updated 12:08 pm EDT, Wed April 3, 2013
Speculation also includes 60-inch size, second screen
An Apple TV set will probably launch "in the latter part of 2013," says Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White. The claim is based on a "meeting with an [sic] tech supply chain company," he writes in a new investor memo. "Clearly, there has been plenty of misguided speculation around the timing of the Apple's [sic] 'iTV' launch and we believe that this is largely due to changes by Apple, most recently around the creation of entirely new user interface aesthetics."
White speculates that the TV will measure 60 inches, though 50- and/or 55-inch models might also be available. Unusually, the analyst also suggests that the TV will come with an "iRing," placed on a person's finger for enhanced motion control, and negating some of the need for a conventional remote. He also predicts that the TV will come with a second, 9.7-inch screen, which will let people not only view content from the TV but open up "use cases around home security, phone calls, video conferencing and other areas.
"As part of this experience, Siri and FaceTime will be important," White continues. "Essentially, we believe the 'mini iTV' screens will be able to capture content from the 60-inch 'iTV' across a distance of up to 200 meters, allowing a user to view 'iTV' content in the kitchen, washroom, garage, bedroom, backyard, etc. We believe Apple will offer one 'mini iTV' per 'iTV' but package options will include up to four screens (i.e., one screen is part of the standard package and pay extra for each additional)."
"While the 'mini iTV' screens will be similar in size compared to the iPad, and thus allow for some manufacturing efficiencies," he said, "the capabilities and features will be very basic and thus not an iPad replacement. Furthermore, we believe 'iWatch' will be an important part of the 'iTV' ecosystem, tapping into 'iTV' services in a much more mobile friendly manner, complementing the 'iRing'."
"The interaction between 'iTV' and making phone calls will be an important feature of this experience, while the 'iWatch' and 'iRing' will provide increased mobility around the home, supplanting the need to carry a smartphone around the house," White added. "Finally, we believe consumers will pay approximately $1,500 to $2,500 for the 'iTV' package. The price will be based on the number of 'mini iTV' screens in the package and the screen size of the 'iTV'. Also, we are being told that 'iTV' could be subsidized by certain service providers to expand the market opportunity."
A potential problem with White's view is the current state of TV prices. While a 60-inch 120Hz LED TV can be had for less than $1,000, a state-of-the-art 60-inch set can easily cost between $1,500 and $2,500 without any advanced controllers, processors, or cameras. There have also been no other reports of a ring controller or a second screen for Apple's TV set; more likely may be that like the current Apple TV console, the set will integrate with iPhones, iPads, and iPods.