The Apple TV rumour mill has cranked up again thanks to Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, who says Apple has contacted a major Asian supplier for television display components.
The components will be used to launch a connected HDTV, supposedly. Munster has long been bullish about Apple's plans in this regard, and he said that this news, which he acquired from an anonymous source, is "continued evidence that Apple is exploring production of a television," though "the timeline and scope of a revamped content solution is more uncertain."
Recently he announced that he had knowledge that Apple was investing in manufacturing facilities for 50-inch LCD displays.
Munster thinks that a late-2012 launch would make sense for Apple given the advanced state of the supposed negotiations. Piper Jaffray estimates that should it in fact launch such a device, Apple could sell 1.4 million connected HDTVs out of the gate, for $2.5 billion in revenue. That would go up to $4 billion in 2013 and $6 billion in 2014, according to the investment firm.
To put that in perspective, Apple would be selling against massive CE giants like LG and Samsung, which will dominate the 106 million internet-connected televisions estimated to be sold in 2012. Also, Apple faces the issue of content licencing; how will it wrap its iTunes scheme into the device? What live-TV offerings will it enable? Would it follow the Google TV aggregation path of offering a hybrid service?
It remains to be seen, but Munster said that he believes that Apple will most certainly launch with a "revamped TV content solution," which "could be one that has not yet been taken mainstream."