Apple's expected foray into the crowded television set space could come sooner rather than later, based on the latest buzz about what the consumer electronics powerhouse may be planning.
Apple already has a set-top box, but has been mum on when it might produce its own TV. That hasn't stopped technology publications from weighing in, and the rumors have gotten louder recently.
The website BGR says "a trusted source" confirmed that Apple is planning to demonstrate a new version of the Apple TV operating system at its Worldwide Developers Conference June 11-15 in San Francisco. Supposedly, the new OS is more feature-complete than the current version and is the same one that will run on Apple's much-rumored upcoming HDTV.
"Our source believes Apple won't actually show its physical TV at WWDC, but it's certainly possible," reports BGR, which, just a couple days earlier had written that "Apple's Chinese manufacturing partner Foxconn has reportedly begun accepting orders to build an Apple TV set." It cited Chinese news website Sina.
In addition, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has written a report that shows him standing firm to several years' worth of predictions that the Apple television is coming.
His reasons, according to Forbes, include: supply chain information, things Apple CEO Tim Cook said recently at The Wall Street Journal's D: All Things Digital conference, information included in a biography of Steve Jobs written by Walter Isaacson, as well as other third-party reports.
Munster says he believes Apple will unveil the TV late this year and launch it in the first half of 2013. He expects the TV to range from 42 to 55 inches and sell for $1500 to $2000.
He says key components of the Apple television would include Siri voice controls as well as compatibility with third-party devices and the App Store. He also believes it will be LCD and not OLED. Apple itself is mum on the subject. When pressed at the D: All Things Digital conference, Tim Cook played coy about Apple's approach to the television market.
"We've stayed in the Apple TV product business, and we're not a hobby kind of company ... Our tendency is to do very few things, put all of our wood behind a few arrows, and if something creeps in and isn't a big success we get it out of the way and move on," he said.
He did say Apple has remained in the TV market and sales of its set-top box are growing from 2.8 million in all of 2011 to 2.7 million in the first six months of its 2012 fiscal year alone. He also said customer satisfaction with the device is "off the charts."
"So we're going to keep pulling this string and see where it takes us," he said. "I think many people would say this is an area in their life that they're not really pleased with. The whole TV experience. So it's an interesting area. We'll have to see what we do. Right now, our contribution is Apple TV."