updated 04:25 pm EDT, Thu August 20, 2009
Piper on future Apple TV
Apple will probably launch a new Apple TV within the next several months, argues Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. In July's Q3 results call, COO Tim Cook stated that Apple would "continue to invest" in the Apple TV. The company could also have strong incentive to build a new set-top, says Munster, if it decides to offer a subscription service for iTunes video.
A proposed scenario would involve unlimited access to TV shows, at a cost of roughly $30 or $40 per month. The package would not only compete with video services from Hulu and Netflix, but in some cases a person's monthly cable bill, valued by Munster at approximately $85. The launch date of such a service would depend heavily on content negotiations, but could also see the simultaneous release of a new Apple TV and/or updated firmware.
Munster meanwhile suggests that Apple is interested in building a full-scale TV set, though its release might not happen for two to five years. The product could incorporate media center and DVR functionality, the latter syncing with other Apple products. Games and interactive TV are described as other possibilities. "Such a device would command a premium among the competitive field of budget TVs," the analyst says.
Evidence for Apple attraction to TVs is believed to lie in patents for DVR technology, as well as a five-year, $500 million agreement with LG for LCD screens. LG is one of the world's largest TV makers, but could also be supplying panels for existing product lines. Apple is strongly rumored to be working on one or more tablet computers.