Report: Jobs didn't want Apple to make a TV set


"TV is a terrible business. They don't turn over and the margins suck," Steve Jobs remarked during a 2010 meeting of Apple's (AAPL +0.5%) top 100 employees, according to ex-Apple beat reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane's Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs (previous).

However, Jobs expressed an interest in controlling the living room. In 2011, Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson quoted the Apple co-founder as saying he'd like to "create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use."

While predictions of an Apple TV set launch have been consistently off, the Apple TV set-top has turned into a $1B/year business (after factoring content spend), and is expected to see a 2014 refresh that will add support for game controllers and pay-TV content. In addition, Apple recently snapped up gesture recognition sensor developer PrimeSense.

Whether for TV sets, set-tops, or both, Hollywood's unwillingness to agree to content deals that would seriously disrupt the pay-TV industry's status quo have affected the living room ambitions of Apple, Intel, Microsoft, and others.

Separately, Jony Ive has provided a fresh interview in which he reiterates Apple's product philosophy. "We’re surrounded by anonymous, poorly made objects ... what we’ve shown is that people do care. It’s not just about aesthetics. They care about things that are thoughtfully conceived and well made."

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Comments (28)
  • idkmybffjill
    , contributor
    Comments (1913) | Send Message
     
    NEST might've been a good purchase for Apple (especially considering Fadell was an Apple guy), perhaps at a cheaper price point than what Google paid.
    17 Mar 2014, 11:01 AM Reply Like
  • investingInvestor
    , contributor
    Comments (2555) | Send Message
     
    jill, why would Apple buy NEST? Let Google overpay for NEST like Google overpaid for Motorola.

     

    Buy an iPhone. Use your iPhone, iPod, iPad, or Mac to monitor and adjust your smart spaces and smart appliances. NEST has been mooted. Also, NEST reports to Google what you are doing.

     

    When most SA readers already have everything they need for a digital smart world, they too often embrace their past as their future.

     

    The IoTs is the killer app. SA readers need more smart cars (iPlay), kitchens, family rooms, houses, Bluetooth speakers, health monitors, iBeacon devices, etc. So many opportunities...so little time! The IoTs will be as central as the Web. Apple devices are the gateways.
    17 Mar 2014, 12:00 PM Reply Like
  • Energysystems
    , contributor
    Comments (2124) | Send Message
     
    Nest was a great buy by Google. As someone who works in the home renovation biz, trust me when I tell you, the Nest thermostats are selling like hotcakes in the DC corridor. I don't know who will "win" the home automation race, but I know we're in the earliest stages of the race.
    17 Mar 2014, 04:32 PM Reply Like
  • Bob Hu
    , contributor
    Comments (95) | Send Message
     
    @idkmybffjill, I am not so sure about that, maybe there are few better "NEST" inside of Apple lab.
    17 Mar 2014, 11:10 AM Reply Like
  • larry11
    , contributor
    Comments (102) | Send Message
     
    This news is over 2 years old. Why report this again?
    17 Mar 2014, 11:36 AM Reply Like
  • Eric Jhonsa
    , contributor
    Comments (1276) | Send Message
     
    It's not two years old, Kane's book was just released. Other news sources have also picked up on the quote. If you've got a link to an older article that mentioned Jobs' remarks, I'd be glad to see it.

     

    http://bit.ly/1fCX5BL
    17 Mar 2014, 11:48 AM Reply Like
  • ChiefEngineer
    , contributor
    Comments (135) | Send Message
     
    If jonny Ive so much as calls in sick with the flu, I'm shorting Apple.
    17 Mar 2014, 11:44 AM Reply Like
  • milehr
    , contributor
    Comments (692) | Send Message
     
    One cannot run a company from the grave.
    17 Mar 2014, 12:25 PM Reply Like
  • Bubbahotep 3
    , contributor
    Comments (11) | Send Message
     
    I just wish they'd say they're not going to build a TV so I can move forward and not be waiting to get a new one in case Apple makes it...
    17 Mar 2014, 12:49 PM Reply Like
  • Windsun33
    , contributor
    Comments (4436) | Send Message
     
    Why? What could Apple possibly do with a TV that would make it stand out above LG, Samsung, and a dozen other major TV sellers?
    17 Mar 2014, 03:27 PM Reply Like
  • jbonefish
    , contributor
    Comments (79) | Send Message
     
    indeed - I mean what could Apple do with a phone that ... oh wait :-o
    17 Mar 2014, 09:18 PM Reply Like
  • Windsun33
    , contributor
    Comments (4436) | Send Message
     
    Apple was ahead of the curve on the iPhone, I don't see any such leadership in the TV field. Pretty much everything that has been mentioned as possible features for an Apple TV is already readily available.
    18 Mar 2014, 02:09 PM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (5268) | Send Message
     
    Unlike large phones and small tablets, this is one thing I can agree with Jobs on. TVs are terrible business to be in..... probably the worst deflation I can think of in mainstream consumer electronics.
    17 Mar 2014, 12:52 PM Reply Like
  • jjkiam
    , contributor
    Comments (408) | Send Message
     
    Have to agree that getting into the commoditized TV set business is a terrible idea! However creating a high margin 4k screen along with a completely revamped Apple TV set top which simplifies media consumption in the living room that also ties into your other IOS devices might be a very strong move.
    As a 1b business already, now is the te for Apple to really step this business up! Even TC has admitted that it is no longer a "hobby"
    17 Mar 2014, 01:31 PM Reply Like
  • aow
    , contributor
    Comments (151) | Send Message
     
    But there's no point to get bogged down in low-margin TV production. Chromecast, Roku, and Apple TV devices can potentially provide pretty much all the benefits of such a TV without getting involved in a highly capital-intensive, low-margin, high risk effort to build TVs.
    17 Mar 2014, 01:35 PM Reply Like
  • Windsun33
    , contributor
    Comments (4436) | Send Message
     
    @jjkiam - I can pretty much buy that already, so why would I want to get an Apple specifically?
    17 Mar 2014, 03:28 PM Reply Like
  • evan.prospect
    , contributor
    Comments (704) | Send Message
     
    Couldn't Apple develop the design and software (maybe even some content too) and then license it to TV makers? Or contract with TV makers to make TVs for them in a specific / high margin way and then take sell the Apple TVs, load them up with their various platforms and software and then sell them themselves?
    17 Mar 2014, 04:40 PM Reply Like
  • Bob Sutton
    , contributor
    Comments (84) | Send Message
     
    Don't confuse the opportunity to disrupt the TV experience with entering the television market. Why compete over transient technological advantages like resolution, "thinness", or distribution models when the main opportunity is re-inventing the broadcast schedule, syndication rights, the fundamental user interface, or functionality in the set-top box. A "television operating system" that liberates the TV viewport from the cable industry, broadcast networks, and even our conceptual "living rooms" is where Apple can play to their strengths: products that are intuitively easy to use, that leverage existing home networking technology and that exploit proprietary Apple devices to extend the IOS platform. You're looking in the wrong place to think this is simply about 4K or conquering commodity markets.
    17 Mar 2014, 05:08 PM Reply Like
  • Energysystems
    , contributor
    Comments (2124) | Send Message
     
    A whole lot of big words do not supercede low margins. Cook couldn't dream of walking in Jobs shoes, the problem being, he actually is.
    17 Mar 2014, 05:11 PM Reply Like
  • Windsun33
    , contributor
    Comments (4436) | Send Message
     
    All of that is already here - I have most of it set up in my home already, and I have no Apple products. As far as syndication rights, Apple seems to be way behind on that. I have neither cable nor satellite TV anymore, and cannot recall when I actually watched a local TV station off the air. Everything I have is streaming and/or wireless.
    18 Mar 2014, 02:16 PM Reply Like
  • Transcripts&10-K's
    , contributor
    Comments (1219) | Send Message
     
    Using the figures from above, the iPod business in FY13 was more than 4X larger than Apple TV; that should give you an idea of how meaningless $1B is in the grand scheme of things at Apple. If Apple TV grew 25% a year for the next decade, it would be equal in size to just 5% of Apple's 2013 revenues.

     

    If the operating margins for the division were 50% in 2013, then Apple TV would've accounted for exactly 1% of Apple's operating income in 2013.

     

    Interesting numbers to consider.
    17 Mar 2014, 01:33 PM Reply Like
  • jammerculture
    , contributor
    Comments (402) | Send Message
     
    A "Tv" as we know it is just a screen. Why would Apple build a screen. They just need to control how we interact with the screen and let others build the low margin part for them to hook up to. There wil never be an Apple TV screen. Its stupid. There will be an Apple product that allows you to use your existing TV screens to access iTunes for music and movies, play Ios games and use IOs apps, using your existing iPhones and ipads as control medium. The holy grail of such a system would be the ability to shop from your couch, using an Apple payment system. Imagine being able to touch the screen if your iPad and buy the item on your tv screen. This is the most game changing way to use the living room.
    17 Mar 2014, 02:00 PM Reply Like
  • omnimoeish
    , contributor
    Comments (492) | Send Message
     
    Apple doesn't actually make anything, they just design stuff to be made and buy it from Foxconn or Samsung if it has to be high quality. It would basically be apple buying a samsung tv and putting an apple on it. Then it would be outdated in a couple of years when the processor and graphics chips and stuff become obsolete. It's far better to offer a $99 box that can be upgraded every few years.
    17 Mar 2014, 03:18 PM Reply Like
  • Brian Barbour
    , contributor
    Comments (1337) | Send Message
     
    you are quite mistaken...

     

    They contract these companies to assemble the parts, Samsung and Foxconn do not own the parts or finished product while assembling them, Apple does. Quite a bit different from buying Samsung products and putting their logo on them.
    17 Mar 2014, 07:07 PM Reply Like
  • platonicbomb
    , contributor
    Comments (1621) | Send Message
     
    Yawn...
    19 Mar 2014, 01:41 AM Reply Like
  • James Bjorkman
    , contributor
    Comments (2778) | Send Message
     
    Is this going to become like Isaac Asimov's "Foundation Trilogy"? Where the Wise Old Man from ages past who is the only one who has a clue keeps reappearing every few years in 3D to tell the befuddled populace of his company what to do?

     

    If so, I sure hope the Wise Old Man actually did think of everything - unlike Asimov's one.
    17 Mar 2014, 04:16 PM Reply Like
  • platonicbomb
    , contributor
    Comments (1621) | Send Message
     
    Jobs was manic. If he hated TV one day he probably rubber-stamped it the next. This report has zero predictive value.
    18 Mar 2014, 02:46 AM Reply Like
  • platonicbomb
    , contributor
    Comments (1621) | Send Message
     
    Jobs was manic. If he hated TV one day he probably rubber-stamped it the next. This report has zero predictive value.
    18 Mar 2014, 02:46 AM Reply Like
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