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An Apple-branded TV set? It might happen

Apple is reportedly teaming up with a “major” OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to make Apple-branded television sets, reports “DailyTech” (, quoting an unnamed “former Apple executive.”

According to source Apple plans to “blow Netflix and all those other guys away” by bundling Apple TV + iTunes inside physical television sets. “You’ll go into an Apple retail store and be able to walk out with a TV,” the unnamed source reportedly told “DailyTech.” “It’s perfect.”

I’m still dubious that Apple will make its own television sets — but not as dubious as I once was. After all, Apple has conquered the smartphone, MP3 player and music fields. The Mac continues to grow in the computer industry. Apple is working on the ebook and e-magazine arenas. That leaves TV and console gaming as two markets left to take on. (The Apple TV has made some progress, but not enough.)

As “DailyTech” notes, price and sales are clearly two of the biggest concerns for an Apple branded TV launch. But Apple has one of the strongest brands in the world, and folks are willing to pay a premium if necessary for the quality of the company’s products.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has predicted for some time that Apple would enter the television set biz. He says that, with the use of a CableCARD for digital HD TV signal, Apple could effectively replace the home entertainment system (including a music stereo, cable box, Blu-ray/DVD player, and gaming console) with an all-in-one Apple television.

“Such a device would command a premium among a competitive field of budget TVs; we believe Apple could differentiate itself with software that makes home entertainment simple and solves a pain point for consumers (complicated TV and component systems),” Munster has said.

So who knows? Perhaps we’ll see an iTV sometime in 2012. If so, in an ideal world, Apple would also take on the cable and satellite companies with a la carte pricing for subscriptions to TV shows and movie channels. Of course, there would have to be some major negotiating with all the broadcast companies, but Apple has the clout to do it.

— Dennis Sellers

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