Analyst: March Event to Intro Apple TV SDK, iTV Launch in Fall

Apple may be preparing a March event to introduce Apple TV-related developer tools, according to a note Wednesday from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, first reported by MacRumors. The event is not expected to introduce the much-rumored Apple television hardware, but its reported focus on an SDK for the current Apple TV platform is expected to act as a prelude to an eventual “iTV” launch.

Apple iTV Rumor

From the note:

Channel checks indicate Apple has a product event in March that is Apple-TV related (possibly an iTV SDK introduction). We think a Sep/Oct iTV launch is being targeted.

Mr. Misek’s note follows rumors today that Apple is preparing to purchase German luxury TV maker Loewe and news from last week that the Cupertino company had hired an OLED TV expert from electronics firm LG.

Rumors of an Apple television date back as far as 2008 and have ebbed and flowed as Apple has diversified its product line over time. More recently, rumors of an “iRadio” streaming music service and “iWatch” have supplanted “iTV” discussion in most circles.

An initial opening of the current Apple TV set-top box to third-party developers would help build momentum toward an eventual iTV launch. An Apple TV-focused App Store has been rumored since late 2010, although interest subsided in 2011 upon the introduction of AirPlay mirroring, which allows most iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad apps to be displayed on a television connected to an Apple TV.

As for an eventual iTV hardware product, Mr. Misek predicts that Apple will launch televisions in the 42-to–55-inch size range with prices starting at approximately $1500. Such a price represents a significant premium over current television prices for that size range and may be the reason that Apple is focusing on third-party developers well in advance of the product’s announcement.