An Apple branded television set could be arriving in 2012 according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. He has been talking about the possibility of this new Apple TV product since 2009, and he thinks that it is finally happening now.

As reported by Fortune, Munster detailed four reasons for believing that Apple is making the television now, in a note he sent to his clients on 23 June.

The introduction of iCloud will make it easier to share content among several iOS devices: "At first the only media iCloud will store is music and pictures" explained Munster, "but we believe that Apple may add movies and TV shows purchased or rented in iTunes to the iCloud service, which could be viewed on a TV."

Apple has recently applied for patents that involve recording and browsing television, broadcast menus, a TV version of the dock overlay we see on Macs, and other DVRs. "As recently as May the US Patent & Trademark Office has published Apple patents relating to television-specific technology. In a patent published in January, Apple explores advanced TV broadcast menus that could be used in a 'display with built-in functionality'." Said Munster.

Developers could make apps for larger screens found on televisions, and as more apps are built for this purpose, customers will find more reasons to buy an Apple branded television, Munster explained: "Apple has sold over 200 million iOS devices, has over 225 millon iTunes accounts with credit cards, and developers have built over 425,000 apps for the App Store in less than three years, including 90,000 apps made specifically for the iPad in just 14 months as iPad unit sales reached over 25 million. In other words, Apple's strong iOS developer community would likely jump at the chance to build apps for an Apple Television, and Apple's iOS users would likely jump at the chance to buy one."

Munster went on to detail the fourth reason to believe that the Apple TV is imminent: "Recent developments in Apple's strategy including the component deal we believe could secure up to 50in LCD displays, bolsters our confidence that the company remains serious about the connected living room. We believe that Apple's recent $3.9 billion, two-year component investment largely relates to the displays used in its portable devices, Macs and possibly for an Apple television in the future. Based on recent meetings in Asia (not with component suppliers), we believe Apple is investing in manufacturing facilities and securing supply for LCD displays. These displays could range from 3.5in mobile displays to 50in television displays."