Apple is just now looking into display capabilities for an Apple television, according to the latest scuttlebutt, which means a product launch may not happen until the end of this year or early 2013.
Gene Munster, an analyst for Piper Jaffray, said Apple has contacted at least one major TV component maker to ask about display capabilities. “We see this as continued evidence that Apple is exploring production of a television,” Munster told investors, according to CNet. Still, Munster said he was “uncertain” about the chances of an Apple television launching by year-end.
Apple’s television plans have been widely rumored, and even hinted at by the late Steve Jobs. “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,” Apple’s former CEO told Walter Isaacson, Jobs’ official biographer. “It would be seamlessly synched with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”
Even if an Apple television seems certain now, timing is still tricky to pin down. Munster said Apple could have hardware ready in a hurry, but getting the content is still an obstacle. Apple likely wants to revolutionize how people watch live and recorded TV, either by offering a new subscription model–such as paying for channels a la carte–or simply by integrating cable and web sources in an easy to use interface. But no matter how it happens, Apple must strike deals with TV networks, movie studios and television service providers. That’s not going to happen overnight.
“Without a revamped TV content solution, we do not think Apple enters the TV market,” Munster told investors.
As we’ve seen in the past with rumors about a Netflix-style offering from Apple, predictions about product timing can become wildly inaccurate when Hollywood is involved. Be prepared to wait a while.