Apple iTV Rumours: Release date, price, specs, screen size
22nd Jun 2012 | 16:50
Update: All the latest on the Apple iTV release date, pictures, content and features
Update:Apple iTV reportedly set to enter production in Q3 ahead of pre-Christmas release
Having dominated the smartphone, tablet, PMP, laptop and all-in-one markets Apple looks set to turn its attentions to the TV sector with numerous reports suggesting the Cupertino-based company is planning to update its current Apple TV offering later this year and launch its first full blown television sets dubbed Apple iTV.
Far from confirmed, Apple iTV rumours have been circulating for a number of months kicking into overdrive following the publication of the official Steve Jobs biography in which the Apple co-founder and former CEO said he had “finally cracked” how to change the television market.
"I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,” Jobs reportedly said. “It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."
Apple iTV Release Date
Although far from confirmed the Apple iTV release date has become one of the most talked about upcoming announcements of the year with Apple CEO Tim Cook recently offering the closest indication yet that the iPhone and iPad maker is planning to out a full television service.
Speaking during his keynote speech at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference Cook described the current Apple TV offering as a ‘hobby’, whilst revealing the Cupertino based company shifted just shy of 3 million Apple TV units during 2011, 1 million of which came in the year’s final quarter.
Stating that Apple “doesn’t do hobbies as a general rule,” Cook revealed that the existing Apple TV unit was testing the waters of the television sector stating the company would need something “special” in order to make TV a “serious category” for Apple.
“The reason we call it a hobby is because we don’t want to send a message to you or our shareholders that we think the market for it is the size of our other businesses,“ Cook said of Apple TV. He added that he believed Apple could “find something that was larger” so that its ventures into the television industry “could go more main-market.”
Although Apple has offered no indication as to the validity of such claims it is widely believed that the Apple iTV hardware and accompanying software platform will land before the end of the year.
Late last year analyst Gene Munster suggested the Cupertino based company would follow the 2012 unveiling of the Apple iPad 3 and Apple iPhone 5 with an Apple iTV release of its own around October with the service to land ahead of the lucrative Christmas period.
Further hinting towards a late 2012 release, a selection of reports have suggested Apple iTV units are to enter production in May giving the Cupertino based company ample time to generate enough stocks for what is expected to be an extremely high profile release.
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek claims he saw "early production evidence of iTV" on a recent trip to Apple manufacturing plants in China. Suggesting Apple will produce between two and five million units in time for launch Misek said the manufacturer would introduce a number of "specialty components" to the process.
Adding to this onslaught of release date speculation, analyst Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets has suggested Sharp will issue displays for the final Apple iTV models to manufacturer Foxconn during Q3 with the Apple's China based hardware partner putting the finishing touches to the next-gen TV ahead of a pre-Christmas 2012 arrival.
"In our view, a holiday launch would make for a very merry holiday season for Apple and consumers," White said. "However, we will continue to monitor the data points surrounding the timing of this launch as they could change."
Apple iTV Specs
Far from a simple television set, Apple iTV is set to land as a home entertainment hub with the internet-connected units to allow users to sync their iOS and Mac devices via the company’s iCloud service.
"Apple's ability to deliver hardware, software and content that could replace an entire entertainment system with a single TV, puts Apple in a unique position for the emerging connected TV cycle," said Munster. “Apple already has several of the key ingredients for success in the connected TV market, many of which would differentiate Apple from current market players."
With the iTV systems set to follow on from the current Apple TV service Apple is said to be readying the simultaneous arrival of an enhanced iTunes based content service to fill user’s systems with the latest television and movie based content at times of their choosing.
Said to follow in the footsteps of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Apple is reportedly planning on incorporating iOS into its iTV units with the mobile friendly operating system allowing users to make readily available use of the abundant array of applications.
Further enhancing the cross device collaboration, reports have suggested Apple is to produce a number of applications that will allow users to utilise their current iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad devices as remote controls for their new Apple branded televisions.
Currently unknown is whether the Apple iTV units will connect to the web wirelessly or through cabled means as well as whether the television sets will feature an inbuilt harddrive to allow users to store content for offline viewing.
Apple iTV Content
More than a simple well designed box that will sit in the corner and display the usual array of terrestrial and digital broadcast content, Apple is rumoured to be planning a hefty content offering for the release of Apple iTV much like the iTunes music collection made available for the iPod or the App Store that services the iPhone and iPad.
Quoting “people familiar with the matter,” the WSJ has claimed that towards the end of 2011 “Apple executives have discussed their vision for the future of TV with media executives at several large companies.”
Whilst Apple has been linked with paying for the rights to exclusively broadcast a selection of English Premier League football matches, further reports have suggested the company is looking to source and create custom programming to offer users their own personalised content channels.
The rumours around a new Apple content stream have seen a lot expected from the Google rival. "We believe that Apple only enters mature markets with the goal of revolutionizing them, as it did with the smartphone," Gene Munster, Managing Director and Senior Research analyst with Piper Jaffray explained. "Without a revamped TV content solution, we do not think Apple enters the TV market... Apple enters markets to reinvent them."
Whilst the company has repeatedly shown its ability to turn digital content channels into vast amounts of money, Apple is reportedly facing a number of stumbling blocks in its attempts to tempt content providers to support the upcoming Apple iTV platform.
“A major roadblock for Apple along the way has been securing content needed to make an iTV succeed,” an unnamed insider source and former Apple employee told American news outlet USA Today in a recent interview.
“Apple has been unable to cut deals that would let it offer first-tier TV network programs for an à la carte iTunes TV service. That's seen as a key element to launching a revolutionary iTV.”
Apple iTV Screen Size
Set to be made available with a variety of screen sizes Apple is reportedly targeting a number of end user needs with iTV units set to kick off with a 37-inch model.
Whilst a 42-inch Apple iTV setup has also been leaked by retailers, a claimed anonymous Apple employee has suggest that the company’s design guru Jony Ive is personally putting the finishing touches to a 50-inch Apple iTV model.
“Inside the locked-down studio of Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of industrial design at Apple, there’s a slick 50-inch TV,” the insider claimed.
Although there is still a little confusion as to exactly what form the Apple iTV release will take, the possibility of an Apple television set has sparked much excitement with industry analysists and even the company’s own co-founder.
"I do expect Apple to make an attempt [at launching its own TVs and television service]," said Apple co-founder and company expat Steve Wozniak in an interview with USA Today. "I expect the living room to remain a centre for family entertainment, and that touches on all areas of consumer products that Apple is already making."
Apple iTV Price
Remaining the retailer with a reputation as being as leaky as a colander, Best Buy in the US was the first to offer an insight to the much coveted Apple iTV price with the Apple television sets appearing on a retailer customer survey.
Announcing "Apple finally reinvents what a TV can do," the Best Buy survey eaked a flurry of the upcoming television set's features as well as offering the first indication of the speculative Apple iTV price.
Landing with a price comparable to some of Apple's MacBook and iMac offerings, the Apple iTV price has been leaked as $1,499 (£947) for the 42-inch model that is said to come boasting an integrated camera and access to streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube and Flickr.
Winning the support of another former Apple employee past CEO John Scully shared his thoughts on the Apple iTV rumours with the BBC in which he said: “I think that Apple has revolutionised every other consumer industry, why not television? I think that televisions are unnecessarily complex.”
“I think that Apple has revolutionised every other consumer industry, why not television?” Sculley said in an interview with the BBC. “I think that televisions are unnecessarily complex.”
He added: “The irony is that as the pictures get better and the choice of content gets broader, that the complexity of the experience of using the television gets more and more complicated. So it seems exactly the sort of problem that if anyone is going to change the experience of what the first principles are, it is going to be Apple.”
Does all the talk of an Apple branded television set have you excited or are you happy with your current internet-connected TV? Let us know via the T3 Twitter and Facebook feeds.