Apple is Already Building Prototype Television Sets
Apple has reportedly begun building prototype television sets, according to an investor note released by Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster.
Excitement over an Apple Television has been building since Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs revealed that the Apple CEO had 'cracked' the code to building a simple television.
"I'd like to create an integrated television set," Jobs told Walter Isaacson, his authorized biographer. "It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud... It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."
Munster notes that a significant hurdle to a television set is the combining of live television with iCloud media. "Perhaps this code is precisely what Jobs believed he has 'cracked,'" Munter suggests, adding that Apple could use the new Siri voice activated system "to bolster its TV offering and simplify the chore of inputting information like show titles, or actor names, into a TV."
Munster's Data Points:
● Based on Jan-11 meetings in Asia (not with component suppliers), we believe Apple is investing in manufacturing facilities and securing supply for LCD displays. These displays could range from 3.5" mobile displays to 50" television displays.
● More recently, in Sept-11 we met with a contact close to an Asian component supplier who indicated that prototypes of an Apple television are in the works.
● As recently as May-11 the US Patent & Trademark Office has published Apple patents relating to television-specific technology. In an Oct-06 patent application Apple filed for patents related to software for browsing and recording live television, features most closely related to, but not currently available in, the Apple TV.
● More recently, in US patent 7,865,927 published in Jan-11, Apple explores advanced TV broadcast menus (see image). In these patents, Apple refers to a system that could "include a set-top box with or without a digital video recorder (DVR) (or, personal video recorder (PVR). In other example implementations, a display with built-in functionality (e.g, a television)."
Munster estimates an Apple Television could add $2.5b or 2% to revenue in CY12, $4.0b or 3% in CY13 and $6.0b in CY14."