Apple’s (AAPL) own-brand HDTV has reportedly been in the works for years now, and it will finally debut later this year according to a new report. Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, who has reported accurate details about unannounced Apple products in the past, is currently meeting with supply chain sources in China and Taiwan. During his travels, the analyst gleaned information from unnamed sources that has him convinced that Apple will finally launch its “iTV” in the second half of 2013. And beyond the inevitable excitement among Apple fans as the company enters a new market, White says Apple’s HDTV will include some innovative new features that will make it a game-changer.
“Our meeting with an [sic] tech supply chain company suggests to us that a full blown Apple ‘iTV’ will launch in the latter part of 2013,” White wrote in a note to investors on Wednesday. “Clearly, there has been plenty of mis-guided speculation around the timing of the Apple’s ‘iTV’ launch and we believe that this is largely due to changes by Apple, most recently around the creation of entirely new user interface aesthetics.”
The analyst continued, noting that Apple’s upcoming HDTV will include “a¬†major innovation that will revolutionize the TV experience.”
The “iTV” ecosystem represents a major innovation for the $100 billion LCD TV industry that will revolutionize the TV experience forever, in our view. First of all, we believe “iTV” will be 60-inches in size (but could also include 50-55 inch options). Secondly, we believe Apple will release a miniature device called “iRing” that will be placed on a user’s finger and act as a navigation pointer for “iTV”, enhancing the motion detection experience and negating some of the functionality found in a remote. Thirdly, “iTV” will come with a “mini iTV” screen that will seamlessly allow users to view content on this smaller, 9.7-inch screen, while also opening up use cases around home security, phone calls, video conferencing and other areas. As part of this experience, Siri and FaceTime will be important. Essentially, we believe the “mini iTV” screens will be able to capture content from the 60-inch “iTV” across a distance of up to 200 meters, allowing a user to view “iTV” content in the kitchen, washroom, garage, bedroom, backyard, etc. We believe Apple will offer one “mini iTV” per “iTV” but package options will include up to four screens (i.e., one screen is part of the standard package and pay extra for each additional). While the “mini iTV” screens will be similar in size compared to the iPad, and thus allow for some manufacturing efficiencies, the capabilities and features will be very basic and thus not an iPad replacement. Furthermore, we believe “iWatch” will be an important part of the “iTV” ecosystem, tapping into “iTV” services in a much more mobile friendly manner, complementing the “iRing”. The interaction between “iTV” and making phone calls will be an important feature of this experience, while the “iWatch” and “iRing” will provide increased mobility around the home, supplanting the need to carry a smartphone around the house. Finally, we believe consumers will pay approximately $1,500 to $2,500 for the “iTV” package. The price will be based on the number of “mini iTV” screens in the package and the screen size of the “iTV”. Also, we are being told that “iTV” could be subsidized by certain service providers to expand the market opportunity.
White maintained his Buy rating on Apple shares with a 12-month price target of $888.