Slowdown in Apple TV shipments suggests full-size television delayed to 2015

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Apple is expected to launch a refreshed Apple TV with an A7 processor in 2014, says one analyst, but major hardware additions like an "iTV" television set won't come until the end of 2015 or early 2016 at the earliest.

In a report obtained by AppleInsider, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple TV shipments have slowed markedly over the past year, likely heralding a delay for a so-called "iTV" to at least late 2015.

Kuo estimates Apple TV shipments hit only 7.6 million units during 2013, a drop of five percent year-over-year. This may indicate that Apple is having issues with integrating TV content and services, which does not bode well for the possibly launch of a connected television set.

"If Apple wants to launch iTV, the challenges of integrating content and service are more difficult considering the different TV content ecosystems (e.g. cable operators) in various countries," Kuo writes. "Moreover, establishing an iTV supply chain is very costly. Thus we believe iTV launch will be delayed to end-2015 or early 2016 at the earliest."

The analyst forecasts Apple TV shipments of 8.2 million units in 2014, but sees growth stagnating unless Apple is able to integrate additional TV content and services, as well as tie-ins with the App Store.

Apple TV shipments slowdown may mean Apple is facing challenges integrating TV content & service

Apple has long been rumored to be working on a high-definition television set, though at this point all information remains speculative.

Most recently, a report from NPD DisplaySearch on Monday claimed Apple has put iTV development "on hold" as the company concentrates its efforts on wearable computers, like the "iWatch."