What if Apple Television Is an iMac?
A new iMac with integrated TV functionality.
That’s the latest speculation from Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair, who believes there will be a step between the Apple TV and the Apple Television.
“We believe Apple’s redesign of the iMac in the first half of 2012 will likely usher in some … TV capability into the iMac offering first, effectively taking the high end and larger screens of the iMac line and pushing it toward the TV market by integrating Apple TV and iCloud features into a slimmer all-in-one PC,” Blair writes. “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 figures these new iMacs would behave like Apple TVs, streaming movies, TV shows, photo slideshows and more to newer Wi-Fi-enabled televisions and providing them access to content stored on iCloud as well.
It’s not an outrageous idea, particularly as an interim step on the way to a true television set. Or as a good reason for consumers to abandon their current TV sets in favor of iMacs. This would be particularly compelling if Apple was able to persuade the cable companies to stream their content though the Apple TV interface. Add to that AirPlay mirroring on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, voice navigation via Siri, and integrate it all into a 42-inch or better screen, and and you’ve got a pretty good reason to watch TV in your office. Or mount your PC on the living room wall.
Of course, Apple has been down this road before, first with the ill-starred Macintosh TV and then with its Front Row media center program, which was abandoned with the launch of Lion.
The company may not be interested in traveling down it again, particularly these days, when it seems so focused on disruptive changes. If Apple hews to that strategy for its HDTV, there will be no interim step. Just a single big announcement intended to upend the industry as we know it and send the competition scrambling.