I’ve repeatedly said I don’t think Apple will release an Apple-branded television. Several other pundits disagree. In fact, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White thinks we might even see the company launch a “smart TV” this year.

In a note to clients — as reported by “AppleInsider” (http://www.appleinsider.com) — he says Ticonderoga research “suggests this smart TV would go well beyond the miniature $99 second-generation Apple TV that the company released last fall and provide a full-blown TV product for consumers.” He says the company appears to be “moving down this pace at a faster pace than the market expected.”

“The combination of Apple’s powerful ecosystem, industrial design savvy, powerful brand and ability to reinvent product categories could make Apple a powerful force in the TV world over the next few years,” White writes.

Meanwhile, the Morgan Stanley research group sees a smart TV as a way for Apple to consolidate a range of content onto one device, like TV, video, DVR and FaceTime video calling, reports (http://macte.ch/gxFgY). This strategy has already proved successful on the iPad, and Smart TV might extend the company’s reach further into the consumer market, the article adds.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has said for months that he thinks Apple will released its own HDTV. There’s still a part of me that is skeptical. But with the ginormous data center Apple has underway in North Carolina, and the company’s success in most other areas, it does make sense that Jobs & Company would want to conquer the TV world as they have the music and smartphone markets (and they’re working on the book/magazine/newspaper/publishing industry, as well).

IF Apple does release its own HDTV, I’d expect it to offer premium features — glasses-free 3D, anyone? — but at a premium price.

Of course, I’d want one. And, admit it, you would, too.

— Dennis Sellers