J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz suggests while Apple prepares the stage for a television set slash service by seeking contracts with major Hollywood studios, the company may not release the hardware until 2014.
Citing economic conditions, the research firm's research "does not indicated any looming TV-related product launch".
Moskowitz noted that the television market is on shaky ground, it would be a risky move for the Cupertino-based giant to throw itself in the ring unless there was a major pull factor.
Apple needs "a radical change of the user interface, integration of the TV programming and data content, and use of gesture or voice control," Moskowitz noted.
Besides a plethora of reasons, the J.P. Morgan analyst doesn't think Apple would generate a decent profit from the product. "We are not sure that the Apple premium could prevail in the TV market."
The television market at present is not healthy. Sony's television business has haemorrhaged money over the past decade, losing $10 billion from the 20 million sets it builds per year.
Japan's three biggest television set makers --- Sony, Sharp, and Panasonic --- reported a combined loss of $21 billion in 2011 alone. Samsung is faring marginally better as its TV business' profit grew to $467 million from $70 million in 2011.
Apple is known for taking its time with its product launches, and is not known for rushing its way into a competitive market.
The iPad was a work in progress long before the iPhone, from as early as the early 2000's. The iPhone took at least three years of development. Why should an Apple branded television be any different?
With this in mind, Apple has around two years to wow its cult-like faithful gathering.
Moskowitz said he was "more optimistic" about a mobile payment system, dubbed 'iPay', which could be on the cards. Recent patents show the company could be heading in the direction of allowing its iPhone and iPad users to wirelessly pay for goods and services using NFC technology.
If Apple gets the timing right, it could integrate NFC chips into its upcoming iPhone 5, which is expected to launch later this year. Even if 'iPay' is still a distance off, it could at least set the stage for a future launch, while allowing developers to take advantage of the NFC-enabled smartphone for their own applications.
The technology super giant could also be following the likes of AT&T and Verizon in the mobile carrier space, offering its iPhone and iPad products on an in-house service.
"Apple will soon provide wireless service directly to the millions of iPhones and iPads already in the marketplace," according to one report. It has the distribution channels in place and customer numbers to make the jump from smartphone maker to network carrier, according to wireless industry analyst Whitey Bluestein.
Plus, as Apple has around 250 million credit cards on file, it would make for a seamless billing experience, but a secure source of revenue.
No doubt the networks would claim the move is anti-competitive and kick up a fuss --- as one would expect --- but it would be a unique move for the company should the regulators approve the plans.
At least there's plenty to keep the consumer market busy until a point where Apple could bring out a television set.
Image credit: CNET.
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