Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek is the latest analyst to hike his price target for shares in Apple Inc., pushing it to US$800. The analyst said that he believes Apple will introduce a TV set called “iPanel” in the fourth quarter of 2012, a device that is “so much more than a TV.”
According to Mr. Misek, Apple’s much anticipated and highly speculated TV set will not be called the “iTV.” He said that Apple was unable to secure rights to the “iTV” name from the British TV network that already owns the name, but that this is OK because the device will do much more than simply display TV content.
“iPanel” is also already owned by a company called Creston, but it no longer makes its iPanel line and instead makes products that integrate with Apple’s ecosystem. Mr. Misek thinks Apple can, or has, secured rights to the name, and that calling it the “iPanel” would fit well with iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
So what will the new iUnicorn device do? According to Mr. Misek’s research note (via Barrons), “It is a display, gaming center, media hub, computer, home automator, etc.”
He said that specialized components, including “polarized films, filters and IGZO [indium, gallium, zinc] components” have begun shipping to Apple’s supply chain partners in “small quantities.” He said that Apple will begin actual production of this device in May or June of this year, and that it will ship in the fourth quarter.
Apple has long been rumored to be working on a television set. Speculation about such a device began in earnest when Walter Isaacson’s biography Steve Jobs included quotes from the late Steve Jobs, who said that he had “finally cracked” the code on how to make a smart, Internet connected TV with an interface that didn’t suck.
In March, Mr. Isaacson further said that he held back some of the details of the TV out of respect for the fact that Apple hadn’t yet announced the product. On Wednesday, he added to that by saying he thought Apple would revolutionize the TV industry within the next two years.
TV executives have also claimed that Steve Jobs pitched a TV subscription service to them, including CBS CEO Les Moonves, who declined Mr. Jobs’s offer.
In other words, the question is when, not if Apple is going to enter the television market. Mr. Misek’s prognostication is based on industry sources and his checks with Apple’s supply chain in Asia.
The news was enough to help push Apple’s stock up to a new record closing high of $633.68 per share, up $9.37 (+1.50 percent), on moderate volume of 22.8 million shares trading hands. Apple’s new market cap is $590.8 billion.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.