With sales of the iPhone 4 softening, the time might be ripe for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to jump into a new venture, and none has as much promise as its rumored Apple connected TV platform.
Maynard Um, an analyst with UBS, joined a growing chorus of pundits who believe Apple is poised to launch a smart TV that will deliver IP content direct from its iTunes store, based on a new chip from Intel that's scheduled to debut in 2012. The chip is designed specifically for TVs and, Um said, is robust enough, with adequate processing power, to deliver both content and Web-based apps to a television.
Um said Apple could see market cap increases of between $50 billion and $100 billion with an Apple smart TV success.
"We believe Apple will have to build out its own content ecosystem such that a set made by Apple could be differentiated enough from a content perspective to potentially lead to ‘cord-cutting,'" Um said. "However, we do not believe the market is ready for cord-cutting nor do we believe the content is robust or cheap enough."
But Apple, Um said, is taking its platform further than just a TV screen. In a recent research note he said that in addition to delivering content to an Apple TV, it could tie into iPhones and iPads, along with software for home automation, like controlling lighting and energy management from an iPad.
He also said Apple, à la Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), would offer professional installation by its own "Genius Squad."
"We say this must follow on to a Genius Squad service as the installation of home automation products is likely to be too complicated for the average (and possibly even the above-average) consumer to install," Um said.
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