New life was breathed into the old rumor that Apple could release an Web-fueled TV set by an analyst who believes such as launch could produce a halo effect for the iPad and iPhone and add billions of dollars to Apple's 2012 revenues.
Jefferies and Co. analyst Peter Misek said channel checks with content providers and developers suggest Apple is about to launch a subscription-based video service, possibly in the form of a full TV set or set-top box.
"We believe Apple will launch a new far reaching cloud-based service that is more than just a music or content locker and focused on video," Misek wrote in a research note April 12.
This is not to be confused with the existing Apple TV product, a small, hockey puck-style device the company sells for $99 to let users stream Netflix and other content via their existing TV sets.
The Apple TV Misek believes is coming is more akin to Google TV, the Android-based Web TV product that blends a Chrome Web browser and search capabilities with consumers' existing TV services.
Google TV, which comes via the Logitech Revue companion box, Sony Internet TVs and Blu-ray players, has endured relatively weak reception since its launch last fall. Google is expected to make its Android Market applications available for Google TV this year.
The Apple TV service Misek envisions could include a Safari Web browser and sync content and services across users' iPhones, iPads and Macs, and provide a gateway to the 350,000-plus applications in Apple's App Store. This offering would compete with not only Google TV, but services such as Netflix and Amazon's Instant Video service.
Such a service could be fueled by Apple's new data center in Maiden, N.C., which Apple COO Tim Cook has said will support Apple's existing iTunes and cloud-based MobileMe service. Others speculate the data center will be ground zero for a Web-based iTunes and other cloud services.