An apparent Best Buy customer survey mentions a possible Apple 42-inch HDTV for $1,499. That's up three times as much as current 42-inch models; could it be worth the price?
Before we go any further, let's disclaim the idea that there's proof such a product actually exists or is even in the pipeline. In fact, it seems fairly likely Apple had nothing to do with the list of hypothetical specs cited by Best Buy, which includes outdated branding like "iSight" for the system's camera (Apple has long since taken to referring to cameras like those in the iPad as "Facetime cameras").
Further, the survey goes on to say the camera can be used for Skype, a statement Cupertino isn't likely to have signed off on given that the platform is owned by Microsoft and competes with its own FaceTime.
So, assuming the survey was drafted by some kind of middle-management cog at Best Buy who has an inkling of what Apple could be working on but clearly didn't coordinate with the mother orchard on this survey project, there are still some interesting discussion points, particularly the price.
The survey describes a product that's essentially a 1080p HDTV with iOS built in, including app and iCloud support; a camera and microphone for some kind of user interaction; and integration with other iOS devices, including using an iPad or iPhone as a remote. In other words, Best Buy wants to know if you'd be willing to finally let Apple conquer your living room, an intent that's been rumored for years and more or less confirmed in Steve Jobs' biography.
If the last decade is any indication, there are potentially millions of people who would enthusiastically answer, "Yes, please God, yes!!!" and start camping out in big-box and Apple store parking lots right after dinner this evening. But how big would those crowds be tomorrow morning with the $1,499 price point?
It's easy to look at such a figure and call it overpriced, but we've not yet seen the marketing miracles Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller and crew are sure to perform at an upcoming media event for such a product. After all, Best Buy failed to mention phrases like "this changes everything" or "revolution" even once in its survey. People tend to be willing to spend a little more on revolutions than they do on slightly nicer rectangles to put in front of the couch.
Of course an Apple TV will be more expensive. Thousands of people pay more for a used iPhone 3GS than they do for a new 4G Android phone every month. Yes, people are buying inexpensive Kindle Fires, but that hasn't slowed sales of iPads. If Apple delivers on Jobs' promise to remake TV in the same way he did a few times with other industries in the past decade, it will sell. Yes, $1,499 might be pushing the price envelope a bit, but Best Buy could be testing the limits of the high end here.
There's no reason that what's being pushed here or something similar won't one day debut for $1,299 or $999, but even if it's $1,499, I'd expect more than a few lines on day one. What do you think? Would you be standing in one of them? Let us know in the comments.