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Apple exec slaps down Apple TV rumours

Rumours have been swirling for some time that Apple is preparing a high-definition television set, but a new analyst report indicates that consumers shouldn't get too excited about it just yet.

After meeting this week with Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president for Internet services and software, Pacific Crest senior research analyst Andy Hargreaves said in a note to clients that an Apple-branded TV set is "unlikely in the near term," according to Fortune.

During the meeting, Cue apparently held steadfast to Apple's mantra that it will enter a new market if it can create a great experience for customers and address a key problem. In the television market, this would mean remedying the clunky user interface and eliminating the required bundling of pay TV content.

"While Apple could almost certainly create a better user interface, Mr. Cue's commentary suggested that this would be an incomplete solution from Apple's perspective unless it could deliver content in a way that is different from the current multichannel pay TV model," the note stated." Unfortunately for Apple and for consumers, acquiring rights for traditional broadcast and cable network content outside of the current bundled model is virtually impossible because the content is owned by a relatively small group of companies that have little interest in alternative models for their most valuable content."

Plus, the differences in regional broadcast content and challenge scaling internationally would also create "significant hurdles that do not seem possible to cross at this point," Hargreaves wrote.

Rumours about an Apple television set have been making the rounds since last year after Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography mentioned that the late Apple co-founder was working on an Apple-branded TV before his death. Apple has so far been mum about its plans for a next-generation TV offering.

Earlier this month Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said there is evidence that production of a so-called "iTV" is currently in full swing, though the timing of its launch was unclear. The device will likely be ready to launch later this year, though Apple might wait until the first quarter of 2013, Misek said.