. If true, this cements the latest generation Apple TV as more than just a side project. It’s an important piece in Apple’s ecosytem.
It’s clear that Apple is looking to dictate how content is consumed on every level. The Apple TV is the key to getting content off a computing device and into the living room with Airplay as the most important part. The Apple TV could be nothing more than an Airplay device and still have a spot in Apple’s dugout. All the streaming stuff including Netflix (NFLX) and iTunes shopping are fun extras.
The success of the Apple TV might spur a true Apple TV, an Apple HDTV, if you will. Rumors have circulated about such a device for years, and while I still feel it would require Apple to sell the HDTV at a financial loss, such a product fits into the current ecosystem well. An Apple HDTV paired with seamless cloud storage and wireless controllers could in fact replace a desktop computer for many households. Many of the iPad apps would look fine on a 10-foot interface, but Apple would probably not have an issue finding developers to code spectacular apps for the new platform.
Pipe dream? Yeah, I still think so, but even if the analyst’s numbers are just a bit off, they still show a good number of people want Apple on their HDTVs and that alone is a win for Apple.