“Do we see them as a threat, not specifically no â€¦ probably we’ll have some competitors that may suffer â€¦ but we see it as a great opportunity, the more big name brands that get involved in smart [TV] the better off we are as a brand because we know we can lead it,” said Newton.
Rumours of an Apple TV have been looming large since Steve Jobs’ biography came out, which quoted him saying he finally cracked how to inspire the TV market.
His biographer, Walter Isaacson wrote Jobs “very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players and phones: make them simple and elegant.”
Judging by the TVs on display at CES, manufacturers have taken a lesson from the smartphone industry, recognising a lack of innovation could see Apple steal a large chunk of the market, and ultimately their profits.
Knowing Apple is lurching behind some indiscernible corner has fuelled innovation over the past year. They’re promising new TVs that focus on content, are part of an application ecosystem, harbour powerful processors and can be controlled by motion gestures or verbal cues.
“When Steve Jobs talked about he’s ‘cracked it’, he’s talking about connectivity – so we’ve had that in the market already for 12 months. It’s nothing new, it was new for them because they didn’t play in the space,” said Newton.
“It’s old news as far as the traditional players are concerned and we have broadened that with â€¦ things like voice control and touch control; the remote control for these TVs has a touch pad.”
Newtown believes an Apple TV will pose a threat to competitors, but Samsung will be in the clear as it is one of the few companies who develop the TV internals and design.
“We’ve developed product right through to 2014 already, so we have a fair idea of what’s coming and when it’s coming,” he said.
Samsung’s CES stand is filled with technological treats, including a super-slim 55″ OLED smart TV. Many of their products respond to voice commands and gestures, allowing users to alter volume or navigate menus without having to flip couch cushions in search of the remote control.
“Anything you’re used to doing with a remote control you can now do with either voice or gesture â€¦ so if you want to surf the web, you want to change channel, you want to adjust the volume, you want to go to a different application – you do it all by voice,” he said.
Newtown noted that Samsung is also focussing on TV tailored application content, claiming there are over 2,500 developers programming applications for a Samsung TV.
By no means do Samsung have a monopoly on these innovations, with Sony, LG and Lenovo all ranging TVs that incorporate applications, gesture/voice control and web-savvy personalities.