Long-running speculation that Apple is leaping into the television market was reignited over the weekend, after a handful of tech watchers saw signs of an Apple-branded "smart TV" in the Cupertino tea leaves. Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek said clues from content providers pointed to a cloud-based TV service, while Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White added that "data points" from China suggested a "full-blown" web-connected TV from Apple in the next few months. Is an Apple TV really going to drop, or are analysts just chasing a "digital unicorn"?

Apple would be foolish to make a TV: Apple has done extremely well with high-end phones and computers, but I "don’t think they'll ever release a TV," says Marco Arment at his blog. I mean, "how big is the high end of the TV market?" People buy TVs on price and features, not style, and Apple wouldn't want its "beautiful, it-just-works TV" to have to interact with the necessary "mess of electronics and service providers."
"The often-rumored Apple HDTV"

But the TV market needs Apple: "Look at your television right now," and you'll see why the TV business "badly needs to be disrupted — and is ripe for it," says MG Siegler at Paris Lemon. The antiquated cable box makes for a terrible viewing experience, and devices like TiVO are only marginal improvements. TV is calling out for a reinvented "all-in-one solution. And Apple needs to build it," now. If the company can revolutionize the cellphone, music player, and PC, why not the TV, too?
"On Apple's must-see TV"

With Apple, who knows? Predicting Apple's behavior is "like trying to anticipate a super-rich uncle with a Mensa membership and a flair for the dramatic," says Matthew Panzarino at The Next Web. Apple's biggest barrier is the cable duopolies in each market, but few predicted Apple's easy "shakeup of the cellular industry." And Vizio's success has shown that the TV market is also open to upheaval. So, will Apple drop another "anvil-sized stone into a small pond of established players?" Ask me next year.
"What are the chances of Apple entering the TV business?"