Analyst: Apple to debut TV set at WWDC

Cable providers could sweeten the deal by offering a $500 subsidy.

While most are expecting that Apple will talk about iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference set to kick off next week, one analyst says that we should brace ourselves for the unveiling of a television set.

This latest prediction comes from Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek, who estimates that the television will retail for around $1,250 and be called the iPanel. That price tag might not seem too high, but Misek explores a way to sweeten the deal by getting cable providers to offer a $500 subsidy. He claims such a subsidy "would certainly improve the value proposition" for consumers.

Misek says that while attitudes to subsidies are negative, he believes that an Apple television "presents a new and unique opportunity for the telcos to gain market share in a mature television market".

"Hypothetically," writes Misek, "if Verizon offered a $500 subsidy to new FiOS subscribers (but no triple play discounts) along with a $20/month Wireless video fee, the payback period would increase to 13 months. In our view, this modest increase in payback period would still be value accretive with higher customer stickiness and market share gains vis-à-vis competitors that may not offer iTV- like functionality".

Misek claims in his research note that Foxconn has already begun production of the television, and that it will launch in the second half of 2012. He further claims that carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, Rogers, Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom are testing the new TV in their labs.

Will Tim Cook unveil a television at this year's WWDC keynote? We'll have to wait until Monday to find out.

Analysts have been talking about an Apple television a lot lately. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster claims that Apple plans to announce a TV in December that will retail for between $1,500 and $2,000 and come in a range of sizes, from 42-inch all the way up to 55-inch. According to Munster, Apple will have this TV ready to ship early in the new year.

James McQuivey, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, blogged about how he believed that the best way for the Cupertino-based giant to break into the dwindling market was by ‘thinking outside the box' and manufacture the "world's first non-TV TV".

One issue that these Apple TV rumors is that they all fail to address how the TV will differ from the set-top box, or what the set-top box could be configured to do via a software update. It seems to be that the only advantage a TV would offer over a device that connects to any HDMI-capable TV set is that people wouldn't need to figure out where that HDMI cable plugs in.

Now how much would you be willing to pay for that?

Image source: Apple.


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