The belief that Apple will enter the TV set market appears too good to let drop. One high-profile Apple analyst tells investors Monday the Cupertino, Calif. tech giant already has prototypes of a device worth $2.5 billion next year.
Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, following the Apple Television trail since 2009, points to comments made by late Apple CEO Steve Jobs in an authorized biography just released. “I finally cracked it,” Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson. According to Munster, prototypes of an Apple Television are already being made with Apple also “investing in manufacturing facilities and securing supply for LCD displays.”
Apple has also patented technology that could enable what Jobs described as a device that “seamlessly synced with all your devices and with iCloud.” In January, October and May of 2011, Apple filed U.S. Patent & Trademark Office applications for “patents related to software for browsing and recording live television,” features not available with the company’s Apple TV console, the analyst writes.
So, how might an Apple Television appear? The screen-size could range anywhere between 3.5-inch to 50-inch, based on Munster’s Asian meetings earlier this year. Additionally, Apple patents refer to a device that could include “a set-top box with or without a digital video recorder.” Top it off with a system which uses the Siri voice system to enter show titles or actors’ names and you have a product worth $2.5 billion in 2012 and $6 billion by 2014, according to Munster.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard Apple’s entry into the cut-throat and commoditized TV set market was a done deal. Early this summer, a report cited a former Apple executive claiming the company would introduce a device “this fall” that would “blow Netflix and all those other guys away.”
Aside from the fact that every new TV-related product comes with the “blow Netflix away” claim, that report suggested AirPlay — the hot new Apple technology of the day — was the final piece of the puzzle that would produce the holy grail. Now comes along the latest tidbit, this time arguing it is Siri that will launch the Apple Television revolution.
Pardon me if I yawn.
The one kernel of information worth following, though, is Munster reporting “a contact close to an Asian component supplier” saying prototypes of an Apple television are being produced. If similar reports begin emerging, there might be more to the rumors.