Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will bring an advanced TV set to store shelves by November 2013. There's no iTV coming for this holiday season, but Munster's prediction places the product in the sweet spot for the next consumer carnival.
Munster's updated prediction disagrees with two analysts from Jefferies. Jim Kisner believes that a Cupertino-branded TV set is "imminent," based on discussions with cable TV technologist Arris (NASDAQ:ARRS). Fellow Jefferies thinker Peter Misek said that Apple was ramping up full-scale TV production way back in August.
Then again, Misek may have misread the tea leaves that eventually led us up to the iPad Mini.
As for Munster's forecast, keep in mind that he's been pushing the idea of an Apple-branded TV for ages. In previous research notes, Munster said that the set would show up in December 2012. He also expected it by the end of 2011, or perhaps the summer of last year, or maybe in 2009.
So I wouldn't put too much stock in Gene Munster's predictions here. He seems determined to pull the iTV out of thin air, perhaps by sheer force of will.
The market isn't exactly ripe for a new high-end TV set. Store shelves are flooded with big-screen sets for the holidays, and most of them come with built-in content management systems as well as high-speed Internet connectivity. Even so, the TV-set industry is in disarray. Sharp teeters on the edge of oblivion; Sony (NYSE:SONY), Hitachi, and Toshiba spun out their money-losing TV divisions in a joint venture; and consumers with fairly recent high-def screens aren't exactly clamoring to spend another $1,000-plus on a new set. Don't know if you heard, but the global economy is still under pressure.
Even if Apple already nailed down a revolutionary TV design, this would be a terrible time to bring it to market. Next year might be better, but I wouldn't bet the house on that, either.
In fact, I'd be surprised if Cupertino ever entered the TV market. That's not where the money is, after all.