The 1 Industry Apple Needs to Disrupt Now

Under Steve Jobs, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) always managed to stay a step or two ahead of the competition. The iPhone was years ahead of what anyone else was doing, the iPad basically invented a category, and even the Apple TV was ahead of its time for a while. But it appears that smartphones and tablets have reached a level of sophistication that will be hard to top until holographic displays or something crazy like that is invented. Where Apple can really change the game is with TV -- and judging by the companies getting into the TV game, Apple better move quickly.

The battle for your living room
Does anyone really think that we'll be watching the same cable television of today 20 years from now? Streaming content has grown like a weed. Netflix and Hulu have grown, and as broadband speeds increase, more content will be available on demand. That creates an opportunity for the companies who can get the future of TV right.

Apple TV was ahead of its time when it was released in 2007, but it hasn't taken the leaps forward that most users and observers had hoped. This is the biggest opportunity for Apple as competition for smartphones and tablets gets stronger. The company is losing market share in both categories, and history shows that for Apple to stay ahead, it needs to innovate a new product or category.

Lots of players in the TV biz
The challenge now is that Apple isn't the only one engaged in a battle for your living room. Google recently released Chromecast and is still trying to grow Google TV. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) is releasing Xbox One later this year, which will integrate with Skype, cable TV, and movies, and the Smartglass will act much like Apple's Airplay. Intel is also reportedly interested in television, and reports earlier this year suggested that it was willing to pay a premium for content. Of these three, Microsoft seems to have the most to offer when compared to Apple. It will be able to connect with Windows-powered smartphones and tablets. The Xbox 360 has sold over 77 million units, so it's clear the One's predecessor was an incredibly successful product with a solid base. The question with Microsoft will be around getting content on the device.

On the content side, Sony may have made the strongest move yet in revolutionizing TV after reportedly reaching a deal last week with Viacom to stream cable stations. At this point, it's unknown whether the Playstation 4 or another device would drive Sony's move into streaming content, but this is another player to watch, especially when you consider that Playstation 3 sold 77 million devices as well.

The first-mover advantage Apple used to gain share in smartphones and tablets won't likely be available in TV, even if Apple introduces an updated Apple TV or iTV now. But the ecostystem of music, movies, and Apps the company has built still gives it a leg up on the competition, at least in theory.

Is Apple too late?
The television industry has been in need of innovation for years, and one of the major technology players is going to make the next killer device to advance streaming. Apple could be the one to upend the industry if it doesn't wait too long, something investors should already be worried about. The company has the technology and the industry connections to make a splash in TV, and I think this provides the biggest upside for a company losing share in smartphones and tablets right now.

At this point, there are only a handful of companies that can compete in new markets like television, tablets, and smartphones. The company that wins has a lot to gain, and that's why our analysts have been on a quest to find out which tech giant is set to dominate the next decade. They've come back with five great companies but just one big winner, all revealed in a free report called "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" Inside, you'll find out which companies are set to dominate and give in-the-know investors an edge. To grab a copy of this report, simply click here -- it's free!

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  • Report this Comment On August 20, 2013, at 7:37 PM, GaryDMN wrote:

    Home entertainment systems have advanced slowly and the human interfaces are rudimentary at best. This was the same state of the smart phone technology when Apple released the iPhone. Apple has been acquiring the pieces for years. They have been experimented with streaming and two AppleTV models, but they have a limited live content offering, plus interaction with iOS and Windows and OSX is limited. I think Apple will be going after the smarthome and smartcar market. The smarthome eventually extends beyond entertainment systems/TV and even integrates with the smartcar.

  • Report this Comment On August 21, 2013, at 4:23 AM, hawkhell wrote:

    Apple will be suing someone soon.

  • Report this Comment On August 22, 2013, at 3:23 AM, enginear wrote:

    Apple did have first mover status in computers with the Apple I, and to some extent with the MAC and its first ever graphic user interface (for the mass market), then with the ipod, then the 'smart'phone.

    They haven't shown the ability to go toe to toe with a bunch of heavyweights (the list above is not complete), but perhaps they will be able to... Steve Jobs seems to have been good at opening markets to new ideas that nobody had really tried and outrunning everyone that caught on, maybe Tim Cook can brawl in the mosh pit of heavy competition. They've got the money, but I'm not sure I'd take that bet.

    Its true too, as GaryDMN said, that the smarthome, which the television market leads into might be a lot more than just TV and music (security, communication, information access, building/appliance automation...???)

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