John Dvorak: Bring Out the TV Already, Apple

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has got itself quite a reputation as a disruptive innovator, and now there is increasing buzz that another industry is ready for an intervention. Speculation that Apple may surreptitiously be planning a full-fledged television as its next voila product has been rife for months. And according to technology expert John C. Dvorak, the time to lift the covers on the device may be very near — indeed, as soon as next year.

“All indications are that Apple will indeed bring out a genuine TV product — probably an LED/LCD flat panel with a very thin screen — at some point next year,” Dvorak wrote in a column for Market Watch on Friday. In fact, the columnist is of the opinion that Apple is treading dangerously by letting the anticipation stretch on for as long as it has. “I think Apple may be a bit late to this when a lot more buzz would have been created if this sort of product was rolled out during the Steve Jobs era. And the lengthy anticipation may take some of the steam out of the potential buzz for the device,” he added. “But still, this is something Apple must do to maintain cash flow through the stores.”

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According to Dvorak, Apple has the “design and development chops” to create a television set that can capture the company’s usual audience, that is anyone who uses a computer or a phone. While other companies already in the space, including Sony (NYSE:SNE), LG, and Samsung, have added smart features to their TV offerings, they have struggled with marketing. Apple can change that, according to the columnist. “This will also open the floodgates of TV-Internet integration, which is long overdue,” Dvorak said. “The TV scene evolved outside of the computer industry, and, when endless opportunities to hook up to the Internet appeared, it was done in a slipshod and scattered manner. Apple can fix that with this unit … Soon everyone will be riding Apple’s coattails extolling the virtues of features that they had all along.”

The iPhone maker needs the product to sell in its retail stores, Dvorak added. “There is room for it there, and the company can get the full benefit of not sending the device through distribution channels, affording it price competitivity and high margins,” he said. And because it will pique people’s interest, the device will increase store traffic and help Apple’s other products as well.

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