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Apple May Redefine Showing Web Content with iTV

Apple is rumored to be working on iTV, the successor to Apple TV, which CEO Steve Jobs called a “hobby.” The $99 iTV would essentially be an iPhone 4 adapted for display on TVs using iOS. Apple TV currently sells for $229, and Apple’s profit margin has been pegged at very low. Apple’s new iTV is expected to display 720p high-definition video.

Having changed the product categories of computers, portable media players, smartphones and tablets, can Apple pull the rabbit out of the hat again for devices to show web-based content on TVs? According to several rumors floating around, the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker may be revving up for a new try.
The reports indicate the company’s current Apple TV product, which CEO Steve Jobs described as “a hobby,” will be renamed iTV, priced at $99, and essentially be an iPhone 4 adapted for display on TVs. The product, which was originally named the iTV several years ago before becoming Apple TV, is expected to out by the fall.

720p Video

According to an analysis in 2007 by the research firm iSuppli, the relatively high raw cost to Apple of manufacturing the Apple TV meant the profit margins were very low, and certainly not near the 40 to 50 percent margins it has received on other products. The current Apple TV sells for $229.

But by building on the economies of scale created by the iPhone, the device’s component costs could be dramatically reduced, and the product could move out of the company’s classification of “hobby.” Since its launch in 2007, the product has undergone few changes, most notably an interface and operating system upgrade in 2009.

The reports, attributed to unnamed sources, indicate that the new iTV will display 720p high-definition video. This is a step down from earlier rumors, which had indicated it would support the higher-resolution 1080i or 1080p video.

The step-down is apparently a result of a decision to use the A4 processor, although some observers have noted that the processor should be able to handle 1080p.

Apple ‘Will Keep Iterating’

The new box, which is expected to use the iPhone’s iOS instead of the current Mac OS X, will also reportedly run applications and have access to Apple’s App Store, although the degree to which the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch apps will play on the new product has not been described. It’s also expected to run a streaming version of iTunes and be able to stream movie and TV content.

This category is beginning to heat up with a comparable rising temperature with other product categories — just before Apple entered with its new product and completely redefined the categories. Among other developments, Google has unveiled its Google TV, which marries a computer with a TV, Netflix is actively offering its growing library of streaming films on an increasing number of TV-connected devices, and gaming consoles have become entertainment centers.

Michael Gartenberg, a partner and analyst with the Altimeter Group, said Apple “will keep iterating this product until they get it right,” because TV is “too important to ignore.”

He predicted that Apple will continue to offer a stand-alone device, rather than in collaboration with cable companies. “This is an add-on to a cable box,” Gartenberg pointed out, “not a replacement.”

Originally published by the Sci-Tech Today. Read the original story here