updated 12:05 pm EST, Mon February 9, 2009
TVs in Apple's future?
Apple is headed in the direction of producing a genuine TV, claims Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Though the company already produces the Apple TV set-top, which has in fact been enjoying brisker sales, it is thought that the company may be interested traveling further in the direction of consumer electronics, spurred on by the success of the iPod and the iPhone. A true Apple TV could let the company merge existing functions with live broadcasts and extra Internet services, Munster suggests, and make Apple synonymous with the world of electronics and "lifestyle" accessories.
While there is no direct evidence of a TV in development, Munster does observe that Apple forged a $500 million deal with LG Display last month. LG already supplies some 70 percent of screens for current Apple products, but it is thought that the deal may be a harbinger of greater plans; the former company is, notably, experienced in building LCD and plasma TVs.
Munster further speculates that a "future product transition" -- mentioned by Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer in July -- could have been a veiled reference to TVs, given that the transition was cited as a reason why gross margins would fall in sequential quarters. Suggestions previously pointed to tablets, new iMacs and/or lower costs on iPods as a trigger for lower margins. Apple has refused to comment on the possibility of TVs.