An iMac with TV functionality? I'm there!
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An iMac with TV functionality? I'm there!

Here's one rumor I certainly hope is true as I've wanted it to happen for a long time:

In a note to clients -- as reported by "Forbes" (http://macte.ch/qmKzI) -- Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair thinks that Apple will bring some features of its rumored "iTV" to the iMac next year, in effect allowing the all-in-one to double as a television set. Apple hasn't announced ANY plans to make an iTV (an Apple-branded HDTV), so take this with a grain of salt. But I'm hopeful.

Blair thinks that a redesigned iMac in the first half of 2012 could be an intermediate step on the way to the iTV. What sort of redesign? An all-in-one with built-in Apple TV software and iCloud features.

"We think this makes sense because while we typically think about the newest TV’s hanging on the wall in large form factors, Apple could effectively start with what they already have on the manufacturing line and slowly push their offering from 27 inches and scale up from there to 32 inches and then move on to the 42, 50 and 55 inch market," Blair writes. "In short, we believe the initial Apple TV is their iMac computer that can function as a TV, over the iCloud platform."

Blair admits that he's speculating, but there's some precedent to hint that Apple might make such a move. Up until Lion, Mac OS X came with Front Row, software that provided a full-screen media display to allow easy access to content while interacting with your Mac via a remote control. (The remote control is no longer standard with a Mac, but can be ordered for US$19.99). Front Row debuted on the iMac in 2005. It could easily be revived.

Note that Blair did correctly predict in September that Apple would introduce just one new iPhone model this year with a design largely the same as the iPhone 4. His forecast came when most other analysts were calling for the iPhone 5 and/or a low-end iPhone model geared toward emerging markets like China.

Perhaps I'm being too optimistic. But I like the way Blair reasons, and I hope he's on the money again. I often watch TV and videos on my 27-inch iMac. However, this involves some work involving Elgato/EyeTV products (which I love, by the way) and a Dish/Slingplayer combo. It would be very convenient to have TV functions built into my iMac.

Of course, I also want an iMac with built-in Blu-ray and that probably ain't gonna happen. So an "iMac TV"? We'll see.

-- Dennis Sellers

 

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