Apple’s TV Will Be Out by Next Christmas, Analyst Says

Apple will launch a fully fledged television set in time for Christmas next year, one of the company’s most respected analysts has claimed.

Gene thinks the Apple TV will be a full-fledged TV set, not an external gadget like the current Apple TV that you have to plug into your TV set. Photo: Carl Berkeley/Flickr

Apple analyst Gene Munster just reiterated his belief that Apple is going to launch a TV next year.

Munster said that the new product was likely to come in a range of sizes, but that they would retail for twice the price of an equivalent set.

He claimed the premium would be justified by the comprehensive integration with other Apple services and the cloud, whether that was via either a standard remote, voice control via Apple’s new Siri ‘personal assistant’ or apps on the iPad or iPhone.

Use of Siri might allow the device to respond to commands in natural language, such as “Watch Sky 1”.

Gene thinks the Apple TV will be a full-fledged TV set, not an external gadget like the current Apple TV that you have to plug into your TV set.

According to Bloomberg, an Apple insider said that the company wants to let users seamlessly access television shows by integrating all the available sources, such as satellite TV, online film rental services and iTunes downloads.

Apple’s TV, according to Gene, will be the first TV that thinks the way you do. Instead of trying to remember what channel is ESPN is on, for example, you’ll just fire up (or say) “ESPN.”

You’ll still have to have a cable subscription and cable box, Gene says, because Apple doesn’t have enough content otherwise.  But the only thing you’ll have to do is screw the co-ax cable into the back of the TV set.

Gene also suggests that Apple’s TVs will be priced at TWICE the prevailing market price for a normal TV: $1,600, for example, for a TV of a similar size from another manufacturer that might cost $800. (If this is really the case, Apple will be able to preserve its extraordinary profit margins).

Munster has been speculating on Apple’s desire to launch a television for years. In 2009, he said that Apple would launch a set this year. In August, he once again said that an Apple television was coming, but he now believes it will launch in late 2012 or early 2013.

A recent survey by Changewave suggested that 96 per cent of users were either satisfied or very satisfied with their Apple iPhone 4S, suggesting that the addition of Siri has had a positive effect, and that Apple users remain strongly attached to the brand. That is likely to help the company’s ambitions to continue to appeal to consumers with products that are priced higher than their competitors.

Previous reports have also suggested that Apple is working on a new TV; sources within the company said that Jeff Robbin, the engineer who helped create the iPod and iTunes, is leading the effort. Apple has declined to comment publicly.

Shortly before he died, Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, told his biographer that he had “finally cracked” the problem of building a television.

In Walter Isaacson’s book, Steve Jobs, the Apple founder says: “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. 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.”

That said, in an interview with CNET last month, Isaacson tossed some cold water on hopes that an Apple television is launching anytime soon, saying that the company wasn’t “close at all” to getting it to store shelves.

“He told me it was very theoretical,” Isaacson said of Jobs. “These were theoretical things they were thinking about in the future.”

Munster, however, seems convinced of the launch. And he’s so sure it’ll be a winner, he told attendees at Ignition yesterday to wait until Apple unveils its television before they buy their next HDTV. [via The Telegraph, Business Insider and CNET]

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