Apple, it seems, might be betting big on the TV industry and it might leverage its Retina Display to set new standards for TV sets.
The company recently revealed that it will spend $4 billion over the next two years on “inventory component prepayments and capital expenditures.” While market research firm iSuppli says the company is just making sure there is a supply of LCD panels for its iPads and iPhones, Apple’s interests are probably more inclined toward television production than they seem to be.
Apple’s Retina Display, in-plane switching and low temperature poly silicon technologies are at the forefront of the display business, and while they are great for iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch devices, there’s no reason why Apple’s commitment to imaging wouldn’t boost its TV business, and for that matter, there’s no reason why anyone producing state-of-the-art displays shouldn’t consider the TV business very seriously. Also see: iPad 2 to have best screen resolution
According to Fortune magazine, Apple isn’t just buying enough displays ahead of time; it is also helping to build factories that develop them.
More than one million Apple TV units had been sold by the end of 2010, and Apple said one of the chief reasons for the rise in sales was due to AirPlay, a wireless streaming technology to transfer data between Apple products – such as from an iPhone to an Apple TV. AirPlay was an update in version 4.2 of Apple’s iOS operating system.
Apple will bring superior software to the world of television, and will compete with Google TV, presumably running a version of Android – or similar software that is compatible with Android.
With all possible types of media devices to offer, a manufacturer also sells media and software subscriptions often using this content to “lock users in” their ecosystem.
Apple has been criticized by the consumer ombudsman in Norway because its iTunes music service sells only encrypted songs ostensibly for digital rights (copyright) management. These songs don’t play on a non-Apple device and effectively deter a consumer from replacing his Apple device with one from another manufacturer for fear of losing the content he’s bought.
It is said that in anticipation of growing Apple TV sales, iTunes these days rents and purchases more than 400,000 TV episodes and 150,000 movies every day. Related: iTunes 10.1.2 upgrade
Apple’s competitor Google, meanwhile, was expected to unveil Google TV at CES 2011 last month, but changed the plan saying it wanted to update the Google TV software and include a Netflix app in it. Sony already sells Google TVs; Samsung, LG and Sharp too have Google television sets which they haven’t yet launched; and Toshiba is waiting for “the right time” to launch its Google TV.