Apple TV sets will be mighty pricey, analyst says

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster says Apple's TV set will come in a range of sizes for broadest consumer appeal--but it'll come with a hefty premium.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
How much will the long-rumored Apple TV cost?
How much will the long-rumored Apple TV cost? Apple

Rumors have been swirling that Apple is thinking about launching a television next year, and Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster claims to have some insight into what the iPhone maker has planned.

Speaking yesterday at Business Insider's Ignition: Future of Media conference, Munster said, according to the blog, that Apple thinks customers want an all-in-one television that isn't tied down to external boxes.

But in order to deliver that, Munster says, Apple will charge a steep premium for its television. According to Business Insider, Munster said that if a given television costs $800, Apple's alternative will set customers back $1,600--twice as much.

What will consumers get for that premium? According to Munster, Apple will offer a range of screen sizes to appeal to many different consumer needs. Munster also believes the television will come with Siri support, allowing users to control their television with their voices. And in addition to iCloud integration, Munster expects the television to also be controllable from an iPhone or iPad, Business Insider is reporting.

Munster has been speculating on Apple's desire to launch a television for years. In 2009, he said that Apple would launch a set this year. In August, he once again said that an Apple television was coming, but he now believes it will launch in late 2012 or early 2013.

Munster's argument gained more credibility in October when Walter Isaacson's authorized Steve Jobs biography included a quote from the Apple co-founder saying that he had "cracked" the code for creating an integrated television.

"I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use," Jobs told his biographer. "It would be seamlessly synched with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."

That said, in an interview with CNET last month, Isaacson tossed some cold water on hopes that an Apple television is launching anytime soon, saying that the company wasn't "close at all" to getting it to store shelves.

"He told me it was very theoretical," Isaacson said of Jobs. "These were theoretical things they were thinking about in the future."

But that hasn't stopped the rumor mill from speculating on Apple's plans. Bloomberg reported in October, citing sources, that Apple has tapped iTunes creator Jeff Robbin to head up the television's development. Those sources said Apple currently has a TV prototype, but there is still a possibility that it won't go beyond that stage.

Munster, however, seems convinced of the launch. And he's so sure it'll be a winner, he told attendees at Ignition yesterday to wait until Apple unveils its television before they buy their next HDTV.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.