Analyst: New Apple connected television set on the horizon, Apple TV STB is history

Is Apple TV dead? Or is it just dormant, in development with more on the horizon?

Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster reiterated that he thinks Apple is poised to make a big play, dumping its STB device for a fully decked out, branded, Internet connected TV with built in WiFi and more, and he says it's likely less than two years out.

"Apple will produce a TV that includes everything, WiFi, memory storage, TiVo, Airport Extreme, Blu-ray, all built-in. Basically, you plug in your TV and everything is there," Munster told TechNewsDaily. "When we start hearing things about Apple projects, it's usually about three years away. We've been hearing about this for about a year now, so we think an Apple-branded TV is only two years away."

Munster points to comments Apple CEO Steve Jobs made at the All Things Digital conference last week as an indication that there's something afoot in Cupertino. When asked about Apple TV, Jobs said: "No one wants to buy a box. Ask TiVo, ask Roku, ask us... ask Google in a few months. The only way that's going to change is if you tear up the set top box, give it a new UI, and get it in front of consumers in a way they're going to want it. The TV is going to lose in our eyes until there is a better go-to-market strategy... otherwise you're just making another TiVo."

Munster in March sent a note to clients positing an Apple entry into the television set market, noting that "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," Munster wrote.

Apple already has partnerships with networks and studios in place that could energize its iTunes store, the possibility of creating a connected universe with iPhone, iPods and iPads, and an eager and familiar iTunes audience that absorbs all things Apple.

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