Analyst Peter Misek with Jefferies said in a note to investors on Tuesday that "specialty components" have already begun to ship to Apple's panel suppliers in Asia. Components being shipped are said to include polarized films, filters, and IGZO components, though they are currently being supplied in "small quantities."
As the components for an Apple television start to trickle in, Misek believes commercial production of the rumored device will begin in May or June, with between 2 million and 5 million units built initially. He expects the full-fledged television set to launch in the fourth quarter of calendar 2012.
The information comes from a trip to Asia that Misek recently took, which he said made him "more bullish" on AAPL stock. On his trip, Misek said he was shown "early production evidence of iTV," which led him to believe that full-scale production is now only months away.
Tuesday's note also declares that concerns over availability of the Retina display found in Apple's new iPad are "overblown." He sees Apple building between 12 million and 15 million iPads in the first quarter of calendar 2012, with production growing to as high as 20 million next quarter.
Misek has raised his calendar 2012 iPhone estimates to 155 million, from 145 million, as he believes Apple will launch a sixth-generation iPhone in the third quarter of calendar 2012.
"We believe initial iPhone 5 build expectations are approaching 50 (million)," Misek wrote. "Our expectations for the 5 include a 4" to 4.3" screen, wider form factor, A6 processor, and refreshed design. We believe iPhone 4S sales are particularly strong and have shown lower than normal seasonality."
On the strength of the iPhone, the new iPad and an anticipated Apple television, Jefferies has raised its price target for AAPL stock to $699, up $100 from the previous projection of $599.