Rumors have been swirling around for months now that Cupertino is working on its own HDTV running a specialized version of iOS. Of course, the HDTV rumors shouldn't be confused with Apple's set-top box which is currently on the market.
Unsurprisingly, reports of a full-fledged Apple HDTV have all but died down in the wake of the iPhone 5 launch, as rumors of the iPad Mini reach a fever pitch.
Interestingly, an analyst from Barclays named Ben Reitzes recently issued a research note that claims the next big thing from Apple may not be a TV, but a TV remote control.
"We feel one of the best ways to increase the iOS device TAM (Total Addressable Market) is by expanding use cases so that every home could use an iOS device as a TV remote," Reitzes explained.
Indeed, the analyst believes the iPad is the device most likely to be transformed into a TV remote control. With all the rumors of the iPad Mini surfacing, Reitzes says it may very well be the first product to expand its initial market by evolving into the ultimate TV remote.
"We believe the 7-inch screen on iPad mini could be used for traditional content consumption such as reading books or watching movies, but Apple may have bigger plans for this device over time... We believe the big secret about Apple’s TV strategy is not the TV itself – it’s about selling the remotes."
Of course iOS devices can be used in limited fashion as a remote already, but the ability to control devices is currently limited to Apple hardware such as the Apple TV. The idea here is that Cupertino could expand the use of the device as a remote control to other brands and products using an Apple TV streamer device.
"With iCloud, we don’t see any reason why Apple wouldn’t eventually allow an iPad to be an interface for the TV – to perform basic computing tasks with a virtual keyboard like checking emails and calendars, surfing websites, editing your PhotoStream and even chat with iMessage," the analyst notes.
Reitzes does believe that Apple will launch the rumored HDTV at some point in the future. However, he feels Apple won't roll put its own TV until it can land favorable licensing terms with content providers.