This week, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster reiterated his prediction that Apple is working on a HDTV for launch later this year. However, a recent Macworld poll suggests that consumers don't want an Apple television, and that Apple would be wise to focus on improving its Apple TV set-top box instead.
We asked our readers whether they think Apple should announce a fully-fledged television set, or just improve the Apple TV set-top box, and a total of 38.6 per cent of the 730 respondents said that they want a set-top box with apps, games, catch-up services, and live TV recording features, making it the option with the most votes. When all the votes for an Apple set top box are combied, 65.4% of Macworld readers voted that Apple should update that model, rather than create a television set.
Almost a quarter (23.7 per cent) of respondents said that they think Apple should ignore the television market, because they see it as a dead end. It's unlikely that Apple won't launch any product into the television market in the near future however, as CEO Tim Cook has revealed that TV is "an area of intense interest" for the company.
Overall, just 10.5 per cent of respondents said that they want an Apple television set.
The most popular feature that our readers would like to see introduced to the Apple TV is catch-up services like iPlayer and 4OD. Currently, Apple TV owners can access services such as Netflix and YouTube, and can purchase TV programmes and films from iTunes, but popular catch-up on demand services in the UK are not supported.
Apple TV owners would also like to see the introduction of apps to the device, and the ability to record live television would be a welcome new feature.
In August last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is working on a set-top-box that will 'erase the distinction between live and on-demand TV', which seems to be the type of device consumers are hoping for.
Forum member VeryJaded thinks that an Apple Television would be "just a box of pain," suggesting that there are too many competitors in the existing mature television market.
AlanAudio thinks that Apple should make both a television set and an advanced set-top box, but if it has to pick one, it should be the latter. He highlights the rumour that Apple could be working on a television with modular screens that could be joined together to make as big a TV as you want.
"Now I'm very sceptical about whether such an idea would be practical, not least because of the challenge of joining screens together without visible seams, but if Apple found a way to do that, it would revolutionise TV sets," AlanAudio writes in our forum. "You wouldn't buy a new TV is you wanted a bigger screen, you would just buy some more display modules. You start with one, add three more and then top it up to nine, 16 or 25 etc. Like I said, I don't think it's possible to achieve this with present day technology, but I'd love to be proved wrong."
In our forums, member afd wrote: "I can't understand why Apple doesn't do apps. Who wouldn't buy a £99 box that could have games, all the TV station catch ups, browser, email etc."
He believes that an Apple television priced at around £1000 would be too expensive for most customers, which is what puts him off of the idea.
tomasD agrees with afd when it comes to the pricing. He thinks that Apple should launch a new Apple TV, while forum member zanc says: "I can't see why a TV is necessary for Apple, other than having an integrated FaceTime camera"
zanc says that his ideal device would be an Apple set-top box with internet connectivity to support apps such as Netflix, iTunes and iPlayer, along with Freeview and Freesat receivers, HDMI connections for a BluRay player and Sky box for example, which would be controlled via their own allocated apps, wireless connection to active speakers, connection to a Time Capsule-like device for PVR functionality and an iPod touch-like remote control with excellent battery life.
What would you like to see from Apple in the television market? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter.