Connecting the Dots on an Apple television. The flat-panel TV market has been, well, flat, but if Apple rolls out a Smart TV equipped to handle a range of cable and online media, the rush to buy the device could make broader market conditions seem almost irrelevant. Culling information from his recent trip to Asia and other observations about supply-chain activity there, Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek says he expects just such a product to enter production in late spring, which would make it available for introduction well in advance of the holiday season. As Barron’s noted on Thursday, Misek suggested in an email the television could be called iPanel, in a nod to its ability to deliver far more versatility than a standard TV display, and in acknowledgment of the fact that the name iTV, as the device often is tagged, is already owned by a UK company. Misek, who increased Apple’s stock price target to $800 from $699 for fiscal 2013, also points to Foxconn (PINK:FXCNY) shareholder Hon Hai Precision’s plan to take a 10% equity stake in display maker Sharp (PINK:SHCAY) and its sizeable stake in Chimei Innolux, Taiwan’s largest LCD display manufacturer. In addition, there’s evidence of expansion of Apple’s data center in North Carolina, which would help provide video services for iPanel customers.
More Chatter about a Smaller iPad: Longtime speculation about whether Apple might eventually introduce an iPad Mini continued with renewed vigor this week after DaringFireball’s John Gruber mentioned during a podcast that he had been told by sources that the company has been “noodling with” a 7.85-inch version of the device. The Tech Block and The Next Web picked up on the comments, and Mac Rumors and SlashGear both weighed in on Gruber’s remarks. “Well, I don’t know,” Gruber said in response to a question from software developer Dan Benjamin about whether an iPad Mini will ever make it to market. “What I do know is that they have one in the lab … a 7.85-inch iPad that runs at 1024×768 … it’s just like the 9.7.” All this seems reasonable enough, since product development at Apple is not exactly a minor sideshow. If small tablets become popular, added Gruber, Apple likely would be quick to include one in its lineup.
What Jobs Meant. Earlier this week Bloomberg Businessweek published excerpts from an interview with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) CEO Larry Page in which he said Steve Jobs’ displays of anger over Android seemed less about Jobs’ perception that the OS was a stolen product and more about motivating his employees to compete with Google. Page recalls that at one point he and the then-ailing Jobs met and had a “very nice talk” that included insights about running a company. In Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography Steve Jobs, though, Jobs is portrayed to be genuinely furious about Android and vows to destroy it.