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Icahn presses for Apple ultra-HD adoption

Billionaire investor and Apple shareholder, Carl Icahn, has written an open letter to Apple in which he urges the company to add an ultra high definition TV set “to the Apple ecosystem”.

In a letter signed by Icahn, his son Brett Icahn and investment partner David Schechter, the trio said that while Apple has to date announced no plans for a TV set they have “good enough reason to expect the introduction of an Ultra HD TV set in full year 2016”.

“We think television represents a large opportunity for Apple, one that reaches far beyond ‘the hobby’ that Apple TV currently represents,” according to the investors.

The letter claims that 2016 would be an “opportune” time to introduce an Ultra HD TV set due to TV replacement cycles and predicted that Apple could sell 12 million 55 inch and 65 inch TV sets in 2016 and 25 million in 2017 at an average selling price of US$1,500.

“While the Ultra HD replacement cycle alone offers a compelling revenue opportunity, the opportunity is not limited to the sales of an UltraHD TV. Televisions are a center piece to the modern living room and thereby a promising gateway into the home for Apple’s growing ecosystem,” said the Icahns and Schechter.

“Apple could sell Ultra HD movies and shows through iTunes over the internet to the Ultra HD TV since cable companies will likely be slow to upgrade their expensive linear infrastructure, as one example of an incremental opportunity.”

The comments come after Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said in a US TV interview that the company “continues to look at” TV, claiming that today’s television experience is “stuck back in the seventies.”

Cook said that the hardest decisions Apple makes is what areas they should not work on, because “we know we can’t do everything great.”

Cook’s comments follow speculation, dating back years, that Apple has been planning a branded TV set in an effort to establish itself in the living room in the same way it has the mobile space.

Icahn, who is estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of US$25.7 billion, owns approximately 53 million shares through Icahn Enterprises. His Twitter profile proclaims: “Some people get rich studying artificial intelligence. Me, I make money studying natural stupidity.”