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Thursday, April 05, 2012, 08:52 am PT (11:52 am ET)

Apple's 'iPanel' called 'far more than a TV,' expected to launch in 2012

A new report claims Apple's anticipated television set could be called "iPanel," portraying the product expected to launch later this year as "far more than a TV."

Analyst Peter Misek with Jefferies upped his price target for AAPL stock on Thursday to $800 on the prospect of a television set from Apple. His estimates now include an Apple television set, as he said he has "enough confidence" that the product will be launching in the fourth quarter of calendar 2012.

He said the name "iPanel" would be better for the product than "iTV," as the term TV gives a limited impression of what the rumored device will be able to do.

"It is a display, gaming center, media hub, computer, home automator, etc.," Misek said in justifying the "iPanel" name. "Also, Apple would likely have difficulty getting naming rights from the UK TV network ITV."

Rumors of an Apple product named "iTV" have lingered for years, and the name was previously tied to the company's set-top box, which remains known as the Apple TV. But the name ITV is also short for Independent Television, a British network that has been on the air since 1955 which broadcasts popular shows like "Downton Abbey."

Beyond the "iPanel" name, Misek believes the Apple television will have a $1,250 average selling price and 30 percent gross margins. He also believes that Apple will sell an additional iPad or iPhone per television set as part of the company's "halo effect," in which customers frequently buy into the Apple ecosystem and purchase more of the company's products.

Misek bases his increased confidence on a forthcoming Apple television on three key points. First, he believes the newly announced $800 million agreement between Foxconn and Sharp will play a key role in manufacturing the anticipated television set.

HDTV


Second, Misek said his recent checks in China have indicated that specialty components for an Apple television have begun to ship to the company's suppliers. Specifically, polarized films, filters, and IGZO display components are reportedly being shipped in "small quantities."

Finally, Misek also said that his analysis of building permits and satellite images suggests that Apple is doubling the size of its massive North Carolina data center. Apple's plans to add a 4.8-megawatt fuel cell farm at the data center were revealed this week.

The analyst expects that Apple will begin commercial production of its forthcoming television set at some point in the months of May or June. He sees between 2 million and 5 million televisions being built in time for a launch at the end of 2012.