Billionaire investor and Apple shareholder, Carl Icahn, said he expects the firm to make a “more dramatic push” into the TV market next year.
In an open letter, addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Icahn said he believes TV’s role in the living room is a “strategically compelling bolt-on to the Apple ecosystem” and predicted the launch of a much-rumoured Apple branded TV set.
“In addition to an Ultra High Definition television set, we expect Apple to launch a related suite of tiered products and services, including a ‘skinny bundle’ of pay TV channels (partnered with various media companies) and an updated Apple TV microconsole (which will continue to service the massive install base of televisions offered by other OEMs),” said Icahn in the letter, which was co-signed by son Brett Icahn and business partner David Schechter.
“This will enable Apple to pursue the entire market by offering multiple products at various price points across the demographic spectrum. Netflix offers a similar tiered approach to pricing today by charging a higher price for those seeking the ability to receive ultra high definition content.”
Icahn said that a larger move into TV would benefit Apple’s other devices and services – suggesting that the recently launched Apple watch could be use as a remote control.
“Similarly, as we expect Apple to launch a larger 12.9” iPad, it would offer an enhanced viewing experience for an Apple pay TV service, or act an improved “second screen” to an Apple UltraHD television,” said Icahn.
Outlining the opportunities in the TV space, he claimed that people spent an average 25% of their free time watching TV and that excluding advertising, the addressable market for TV is roughly US$575 billion – “which is larger than the smartphone market.”
According to previous reports, Apple is planning to launch a revamped version of its Apple TV set-top box in June, along with a new version of its App Store and a software development kit optimised for the device.
It is also reported to be planning to launch an online TV service this autumn in partnership with broadcasters including ABC, CBS and Fox.
However, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Apple’s long-rumoured TV set plans were “quietly shelved” more than a year ago after almost a decade of research. Crediting people familiar with the matter, the WSJ reported that Apple did not consider features that it was looking at “compelling enough to enter the highly competitive television market.”
Carl Icahn is currently ranked 31 on the Forbes rich list, with an estimated worth of US$22.4 billion.