Analyst: Apple could use ‘iTV’ moniker for HDTV, partner with carriers for programming

Apple’s rumored HDTV might be called the iTV, according to a new report from Bloomberg citing Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek. In a note to clients this morning, Misek also claimed Apple might buy licenses for programming through possible partnerships with Verizon and AT&T and could “leverage content into a YouTube-like model” by taking advantage of user created video from iPhone and iPad users. He also noted “Lower margins and higher risks” will most likely keep Apple away from creating original programming. Misek did not comment on a possible timeframe for the product’s launch.

Misek’s scenario of Apple partnering with carriers for content follows a report from Reuters today that confirmed Verizon and Coinstar’s Redbox division have partnered with plans to create a video streaming service to rival Netflix and Hulu Plus. Verizon and Redbox plan to offer its first product resulting from the partnership in second half of the year. As for the possibility of Apple calling its HDTV product the “iTV.” Apple will of course have to work out rights to the name from the major United Kingdom TV network of the same name.

Just last week, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster weighed in claiming Apple was talking with a “major TV component supplier” about “various capabilities of their television display components.” He also offered three possible scenarios for how Apple will approach content on its HDTV product suggesting a simple integration of third-party live TV services, to a live TV/web content combination, to an iTunes monthly subscription.

In related news, you might have come across a BestBuy survey recently that aims to gauge interest in an Apple HDTV concept. If you are interested in seeing what BestBuy dreamed up for the survey, a copy sent to us by a reader is available below (Thanks Alan!):

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Munster offers three content scenarios for iTV, says Apple tapping ‘major TV component supplier’ for late 2012 launch


Apple television mockup by Guilherme M. Schasiepen

Piper Jaffray’s resident Apple analyst Gene Munster is arguably the most vocal proponent of an integrated high-definition television set from Apple, the mythical iTV. His old predictions were picked up by the press lately thanks to that vague Apple HD TV hint in Walter Isaacson’s authorized Steve Jobs biography, gaining more credence with both Sony and Samsung dissing the idea as old news.

Now, last we heard from Munster was in November of last year when he predicted an Apple television set within a year, costing double a comparable set. In a note to clients issued Tuesday, the analyst warned that his original timing “remains uncertain” but underscored he is still targeting “a late 2012 launch.”

More interesting is Munster’s claim that a “major TV component supplier” told him last month Apple was inquiring about “various capabilities of their television display components,” which sounds a lot like this skeptical New York Times report from October 2011. However, “Without a revamped TV content solution, we do not think Apple enters the TV market,” Munster wrote. Remaking the user interface is easy, but getting Hollywood on board will be tricky, as the Wall Street Journal warned in December.

With that in mind, Munster offers three content scenarios for the Apple television, as quoted by Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt…

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Sculley: If anyone is going to change television, it’s going to be Apple (Murdoch agrees, too)


Photo courtesy of BBC

John Sculley, former vice-president and president of PepsiCo and CEO of Apple between 1983 and 1993, is adamant that Apple —not incumbents such as Samsung— is poised to change the first principles of the television experience. Sculley also confessed in an interview with BBC that has not read Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Apple’s late cofounder and CEO. Nevertheless, the executive turned investor underscored Apple’s history of past industry disruptions while opining that the television industry is about to experience Apple’s magic touch:

I think that Apple has revolutionized every other consumer industry, why not television? I think that televisions are unnecessarily complex. The irony is that as the pictures get better and the choice of content gets broader, that the complexity of the experience of using the television gets more and more complicated. So it seems exactly the sort of problem that if anyone is going to change the experience of what the first principles are, it is going to be Apple.

Sculely, 72, is a Silicon Valley investor nowadays, and dispelled some “myths” about his tense relationship with Apple’s cofounder. He said he did not fire Jobs, insisting they had “a terrific relationship when things were going well.” Heck, even Rupert Murdoch is commenting about Apple television, writing on Twitter this morning: “All talk is about coming Apple TV. Plenty of apprehension, no firm facts but eyes on their enormous cash pile”.

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Samsung: Apple Television is old news. Smart TV is the future and already here

When Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he finally “cracked the code” to building an integrated television set that is user-friendly and seamlessly syncs with all of your devices, Samsung Australia’s Director of Audiovisual Philip Newton told the Sydney Morning Herald that Jobs’ was talking about connectivity.

He laughed off the mythical iTV and dissed Jobs’ TV brain wave as “nothing new,” saying the future is now and it is his company’s Smart TVs:

When Steve Jobs talked about he’s ‘cracked it’, he’s talking about connectivity – so we’ve had that in the market already for 12 months, it’s nothing new, it was new for them because they didn’t play in the space. It’s old news as far as the traditional players are concerned and we have broadened that with things like voice control and touch control; the remote control for these TVs has a touch pad.

Samsung is promoting Smart TVs left and right at the CES show that is underway this week in Las Vegas. The company is showing off apps and games such as Angry Birds running smoothly on Smart TVs. Feature-wise, Samsung Smart TVs are beating Google TVs to the punch with capabilities such as voice interaction, facial recognition, integrated camera controls for multi-video conferencing and multitasking.

Sony, Panasonic and LG are also pushing integrated television sets built around the Smart TV platform. While not officially an exhibitor, Apple reportedly dispatched 250 employees to attend the show and monitor what competition is doing; among them is the head of iOS product marketing Greg Joswiak. Apple has been rumored for months to launch 32- and 37-inch television sets in the summer of 2012. Does Samsung see Apple as a threat?

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Sharp rumored to ramp up iTV production in February for summer 2012 launch


An Apple television mockup by Adr-studio.it

More news concerning a rumored television set by Apple that several analysts and some media outlets have been calling for feverishly. According to a blog post published by The Tokyo Times news siteApple has commissioned Sharp to begin manufacturing large displays for an Apple-branded television set. Sharp should ramp up production in January:

American technology giant Apple is shifting partnerships in Japan towards Sharp, eyeing the production of a brand-new TV range which may be called iTV.

The product should hit the market by the summer 2012, the story goes. And according to New York Post, which referenced the original Tokyo Times report:

Apple has taken over the entire plant — pulling out of South Korea and its former partner Samsung — to insure the quality of the new set and to protect its secrecy.

The Tokyo Times story quotes Jefferies analyst Peter Misek as saying that Apple’s rivals have already begun “a scrambling search to identify what iTV will be and do”. The analyst wrote in a note to clients, based on his visit to Japan and talk with manufacturing executives:

It’s a huge deal for Sharp because they spent significant amounts of capital to try and expand capacity and upgrade their facilities. It gives Apple a partner that they can control manufacturing and secure supply at a lower price.

Please be advised that our confidence in The Tokyo Times isn’t very high…
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Peter Misek rumor roundup: Sharp developing iTV display, along with sharper iPad 3 display

A few months ago Analyst Peter Misek reported that iOS and OSX would become one in 2012.  That kind of flies in the face of Mac OS 10.8 that’s been hitting everyone’s Web logs. He’s also talked about Apple opening up super data centers all over the world for a confusing Netflix service that mostly already exists.

With that boulder of salt consumed, AllThingsD quotes Misek as saying that Apple has selected Sharp specifically to manufacture new TFT LCD panels for the upcoming iTV, an Apple-branded television set rumored to boast Siri as the flagship feature (here and here).

The analyst speculates the iTV could ship mid-2012:

Over at Jeffries, analyst Peter Misek suggests that Sharp is retooling a production line at its factory in Sakai specifically to manufacture modified amorphous TFT LCD panels that will be used in the so-called iTV. If all goes well, the line should be ready for commercial production by February of 2012, which means we could see Apple’s take on the TV by midyear.

The report also mentions some manufacturers of current televisions are becoming nervous of what exactly iTV might be (we know Sony is one of them) and hope to adapt quickly so they don’t suffer the same fate vendors in other  industries face, such as the smartphone folks. It should be noted that Misek has been wrong one too many times, so you’re cautioned to apply skepticism to his thinking. The iTV reportedly isn’t the only thing Sharp will be supplying displays for…

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