An Apple TV set is on the way, possibly as soon as the end of the year. So says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who has issued a note to investors, identifying the next big Apple iProduct as a branded television set, capable of playing a range of streaming and live content.
"We recently spoke to a major TV component supplier who has been contacted by Apple regarding various capabilities of their television display components," Munster wrote to investors today, according to CNET. "We see this as continued evidence that Apple is exploring production of a television."
In his estimation, it seems unlikely that Apple, which has already revolutionized the smartphone and MP3 player markets, would be content to simply abide by the current market rules. Instead, Munster predicted, would likely seek to change the way content is delivered. "Without a revamped TV content solution, we do not think Apple enters the TV market," Munster wrote.
So is this for real? As CNET notes, Munster has been beating the Apple TV drum since 2009, without much validation. Still, there are plenty of clues to indicate that Munster is onto something. Among them: An October article by Bloomberg News staff, indicating that the Apple TV product was being overseen by Jeff Robbin, the same guy who helped build both the iPod and the iTunes store.
Meanwhile, the Steve Jobs biography published last year by Walter Isaacson contained an interesting snippet about Apple's approach to the TV market. "I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use," Jobs told Isaacson. "It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."
Still, not everyone is convinced.
"[W]here’s the market for these overpriced Apple TVs?" writes Adrian Kingsley-Hughes of ZDNet. "There seems to be an incredible amount of rabid Apple fanboyism surrounding these rumors that assumes that people will buy anything that Apple makes, at whatever price point that Apple decides. In which case, why isn’t the iPad an $800 device, and how come Apple is having a hard time penetrating into the living room with the existing Apple TV set-top box?"