A television combining music, TV and film downloads with your photo and home movie collections, along with digital television and interactive services powered by the Internet, could be Apple’s next move in the world of consumer electronics.
According to analyst Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray, a leading international investment firm, the introduction of an Apple-branded television, following on from the success of the iPod and iPhone was the “only logical step for Apple”.
Apple, suggests Munster, is slowly moving away from traditional computer manufacturing roots to become synonymous with consumer electronics and lifestyle accessories.
“Apple’s fantastic ability to create exceptionally user-friendly products could revolutionise TVs just like the iPhone changed the mobile phone market,” said Munster.
The analyst claims Apple’s $500 (£338) million deal with South Korea’s LG Display to supply panels last month is proof something is in the air.
In January, LG Display said in a statement to the Korea Exchange: “LG Display has made a long-term agreement to supply a massive amount of LCDs to Apple in the face of uneasy condition of foreign capital inflow amid the global economic downturn.”
Picking up on comments made by Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer last summer, Munster said: “Apple have said they will only move into a new market in which they can ‘solve a problem for consumers’.”
In July 2008, Oppenheimer, told analysts: “We’ve got a future product transition that I can’t discuss with you today”. Speculation at the time suggested that new iMacs, iPods and even an Apple-branded mini tablet were on the way.
Oppenheimer did add that the cost of developing the new product was “one of the reasons that we see gross [profit] margin being down sequentially”.
Time will tell if Munster has inside information or is simply speculating.
Apple declined to comment.