I remember reporting on a story back in November of 2006, when then Palm CEO Ed Colligan was asked about the prospects of Apple entering the smartphone market.
Colligan remarked, “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”
This was roughly five weeks before Steve Jobs took the stage to introduce the iPhone. Even upon seeing the iPhone, just one month after the announcement, Colligan seemed dismissive.
“The iPhone could be interesting for people who like music and films with occasional phone use, but for businesspeople the touch-sensitive screen without a physical button keyboard will be a challenge.”
Apple’s done ok with the iPhone, much to the surprise of Colligan. Now there are rumors that Apple will get into the television business with the iTV. The product is nothing more than a rumor at this point, but one that gained steam when the biography of the late Steve Jobs mentioned that Apple had “cracked the code”. One would think the specter of Apple entering your business would be cause for concern, given the highly successful history of the company. Pocket-Link caught up with Chris Moseley, Samsung’s AV Product Manager, and he doesn’t seem overly concerned.
“TVs are ultimately about picture quality. Ultimately. How smart they are…great, but let’s face it that’s a secondary consideration. The ultimate is about picture quality and there is no way that anyone, new or old, can come along this year or next year and beat us on picture quality.”
This is classic thinking inside the box. Moseley is right, consumers have mostly focused on picture quality when purchasing a TV. When Jobs said Apple had cracked the code, I’m pretty certain he didn’t mean they had figured out how to manufacture an LCD display. Jobs must have had loftier aspirations then simply manufacturing a television with a good picture. If Apple does produce a television, you can bet it will have a great picture, but that will only be a footnote to the bigger story that’s most likely tied to software. Software that changes how we use TV, software that integrates our digital lives.
Samsung shouldn’t worry. They can always line up to supply LCD panels for the Apple iTV.