The swarm of speculation, once surrounding when Apple would release a CDMA iPhone has a new target: HDTV. Wednesday, a Wall Street analyst provided a bit more fuel, telling investors he expects the Cupertino, Calif. tech giant to unveil a “Smart TV” by the end of 2011.
Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities writes a trip to a China tradeshow prompted his belief. White says the new device won’t be another revamp of Apple TV. The Smart TV would “provide a full-blown TV product for consumers,” according to the analyst. Understanding we’ve heard this all before, the analyst assures us Apple is moving “at a faster pace than the market expected.”
Although he provided no details about the product’s capabilities, the analyst writes Apple’s ability to reinvent product categories could make it “a powerful force in the TV world over the next few years.” The LCD TV market is estimated to be worth $100 billion.
One expert long a proponent of Apple getting into the TV business is Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster. He has projected an Internet-connected HDTV able to connect to iTunes for around $2,000. Although such a device could make the cable box and DVR history, Apple has found working out contracts with studios and content providers to be a virtual minefield.
Still, the idea of an Apple HDTV has a lot going for it. First, Apple has built a wealth of knowledge from designing large screen monitors, such as the 27-inch iMac display. The company also has the industrial design chops to remake an aging industry looking to such gimmicks as 3D to attract consumers. Lastly, Apple has become unique in its Midas Touch, turning mundane gadgets into must-have products.