Apple TV prototype reportedly seen firsthand

Apple’s long-rumored television is reportedly at the working prototype stage, with an unnamed source telling Cult of Mac that he’s seen the device firsthand.

According to the report, the television has Siri controls and iSight camera that tracks faces and movement and AirPlay capability to let people stream music and movies from their Apple devices. Visually speaking, he said that the television resembles a large version of Apple’s Cinema Display monitors.

Of course, the report cautions that this is a source who’s seen a prototype and that it’s possible that Apple may never take the device the source has seen to market.

Analysts have said that they expect to see a television from Apple, based on checks with suppliers, but not any time in the near future.

Cult of Mac quotes an analyst from NPD Display Search, Paul Gagnon, who speculated that the television might hit shelves in 2013, while J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz told PC World that he expects to see a set in 2014. Ahead of that, Moskowitz said that he expects that Apple will launch a revamped version of the Apple TV set-top box before a full-blown television.

There’s already a lot of demand for a television from Apple, but if the company does get into the TV market, it will face a very different market than what it’s used to.

Consumers tend to hang on to televisions for a much longer time than their phones, tablets or even laptops. Where Apple will have to make its money on the Apple television will be in the content game, as analyst Joe Feresedi said in a March report about the prospects for such a device. The television, he said, would essentially be a “Trojan horse” for other Apple content meant to focus the living room around one Apple device.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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