• A Muted Reaction to Apple TV Becomes Apparent

    While there is certainly no shortage of excited Apple fans and digital media consumers about the refreshed Apple TV rolled out yesterday by Steve Jobs at his company's annual September event, the reaction today among Wall Street analysts is anything but exuberant. In fact, most appear to view the forthcoming Apple TV revision as anything but a "game changer" for living room entertainment.

    In addition to introducing a new fleet of refurbished iPods (many of which will now sport long-awaited features), Apple also spotlighted iOS 4.1 and iOS 4.2, and the new iTunes 10 with the Ping social music network. But the "hobby" reserved for last at yesterday's event was the rumored second coming of Apple TV, a cloud-centric $99 shell of its former self. And while many on Wall Street still think it will be a huge seller (especially this holiday season), they're tentative about calling it anything other than just a likely popular product. Here's what some of the "big boys" have to say:

    Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says Apple is certainly on the right track and taking a "step in the right direction," but Apple won't truly have a living room revolution on its hands until it releases a "full-fledged connected HDTV set." For now, Munster believes Apple TV will move 1.5 million units in fiscal year 2011. "We see the new Apple TV as a meaningful change in Apple's efforts in the digital living room. The addition of new content, such as Netflix, in combination with the $99 price (down from $299) will drive higher unit volumes compared to the previous version of Apple TV."

    Using one word to summarize Apple's Apple TV announcement, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu called the unveiling "underwhelming," citing his view that Apple TV still looks and feels like a "hobby" or just another "work in progress," not necessarily something that is ready for prime time. "The main capability we were hoping for was the ability to run apps from the iTunes App Store and it looks like AAPL decided to leave this out for now," Wu wrote. In Wu's opinion, the introduction of the iTunes Ping social media service was, by far, the "most intriguing" Apple revelation on Wednesday.

    In theory, Gleacher & Company analyst Brian Marshall is at least impressed that the new Apple TV represents "dramatic improvement from its 2006 origins," but Marshall won't truly be impressed until Apple TV gets with the program and begins running iOS and, consequently, lets users run applications from the comfort of their living room recliners. "While we were impressed with the iPod and Apple TV refreshes, in our view, Ping stole the show and represents AAPL's maiden voyage into the uber growth world of social networking," Marshall said.

    Wall Street Journal
    Apple Insider
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