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Apple delays iTV to next year, Jefferies says

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek also says an iPhone 5S and low-cost iPhone will likely launch in the calendar third quarter, followed by an iPhone 6 in the first quarter.

An Apple TV continues to elude.
Remember the Apple TV that supposedly was launching this year? Well, that's not happening, investment banking firm Jefferies said today.

Apple has been rumored to be developing a television set (or drastically updated set-top box), but it's unclear what the product will look like or when it will launch.

The iTV launch has been postponed again, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said today in a note to investors. He had expected an Apple TV event in March, followed by a launch in September or October. However, he now believes the launch will happen sometime next year as the company's display providers -- LG and Sharp -- are having trouble with yields.

"We had thought that Apple's software and ecosystem would be enough to drive demand but our checks indicate that Apple wants the hardware to also stand out," Misek said. "We believe Apple wants a display that looks like 4K/Ultra HD but without the super-premium cost."

How Apple will achieve that is questionable. Its products aren't exactly known as being inexpensive, and there's only so much display makers can do to improve the picture quality. It's a pretty good bet that LG and Sharp (not to mention Samsung and other display makers) are doing all they can to get the best pictures possible for their own TV sets.

It's important to note that Misek doesn't have the best track record when it comes to predicting Apple launches. He has been saying for well over a year that an Apple TV will launch imminently.

Today, Misek also said checks indicate a greater than 50 percent chance that Apple will launch an iWatch this year. He said it likely would have a 1-inch screen and a $200 price tag.

In addition, the Phone 5S and a low-cost iPhone likely will launch in the calendar third quarter instead of June as Misek believes Apple had planned. That's because Apple's suppliers are having problems with new casing colors, he said.

To compensate, Apple likely will try to release its newest iPad earlier, probably in June, Misek said. He noted that Apple is switching to an IGZO display for the 9.7-inch iPad to cut the weight in half and attempt to reboot sales. However, he cautioned that yield problems could push the iPad launch to the third quarter, as well. Misek also expects an iPad Mini with Retina display.

Misek also believes Apple is trying to move the iPhone 6 launch to the calendar first quarter "to stop the hemorrhaging to phablets."

However, if Apple launches a new iPhone only a couple quarters after the previous version, it could backfire and anger and alienate many customers.