Chances are Apple could achieve spectacular success with a TV for the simple reason that the weak spot right now with Smart TVs is software, and it is software where Apple excels.After two weeks of testing most of the new Smart TVs that were launched at the CES 2012 show, the only conclusion that one can draw is that all of them are a work in progress.
While the display and the design are exceptional, the big weak spot is applications and under the bonnet software.
In the case of LG and Samsung, both of their Smart TV offerings are cluttered with applications, settings, instruction manuals and even for a seasoned reviewer we found it tough getting a lot of the applications to work as nothing was straight forward or easy to configure.
Issues like setting up voice activation, gesture control, let alone getting access to content in between software upgrades.
What is needed is a TV operating system that is common across all TVs.
Just imagine a TV that has an operating system similar to what you find on an iPad or iPhone, where access to applications is structured and the settings are easy to access and control.
Content is accessed by a common TV store as opposed to trying to access content via scattered icons.
What Apple did with the iPod and the iPhone, and then later the iPad, was deliver smart hardware wrapped around very easy to use software. The applications were structured and content was delivered via the Apple Store or Apple Apps. This is now needed for the TV.
Consumers who purchased an iPhone or iPad found their software interface easy to use; it gave them access to a world of content.
Access to music, movies and books can be found from one location inside the Apple App store as opposed to several different locations on an LG or Samsung TV.
Google has adopted the same application model to Apple with their Play Store. This leaves one to question whether there is room for a Google TV box, which simply plugs into an existing TV giving access to all of the applications and content that Google is able to secure, along with the same voice activation that is found on an Android smartphone.
I can guarantee you that if Apple does launch a TV – and I think they will – it will be sleek and built around the latest display technology. The big difference will be when you switch it on and a world of applications and content will be instantly available along with movies and music. Under the bonnet will be raw processing power that allows one to easily access social network and online services.
The interface will be logical and uncluttered for the simple reason that Apple is a software Company who wraps great design and functional hardware around their software. They understand human nature far more than Asian manufacturers.
The core DNA of Apple is not built around churning out boxes at manufacturing plants; they get that because their products are loved. It’s all about understanding consumers and then delivering the software that delivers a great technology experience.
I suspect that one day LG, Samsung and Panasonic will wake up to the fact that it is no longer about hardware but software and the experience it delivers.