There has been no shortage of analyst reports regarding an Apple branded HDTV that the company is rumored to have already started work on. Some are calling for a late 2012 launch, but up until now, all have imagined the device as a standalone HDTV. Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair offers up another concept, claiming Apple will introduce a next-gen iMac with TV capabilities that will act as a transitional device before jumping head first into the TV business. The device would essentially integrate iCloud and Apple TV features, in addition to traditional TV hardware, into the larger 27-inch iMac design. Blair explains (via Forbes):
We think this makes sense because while we typically think about the newest TV’s hanging on the wall in large form factors, Apple could effectively start with what they already have on the manufacturing line and slowly push their offering from 27 inches and scale up from there to 32 inches and then move on to the 42, 50 and 55 inch market. In short, we believe the initial Apple TV is their iMac computer that can function as a TV, over the iCloud platform.
While this appears to be entirely speculation at this point, he makes much of his case based on the fact Apple already has the 27-inch iMac in production. We know Apple killed Front Row in Lion, while at the same time introducing iOS-like functionality like Launchpad. The 27-inch iMac is already an excellent display for consuming video content, but how conventional TV features might be baked into Lion is yet to be seen.
We’re pretty sure the Apple HDTV, if it comes to pass, will be based in iOS. It will also be a living room experience unlike the up-close experience of an iMac. Also, Apple seems to be going away from using its Mac Hardware as a TV device killing both Front Row and the included remote on many of its products. Therefore we think this speculation is off. Read more