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Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told investors in a note that Apple plans to launch a connected, full-fledged HDTV in the next 2-4 years, something he has said before.
As reported by "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com), Munster agrees with recent rumors that the existing Apple TV set top box will be renamed the iTV, but feels this will only be a "stepping stone" to the eventual flat panel living room TV. The analyst thinks Apple's upcoming data center in North Carolina will be part of this process by serving as a hub for a cloud-based iTunes service that would allow users to stream their catalog of movies and TV shows.
Munster believes the upcoming Apple TV update will add an app store, allowing users to download applications to run on the device as you can now do for the iPhone, iPod touch adn iPad. He also sees the product having a lower price and less internal storage, as more content is streamed without a need to save it on the device.
Last week "endgadget" (ttp://macosg.me/2/pl) claimed that Apple would rename the Apple TV the iTV and reduce the price to US$99. The article says the device will be similarly sized and packed with internals akin to that of the iPhone 4 (A4 CPU, 16GB of flash storage), and will introduce new iTunes streaming services the box could take advantage of. "engadget" also claims the Apple TV/iTV -- like the current version of Apple's "hobby" -- still wont' be capable of handling (or enabled to handle) 1080i or 1080p video. Instead it will only push out 720p.
-- Dennis Sellers