Is It Too Late for an Apple TV?

Does Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) absence of public commitment to a high-definition television product mean it has already lost out to Samsung (SSNLF.PK) in the game? According to Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes, the Korean company’s presentations this week at the Consumer Electronics Show, which Apple does not attend, were highly impressive. Reitzes specifically highlighted the company’s Smart TV system, saying the innovations in the product line were something Apple should have already made its own.

Samsung’s booth at the show was one of the “most crowded and impressive — and the comparison with Apple was palpable in every corner,” Reitzes wrote in a research note, according to Forbes. “Samsung’s solution for a Smart TV is getting better. Frankly, Samsung’s demonstration at CES was very close to what we think Apple should have done already. Samsung not only makes the TV, but also software and a piece [of] hardware that can turn other Samsung TV’s into a Smart TV.”

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Apple would obviously follow suit, but it needed to do so in a hurry, he added.

Hardware was important, but Apple should not waste any more time trying to perfect that and instead focus on making content more easily available. “The TV is becoming more about an extension of mobile device utility than the TV,” he said “If Apple were to sell TV hub hardware, we believe its margins and pricing could be industry leading given its vertical integration with content — but hardware isn’t necessary.”

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The iPhone maker will need to fully utilize the strength of its platform and existing successful software products. “While it will now be harder to positively surprise by simply announcing a TV solution, we believe Apple’s use of iOS devices and Siri as interfaces linked with iOS and iTunes could give a differentiated feel that makes investors appreciate the installed base a little more,” Reitzes said.

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