Apple TV. It’s been a set top box for years, but financial analysts and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) fans alike have been looking for something more under that title for at least as long. At long last it appears there is some kind of evidence to suggest that the company plans to launch a full television, and that launch could come some time this year.
A Jefferies Research report on the subject outlines a product road map for the company, starting with the release of an app store for the Apple TV set top box this year. That development is predicted to start with the opening up of the box to developers with the release of a Software Development Kit, or SDK. That package is estimated to be on its way sometime in March.
The report suggests that the release of a full Apple TV could be due in September or October, assuming the SDK is in fact released in February. The release of an SDK for the Apple TV set top box would allow the company’s loyal developers to create for a television without the necessity of revealing the product early.
The Jefferies Group, Inc. (NYSE:JEF) report, which was authored by Peter Misek, expects the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) full television set to retail from a base of $1500. The company already has partnerships with content providers, for its set top box, and it would likely be able to leverage those in order to quickly get content deals for the product.
At that price point the Jefferies Group, Inc. (NYSE:JEF) expects the potential television to have a lower than Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) average Gross Margin. The company generally has lower margins when it releases products for the first time. It’s not until the product’s upgrade cycle is established that the company is usually able to increase margins to the levels investors love.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares traded down a fraction in the market on Wednesday, despite the most convincing news that a full Apple television set is on is way yet. The market is no doubt skeptical of the intentions of the company to release such a product, and skeptical of their ability to market it if it is released.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is an expert at marketing mid range consumer electronics, but it has never managed to gain anywhere near a controlling market share in more expensive markets, like the notebook or PC markets. An Apple TV might just be another product to add to the halo, and not a real source of growth.