Piper Jaffray’s senior research analyst Gene Munster is placing a bet on Apple planning to release a smart TV, by 2016.
Munster has been consistently confident that at some point Apple has to break into the home theater arena, even though his predictions have been shattered, time and time again.
2011 was the first year Munster suggested that Apple would release a new Apple TV in 2012. Since then, the same prediction has been renewed on a yearly basis, until this year, in which the prediction is now being pushed till 2016.
Apple "iTV"? Not likely.
While the chance of an Apple smart TV set is real, the chances of it being named “iTV” is slim:
The company has been avoiding the i-prefix for new products, and the Apple Watch is an example of it that left an endless trail of 2013-2014 blogging headlines containing the word “iWatch”. Same thing happened with Apple Pay, which some speculated it would be called “iWallet”.
If one were to follow a trail, it would become obvious that the i- prefix is mostly reserved to portable computing, particularly tablets, smartphones and the iMac line of desktop computers.
Why an Apple smart TV set?
There are a few factors to take into consideration:
First of all, Apple took the decision to invest in a smartwatch, effectively propelling the company into a future of increasingly consumer-based appliances. Before this year, smartwatches were seen as a big risk to take, which explains the time it took Apple to release its own.
Secondly, by planning on a return of the 4-inches iPhone, Apple is making it clear that the entire array of its customers will have as much selection of products as possible.
For the same reason, Apple TV is not going away anytime soon. A quality alternative to existing low-cost streaming devices like Roku and Chromecast, is necessary to Apple’s presence, no matter what comes next.
Apple TV is to a future Apple Smart TV, as the Apple Mac Mini is to the Apple iMac. Based on these bits and pieces of circumstantial evidence, even in the realm of pure speculation, Gene Munster seems to be onto something.
The other big component to factor in, is how tech companies are starting to invest big into previously untapped markets, like home automation, wearables and even the automotive industry. These markets are far too lucrative to disregard, especially home automation and entertainment, which sees HomeKit as a step ahead of the competition.