Here’s why Apple’s interest in next-gen TV technologies does not mean they’re making a TV

According to Quartz, rumors about Apple’s interest in gesture control and their apparent ad-skipping technology mean that Apple is gearing up to make an actual TV.

And the reason they think 1+1 = 3? Because, according to Quartz, gesture control in a separate box, like the current Apple TV net-top, would be clunky.

If that’s the entire reasoning, it’s pretty bad math in my opinion.

While I wouldn’t rule out a TV at some point from Apple, I’ve made it known that I’m skeptical about the idea, and certainly don’t think Apple embracing more advanced TV technologies further the argument for Apple releasing an actual TV.

In fact, if anything, the advancement of the last few years have made it clear that things like motion-sensing, voice-recognition, cloud-DVR, app platforms, etc don’t need to built into the TV itself. In fact, much of the core technology for features like motion-sensing likely will stay outside of the TV itself, even as TV manufacturers add these advanced TV technologies to the overall offering.

Take motion sensing. The Kinect, which is the most advanced implementation of motion-sensing technology from a company like Primesense, actually uses an external motion capture  sensor. Could it be built into the Xbox (or Xbox One)? Maybe, but chances are it wouldn’t work and certainly would force behavior changes on the user (such as keeping their cabinets open during gameplay) that are non-starters.

But, you say, building motion sensor technology directly into the TV would mean that it would be placed in the right position and not enclosed in a cabinet. Not really. By building it directly into the TV itself, it limits how the motion sensor can be positioned (changes in position might be required due to the room dynamics or the actually subjects the sensor is supposed to capture), and building in may limit what types of cabinets/enclosures the consumer can use for their TVs.

And it’s not just motion sensing where building in isn’t required. With voice, some like Samsung have tried to build it into the TV itself, but reviews have been poor and overall it seems like voice control will be built into the remote itself.  New swipe-based control interfaces like that in the new Fan TV remote show that building it directly into the TV isn’t required.

So while many are looking for smoke to prove there’s fire to the Apple-is-making-a-real-TV rumors, I don’t think investing in advanced TV technologies like new motion sensing interfaces is it.

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Michael Wolf

Chief Analyst NextMarket Insights

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