NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL) - Get Report may generate nearly 70% of its revenue from the iPhone but the tech giant is still intent on winning the living room, a sign that its ambitions go much further than the device in your hands.
By combining functions such as gaming and home automation -- in addition to changing the way people watch television -- Apple TV could be an enormous opportunity for Apple, said Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson.
"So I think a new Apple TV and everything that's likely to come with it in time will be a game-changer for Apple in the living room, finally moving the project beyond a hobby and making it much more appealing," Dawson said.
While integrating Apple TV with HomeKit, the set-top box could control everything from lights, locks and other home functions, and keep people entrenched in the Apple ecosystem.
Apple will reportedly soon refresh its Apple TV set-top box, introducing a dedicated app store, Siri support as well as a software development kit (SDK), touch screen remote and new operating system. Currently, only Amazon's (AMZN) - Get Report Fire TV set-top box offers voice navigation support.
Buzzfeed was the first to report Apple would be refreshing its set-top box at an event in September, which usually is reserved for iPhone introduction.
Apple could not be immediately reached for comment for this story.
It's clear that Apple is helping drive the push toward consuming content everywhere and anywhere, according to recent data from Adobe Digital Index, which looked at 2.8 billion TV everywhere accounts and more than 200 billion online plays to compile data.
"The use of TV everywhere (where you use cable account to login) is growing mainly because of Apple," Adobe Digital Index principal analyst Tamara Gaffney said in a June interview. "When consumers get access to content this way, they don't give it up. They consume more and more." Gaffney noted that more Apple TVs were sold this holiday season, with the set-top box doubling in market share to 10% from 5% year over year by the end of the first quarter of 2015.
In 2014, over-the-top services, such as Netflix (NFLX) - Get Report and Amazon Prime, had 92.1 million subscribers, but that number is expected to more than triple by 2019 to 332.2 million globally, according to research firm Juniper Research. The firm said that this growth will be driven primarily by the use of connected TVs, which it expects to house more than 84% of these OTT subscriptions.
The touch screen remote may be the most interesting part, according to Creative Strategies president Tim Bajarin, for the reason it would allow developer to get even more creative. The remote, which currently resembles an elongated iPod shuffle, could function more like a wireless mouse if Apple does indeed allow developers to create apps for the Apple TV.
"The [potential] refresh of the Apple TV is definitely a positive from a technology product offering standpoint," Capital Advisors Managing Director Channing Smith said via email, but said "from a financial perspective it is hardly noticeable." Smith noted revenue from Apple TV was $528 million in fiscal 2014, compared to 2014 full-year revenue of $182.88 billion. Capital Advisors is long Apple shares.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple is also long thought to offer its own slimmed-down streaming service, offering about 30 channels for roughly $40 a month, which could not only help sales of the Apple TV set-top box, but also generate additional software and services revenue.
In its fiscal third quarter, Apple generated $5.03 billion in services revenue, up 12% year-over-year, thanks in part to record contributions from the App Store.
An updated version of Apple TV would help developers, as 62% of all video plays are occurring on an Apple device, Gaffney noted. "It's easier to build there first."
"The two most transformative opportunities are the connected car and the connected home," S&P Capital IQ analyst Angelo Zino, who rates Apple hold with a $150 price target said in an interview. "For us, Apple's opportunity really lies with the connected home."