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Piper Jafray analyst Gene Munster has long speculated that an Apple-branded television set — not to be confused with the Apple TV streaming box — is likely headed to market by the end of 2012.
In a recent report covered by Business Insider, Munster outlined four general reasons for his logic: the debut of Apple’s iCloud service, the general direction of the App Store across multiple devices running iOS, some TV-related patents Apple filed recently, and a $3.9 billion component investment.
There are plenty of logical arguments that speculate why Apple would and wouldn’t be producing its own internet-connected TV set.
As VentureBeat has previously pointed out, an Apple-branded TV set doesn’t fit into the company’s traditional hardware business model. Consumers don’t purchase televisions like they do other electronics: While most consumers replace their phones and MP3 players every two to three years, TV sets are generally used much longer — especially with the larger, more expensive HDTVs on the market now.
However, the current selection of premium internet-connected TV sets leave plenty of room for improvement — meaning there is an opportunity for Apple to create a better product than competitors.
Many of the current net-connected HDTVs have support for Netflix, Vudu, Pandora and other services baked-in to the device, but lack a widely adopted platform that allows developers to create their own applications. Both Samsung and LG have developer-supported platforms that are still at an infantile stage, which could plausibly gain mass adoption over time.
Apple, on the other hand, already has a successful developer-supported platform in iOS. It also has a successful hardware business. So, if the company did decide to launch a TV set, it would probably be better than what’s currently available in the market. That doesn’t take into account the competition from previously owned HDTVs paired with set-top boxes like Roku or Google TV.
Again, Apple is probably better off concentrating on bringing a full version of iOS to its Apple TV device rather than selling an expensive HDTV.