Would You Pay $1,499 for an Apple Television?

Apple TVNo one will be surprised if Apple (AAPL) rolls out a full-blown flat-screen HDTV later this year. The only thing that may turn heads will be the price.

A Best Buy (BBY) online survey -- originally unearthed by tech blog The Verge -- is asking participants how they would respond to a $1,499 high-def TV from Apple. The specs as stated on the Best Buy survey are impressive:
  • The set will be a 42-inch 1080p LED flat panel display, though some suggest that Apple may also offer smaller sets at lower prices.
  • An iPad or iPhone can be used as a remote control. One can imagine that perhaps a scaled down iPod touch may be included as a factory standard remote.
  • The Apple HDTV will naturally incorporate the same proprietary iOS platform that powers iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices.
  • App Store? You know it, though it may take some getting used to manipulating your iPad or iPhone for actions on the big screen.
  • The TV will include a camera to allow owners to engage in FaceTime chats.
  • There will be support for iCloud Web-based storage for music and video purchased from iTunes.
  • And support for other streaming sites will be offered, so fear not, YouTube fans.
This obviously doesn't confirm that Apple's much-anticipated entry into the cutthroat television market is at hand. It could just be Best Buy dreaming out loud so it can get an idea of how consumers will react when the world's most valuable tech company really does introduce a premium HDTV.

Apple tv

Apple Sells Premium Products, but ...

Consumers already know that a Mac will cost a bit more than a similarly equipped PC. No one is surprised to find that an iPad is more expensive than an Android tablet with the same specs. Apple's penchant for design and its proprietary features justify the premium.

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However, at $1,499, we're not talking a set that's just a little more expensive than other high-def monitors available. At that cost, Apple may actually price itself out of the market.

The best-selling 42-inch TV on Amazon.com -- and it's a decent 1080p LG set -- is fetching a mere $529 right now. Prices continue to head lower, so it wouldn't be a shock to see quality 42-inch TVs for less than $500 by the time the 2012 holiday shopping season rolls around.

Get It Right the First Time

Apple can't afford to come up short here. This will be the first major product line introduced since Steve Jobs passed away late last year. Jobs won't be there to tell us how "magical" this TV will be.

There's also a viral hurdle here. The iPod and iPhone -- and later the iPad -- took off because they were easy to carry around. Folks saw plenty of Apple devices on the wild. The signature ringtones go off. Bored kids whip out an iPad 2.
Well, no one is going to be carrying a 42-inch LCD around, so it will take longer for word of mouth to turn the iTV into a "must have" appliance.

Again, this is only a survey. Apple hasn't officially announced that it's introducing a TV later this year. However, Apple hopefully is smart enough to price the TVs competitively. The last thing the company needs is to put out a product that everyone may want but few can afford.

Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing covered calls in Best Buy. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple.

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