Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is steadily making progress on its ambition to enter consumers' living rooms, via its own television sets called iTV, which are expected to be launched in the first half of 2012.

Peter Misek, an analyst with Jefferies, said that Apple is testing iTV in labs of AT&T, Inc. (NYSE:T) and Verizon, Inc. (NYSE:VZ).

We believe iTV is in the labs at AT&T and Verizon, using U-Verse and FiOS TV respectively, Misek wrote in a note to clients.

In addition to homes passed, both will launch over-the-top IPTV services alongside the iTV in 2012, using both fixed and wireless broadband services (i.e., they will offer live TV to subscribers who are not connected to FiOS and U-Verse).

For iTV, Misek expects a mid-2012 announcement and availability in the second half of calendar 2012.

The late Steve Jobs spoke about the iTV in his official biography, written by Walter Isaacson. Quotes from Steve Jobs' leaked biography noted he believed he had finally cracked the problem of making integrated TVs easy to use.

Steve Jobs very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant. No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels, Issaacson wrote.

I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use, Jobs told Isaacson, 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.

The television domain is not a particularly new one for Apple, which already has a product called Apple TV -- a black pucklike iOS device which allows a user to stream content from other iOS devices, like the iPhone, the iPad, the iPod and also the Internet to the television. Apple TV is powered by the A4 chip. Apple TV, however, hasn't seen much success like its iOS kin.

In October, Misek said an iTV launch is planned in the second half of calendar 2012 with initial builds of 5 million to 10 million-plus.