Interest in an Apple television set among U.S. consumers appears to be hot, but price may be a stumbling block for the much-rumored but still-unannounced device.
Some 49 percent of the consumers queried said they would be interested in purchasing an Apple-marketed TV set, according to survey results released this evening by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Twenty-nine percent said they weren't in the market to buy a new TV but that an Apple entry would turn them into buyers.
"We believe this suggests that customers would be willing to interrupt an estimated seven-year TV product cycle to purchase an Apple Television," Munster said in the investor report. "This is of course not surprising given the following of Apple products and widespread adoption of the iPhone and iPad."
However, of those interested in buying, only 12 percent said they were willing to pay the $1,500 estimated retail price for the set, which is expected to be released in mid- to late-2013.
"The hurdle Apple is going to face with winning consumers to Apple Television is price," Munster said. "Over the past seven years, consumers have been conditioned to pay progressively less for TVs, with the average 32-inch TV price down 76 percent since 2005."
During the D10 conference in May, Apple CEO Tim Cook dodged a handful of questions about whether the company is at work on a TV set. When asked to hypothetically consider Apple producing its own TV set, Cook said Apple would need to control key technology, make a "significant contribution," and determine whether the end result would be the product the company wanted.
Some of the breakout technologies reportedly discussed last year with media executives include the ability to control the TV set's functions with voice commands and wireless streaming of programming, movies, and other content.
Munster wrote in June 2011 that Apple's iCloud infrastructure makes it all the more plausible. That argument gained more credibility with the publishing of Walter Isaacson's authorized Steve Jobs biography, which included a quote from the Apple co-founder saying that he had "cracked" the code for creating an integrated television.
"I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use," Jobs told his biographer. "It would be seamlessly synched with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."