Munster inhales fumes of prophecy, foresees Apple TV TV

Gene Munster of 1313 Mockingbird Lane and Piper Jaffray is positing that because the Apple TV isn’t doing so well that Apple will soon sell a TV with Apple TV features built-in, an idea so ludicrous that it caused me to spit out my Metamucil.

Let’s look at his reasoning: the Apple TV is “losing ground” to other subscription services – I’d argue it’s lost ground to everything and is now, in its current incarnation, an also-ran – and so Apple will create a DVR combo/download system with Hulu, Joost, FARK, Digg, JDate, and other web services built-in. So that’s not so far fetched, right? But get this: Munster thinks a TV is also in the cards.

An Apple television set within the next two years that could wirelessly sync with iPods, iPhones and Macs. “Such a device would command a premium among a competitive field of budget TVs; we believe Apple could differentiate itself with software that makes home entertainment simple and solves a pain point for consumers (complicated TV and component systems).”

He’s got all the points right – Apple sells at a premium, Apple thinks different, Apple can solve pain points – but he gets one thing wrong: TVs are so off Apple’s message that he might as well be proposing the manufacture and sale of spear-fishing gear.

Apple is in the living room race, to be sure. But a TV isn’t the way they’re going to win it. The set-top box is much more logical and they could build a kick ass DVR inside a sexy little box. They sell hardware with an upgrade cycle of about eight months – a year on the topside – so for them to blow out a TV would be non-conducive to their goals. Something smaller that sits next to the TV can be upgraded an infinitum. Most folks keep their TVs for years, even decades. Why would Apple want to be in that market?

Apple knows it’s got a winner with the iPhone OS and an App Store-containing, video-streaming, DVR-ing UberApple TV is a sure bet. However an Apple TV TV? Not so much.