Apple’s 2012 was a year of upgrades and revisions. They released a thinner iPhone and a smaller iPad. In terms of real innovation, however, the year after Steve Jobs’ death has been rather bland. No doubt, the iPhone 5, iPad 3, iPad Mini and iOS 6 are improvements, although Apple Maps and the iPhone 5’s impressive scratching ability have been stumbling blocks for the company under new CEO Tim Cook. Next year, if analysts and rumors are correct, will see an innovative new product that could change the industry. The excitement for this item could be reminiscent of the old Apple joy that came along with the first iPod in 2001, iPhone in 2007 and iPad in 2010.
The whisper around the internet is that Apple is working on a television set, an “iTV.” Sources range from analysts watching the telecommunication industry to insiders working at Apple’s manufacturers in China. There is already an Apple TV, a digital media receiver that plugs into a television. Most agree that the iTV will be a very different beast.
The rumors are so young, there isn’t a real agreement on what the possible iTV actually is. Some say it will be essentially a giant, television-sized iPad with a remote. Others think it will be device or panel similar to a videogame console that connects to a television. Whatever it is, the buzz claims that it will be a big deal. James Kisner analyzes the tech industry for Jefferies and Company. Earlier this month, he encouraged investors to buy shares of Arris, a cable technologies supply company. He cites the iTV as a major reason:
“Our discussions with industry contacts suggest that at least one major N. American MSO [Multiple Systems Operators] is working to estimate how much additional capacity may be needed for a new Apple device on their broadband data network. We believe this potentially suggests an imminent launch of the Apple TV, a positive development for ARRIS, who is directly exposed to data traffic growth from incremental IP video streams on cable networks.”
Kisner is on the side that the iTV will be an actual television:
“…Jefferies analyst Peter Misek is forecasting Apple TV unit sales of 4.9 million units in CY13 and 11.6 million units in CY14. These estimates assume an actual Television product (not a ‘puck’ like the current Apple TV).”
The China Times is reporting the iTV, along with an iPhone 5S, could be available as early as next summer.