There's always been one research analyst -- Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster -- that has predicted Apple will release HDTVs, but now a second one -- UBS Investment Research's Maynard Um -- is joining Munster in his belief that the next Apple TV could be an actual TV. Where there's smoke is there fire?
The reasoning is that Apple's supply-chain efficiencies and brand name could allow it to profit in a space where margins are as razor thin as the sets other TV manufacturers are producing. It's doubtful that the company would be able to innovate in terms of display technology -- don't look for an OLED Apple TV -- so it will need to integrate its Apple TV streaming features to set its sets apart.
Um floats one intriguing new idea: Apple could turn its Genius Bar into a "Genius Squad" that would work like Best Buy's Geek Squad, driving to people's homes to set up their new Apple televisions -- for a fee, of course.
Unlike Munster, who always seems to think that an Apple HDTV is eminent, Um doesn't think the computing giant will release a set until next year. Nothing like an announcement at Macworld Expo to upstage all of CES.
[Via CNET's Apple Talk]