Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Apple and the Digital Home SWOT Analysis

Now that Apple has unveiled at least one piece of "Living Room" hardware (the Apple TV), the old argument "PC vs. CE" has now been adjusted to "Apple vs. PC vs. CE." Actually, although Apple's announcement seemingly stole quite a bit of thunder from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) a couple of weeks ago, the same questions were being asked on the show floor and meeting rooms in Las Vegas. As broadband pipes grow more robust and the quality of the content available from sources other than the traditional television operator improves, there are plenty of people wondering where the future of digital entertainment in the living room will be in the next five years.

Yesterday's MacNewsWorld article ("Does Apple Have a Shot at Living Room Dominance?") offers some different perspectives on this subject. We were quoted in it, along with some other industry analysts and observers. The reporter did a nice job of compiling some different perspectives on what Apple brings to the table.

Here's a quick rundown of the points we offered in the article:
  • Apple stands a good chance of having some success as a living room technology play -- but there are serious and well-entrenched alternatives that also stand to gain significantly;
  • [Apple TV] brings more Web content directly to the TV. At the same time, however, there are a host of incumbent players and service providers -- set-top box manufacturers and their television operator customers -- who also deliver tightly integrated user experience, and who are at the same time incrementally opening up their walled gardens to more Internet content;
  • It's too early to say what Apple's overall impact is going to be on the digital home. One key lesson that Apple has provided, however, is that easy-to-use products with intuitive interfaces [iPod] that tap into a well-organized and well-structured content source [iTunes] are a good model of success to follow in the digital home space.

I also found this MarketWatch article from January 11, 2007, to include some rational thoughts about Apple's chances in cracking the living room.

Non-tech Thought of the Day: Will 2007 begin the same way 2006 ended, with Roger Federer completely dominating men's tennis? We'll see what kind of fight Andy Roddick brings in the Australian Open semifinals tomorrow.

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