The unofficial Oracle of Apple, Gene Munster, who also happens to be a senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, has sent a note to his clients arguing that the company might be planning to enter the highly competitive television market by 2012.
Munster reckons that Apple could deliver a television set for $2000 (roughly £1340). Apple's Cinema HD Display, which is a 30-inch mammoth flat panel, costs $1799 and it is not unreasonable to think that Apple could bring a bigger 42-inch model that sports "only" full HD.
The analyst explains that “As connected TVs proliferate the integration of hardware, software and content will become a key selling point for TVs" before adding that “We believe Apple is uniquely positioned to combine these elements at competitive prices ($2,000) for an Apple-branded TV.”
Apple could look to merge its current Apple TV with the device which would prove a real deal winner, adding integrated PVR capabilities to the set and removing the need for a Blu-ray player for example.
But there remains one big hurdle especially in the US, the fact that iTunes doesn't currently do Live television which means that Apple may have to partner with US cable companies and offer a content subscription worth up to $90 per month.
We did theorise about the possibility that Apple could subsidise the iPad with a media bundle back in December 2009, something that has yet to materialise.
Ultimately, our dream would be for Apple's television set to communicate seamlessly with the iPhone or the iPad via wireless HDMI. That's doable for a price and we guess that many will be willing to take the leap even if Apple charges a premium for the device.