NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- From Apple TV, to the upcoming WWDC conference, big things are in store for Apple ( AAPL) for the rest of 2012. It could potentially be Apple's biggest year ever. There has been a lot of speculation that Apple is going to eventually release a television set, and Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes that the uncertainty has been taken out of the product. It is now a matter of when, rather than if, Apple will launch the product, Munster explained in a research note.
"We stand by our previously stated timeline of unveiling the TV late this year with a launch in the first half of 2013 (6 months following the unveiling)," Munster wrote. He rates Apple shares "overweight" with a $910 price target. Apple's decision to enter the television market could increase revenue between 4% and 8% in 2013, assuming a $1,750 retail price, Munster notes. Apple has repeatedly said that it will not do something unless it can do it well. The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant appears focused on revolutionizing the television industry, and how consumers interact with their living room, Munster noted. The connected TV market is around 110 million units, according to Piper Jaffray. Munster believes that Apple could capture between 5% and 10% of the market in its first year, so the next six months for Apple are incredibly important. He noted that the iPhone captured similar market share when it was first released, with Apple selling 13.7 million units in its first full year.
Apple is also holding its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in the middle of June, which typically involves a major product announcement. We could potentially see a new mobile operating system, more apps from Apple, a Mac refresh, and more. Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu believes some of the biggest news from the conference could focus on the new software features that Apple is planning. Apple has relied on Google ( GOOG) for its Maps in iOS, but will reportedly announce a new Maps app, with 3D capability that offers a better user experience. "While a lot of focus will likely be on how this replaces Google Maps that currently powers every iOS device shipped (365 million iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch units as of the March quarter), we hear the key reason why Apple decided to do this is that it believes it can deliver a much better user experience in Maps, not to mention provide further differentiation for its mobile devices business," Wu wrote. He rates Apple "buy" with a $780 price target. Apple has not refreshed any of its major product lines except the iPad in the last six months, and its Mac computers have not been refreshed in more than a year. Wu believes Apple is likely to announce a slew of new computers, which are vast improvements over previous versions. "These will likely see upgrades to
Intel's ( INTC) latest Ivy Bridge architecture which brings more performance per watt and enhanced graphics. The other big upgrade will likely be new HD retina displays," Wu noted. There's also likely to be a heavy emphasis on camera and photo apps at the conference, Wu noted. This could be tied to the popularity of Instagram, which is being acquired by Facebook ( FB). The social networking giant recently announced its own photo sharing app in conjunction with Instagram.
Later in the year, Apple is expected to release the next version of its iPhone, which may be its biggest product launch ever. The hype surrounding the iPhone 5 (as it's currently known), is surging as we get closer to a rumored September or October release date. "We believe the iPhone 5 in October will represent the biggest consumer electronics product launch of 2012 as well as the biggest device upgrade cycle in smartphone history," said Piper Jaffray's Munster, in a recent note. The next six months for Apple are potentially the most important in the company's history, as Tim Cook continues to steward the ship following the death of Steve Jobs. The world will be watching and waiting with baited breath for the latest "one more thing." Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock. Check out our new tech blog, Tech Trends. Follow TheStreet Tech on your wireless devices. -- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >Contact by Email. Follow @Commodity_Bull