A new report published online Thursday by Barron’s highlights the latest grandiose predictions of prominent market analyst Gene Munster of research and investment firm Piper Jaffray.
According to Muster, upwards of 220 million flat-screen televisions will be sold in 2012, 48% of which will likely be Internet-connected. As a result of the highly-anticipated growth in the connected-TV market, Munster believes the American living room will no longer represent a mere “hobby” to Apple.
Instead, it could mean big business.
“While Apple’s commitment to the living room remains a ‘hobby,’ we continue to believe the company will enter the TV market with a full focus, as an all-in-one Apple television could move the needle when connected TVs proliferate,” Munster says, noting that Apple may use its recent $3.9 billion in component investments to develop large screen displays – specifically, Internet-connected Apple television sets of at least 50 inches.
Munster digs into Apple COO Tim Cook’s remarks on the last earnings conference call in which he mentioned the company had executed a long-term supply agreement with three vendors for what Cook described as a strategic part, while declining to say what it was.
Apple’s television would likely also be used as a window into a “cloud-based version of iTunes.”
If Munster’s predictions ultimately manifest, Apple may sell upwards of 1.4 million units in 2012, effectively boosting the company’s bottom line by $2.5 billion. Over the long haul, Munster estimates that Apple’s growing appetite for connected-televisions will result in $4 billion in added revenue by 2013, and $6 billion by 2014.