Will Apple release a TV by end of 2012?

Apple may take its Apple TV "hobby" to new heights and release its own television set, according to one analyst.

Apple TV
Apple

Apple may have some big plans for 2011, but one analyst believes the company may be saving one of its biggest announcements for 2012--a television.

Gene Munster, a Piper Jaffray senior research analyst, said in a research note today that he believes Apple will enter the TV set market by the end of next year. If Munster is right, that gives Apple two years to design and manufacture the television.

"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 said.

An all-in-one TV could include built-in Apple TV, MobileMe access, the iTunes Store, and use of the same network as computers.

Apple said in late December that its new Apple TV digital media receiver sold 1 million units since its launch in September.

In 2011, Munster expects Apple to release new versions of existing products but does not expect the company to enter any new product categories. Products he expects to see this year include a Verizon iPhone, Mac App Store, iTunes cloud services, iPad expansion to other countries, and the release of Mac OS X Lion.

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