Ready or not, here comes the Apple TV. Or so says a prominent tech industry analyst.
Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray says the California-based company known for blockbuster consumer electronics products including the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad may sell the Apple TV as early as 2012. Munster said the iCloud the company recently unveiled sets the stage for Apple's high-def television set.
Apple's iCloud service for media storage makes it easier to own multiple devices and share content among them, Jaffray wrote in an investors note. At first the only media iCloud will store is music and pictures, but we believe Apple may add movies and TV shows purchased or rented in iTunes to the iCloud service, which could be viewed on a TV.
The move is significant not only because it would give Apple, which relies heavily upon but a few hit products in addition to personal computers, another key consumer product, as well as an outlet for its iTunes service which sells music and videos and apps to consumers.
Munster thinks Apple will debut an app store for its new television sometime next, providing a stand alone center for video like iTunes began for music.
Jaffray estimates that Apple could add $2.5 billion to its revenue in 2012 with the tv product.
Munster said the appearance of several different Apple patent applications related to TV technologies provides reason to believe the company is seriously considering moving into tv product manufacturing and sales. He suggested pricing would be similar to that of Apple's laptop computers, fetching around $1,800 per unit.