As rumors of a "real" Apple TV heat up, ideas that could upend the industry resurface
In late 2009, the Wall Street Journal ran a story that sent shivers through the television industry.
Quoting unnamed sources familiar with Apple's (AAPL) negotiations, the Journal reported that CBS (CBS) and ABC (DIS) were seriously considering Steve Jobs' plan to offer TV subscriptions over the Internet.
One form those subscriptions might take, according to these sources, was a $30-per-month package of advertising-free shows from a bundle of top cable and broadcast networks -- something Apple was calling the "best of television."
Although the Journal reported that Apple was hoping to launch the service in 2010, it met fierce resistance, particularly from cable companies that reap tens of billions each year in advertising dollars and in the fees subscribers pay for access to channels they don't want in order to watch the handful of shows they do.
"You don't want to shoot a hole in the bucket to create another revenue stream," one media executive told the Journal at the time.
Apple's TV subscription service did not launch in 2010, obviously. Or in 2011, for that matter.
But the idea has not gone away. In a note to clients issued Wednesday, Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu noted that what's missing from Apple's current TV offering -- Apple TV coupled with the content available for purchase on iTunes -- is access to live broadcast television.
One way to get that access, he writes, is to have users subscribe to satellite or cable TV services, the way they do now.
But another way -- in his words "a more revolutionary, disruptive and differentiated way" -- would be to offer the content via the Internet, in a subscription service that sounds a lot like Jobs' original "best of television" idea.
"We continue to hear," Wu writes, "what AAPL would love to do is offer users the ability to choose their own customized programming, i.e., whichever channels/shows they want for a monthly subscription fee. This is obviously much more complicated from a licensing standpoint. And in our view, would change the game for television and give AAPL a big leg-up against the competition."
Sterne Agee's Apple analyst sees lots of room for growth in PCs and mobile phones
In a note to clients issued Wednesday, Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu makes the case that Apple's (AAPL) shares, still down 8% from their recent highs, are a "compelling" buy. He offers four reasons:
"As much success as AAPL has had," he writes, "the company has only 4%-5% share in mobile phones and 4%-5% in PCs (12%-13% including MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 10, 2011 7:56 AM ET
Shipments are reported to be approaching 3-4 million/month as production constraints ease
Following a mid second-quarter check with his sources in Apple's (AAPL) supply chain, Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu raised his unit sales estimates Friday as well as his price target: to $460 to $445. The stock, which has been impervious to the enthusiasms of sell-side analysts lately, closed Thursday at $340.53.
Among the highlights of the new report:
The production problems that MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 20, 2011 8:27 AM ET
Builds are up 5%-10% this quarter, by one report, and ramping up another 10%-15% the next.
While Google's (GOOG) Android and Nokia's (NOK) Symbian^3 phones have been grabbing the headlines lately, Apple (AAPL) quietly "continues to execute," as Sterne Agee's Vijay Rakesh put it in an understated note to clients issued Wednesday.
Apple is still posting a 3-week delay on all online iPhone 4 orders despite what Rakesh describes as a "modest" MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 15, 2010 12:02 PM ET
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