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Wednesday, August 08, 2012, 08:49 am PT (11:49 am ET)

Nearly a third of consumers say they'd suddenly be interested in a new TV if it came from Apple

Should Apple follow through with much rumored plans to enter the connected TV business, it would prompt nearly a third of able consumers to abandon their typical 7-year upgrade cycle and consider opening up their wallets early — for the right price.

In a survey of 200 consumers in the midwest — which PiperJaffray believes is an accurate representation of the broader US demographic with 95% confidence and a confidence interval of 7 — 49% expressed earnest interest in an 42-inch Apple-branded television in the near term. But only 12% of those people said they'd maintain their interest if the product was priced around $1500.

More significant, however, is that 29% of respondents who said they weren't currently in the market for a new TV in the near term admitted that they'd suddenly be lured back into the market given the advent of a TV manufactured by Apple.

"The level of interest generated by the ecosystem potential shows how powerful the Apple ecosystem has become, as demonstrated by the fact that 67% of all survey respondents interested in the TV owned an iPhone, iPad, or both," said analyst Gene Munster. "The bigger theme that is emerging from this data point is Apple is becoming less a product and more of a platform company that consumers find increasingly more difficult to leave."

Still, Munster believes that pricing could ultimately stand out as the biggest impetus by which consumers weigh their purchasing decisions, especially given a trend over the past 7 years that has seen HDTV prices progressively trend lower.

Television


"While we believe based on anecdotal evidence on iPhone, iPad and Mac sales, many consumers who responded with prices below $1,500 (average in this survey was $530) will be willing to go beyond their stated price range to purchase the product upon seeing it," he explained. "That said, there is a big gap between $530 and $1,500 which makes significant near term market share gains unlikely."

Should Apple manage to attract 10% of the US TV market during the first year, it would add 4% — or more than $9 billion — to the analyst's fiscal 2014 earnings estimates for the company of $231.8 billion.

Of those interested in a rumored Apple TV — which Piper now believes won't materialize until mid- to late-2013, 21% said their interest was driven by Apple's ecosystem, 19% said an easy to use remote and 18% said internet connectivity.