Bloomberg says no new Apple TV products in 2012

Despite the lack of evidence, some pundits still maintain that an Apple television set is coming. In fact, just last month analyst Peter Misek told investors that an Apple HDTV was already in production.

There’s also been some recent chatter that the company’s working with cable companies on a set-top box. But according to a new report, we won’t be seeing any new TV products from Apple this year…

Bloomberg published a lengthy report last night regarding Apple’s past and current efforts to create a better TV viewing experience. The story echoes previous rumors that Apple has been talking to cable companies about designing a digital set-top box that would act as a front end for their TV services.

“Apple Inc. engineers have been working since 2005 to reinvent TV viewing. Designing the gadget may prove easy compared with convincing media and cable companies to loosen their grip on the television industry…

…Apple is vying with the likes of Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Inc. to make TVs the digital hub of people’s lives in an industry projected to reach $200 billion worldwide by 2017. Whoever wins must first strike deals with media companies or cable providers who have little incentive to cede valuable revenue streams. The result: Apple won’t be releasing a new TV product this year, as analysts had predicted, said a person familiar with the company’s plans.”

The report goes on to say that Apple started talking to cable and media companies back in 2007, but negotiations collapsed because they weren’t comfortable with Apple controlling the entire experience. Presently, Bloomberg’s sources say Apple is furthest along in talks with Time Warner Cable.

“Apple may be looking to Time Warner Cable to be its first partner in a similar way that AT&T Inc. helped bring the iPhone to market, one person said. This would be a departure from Apple’s traditional strategy of releasing products nationally. Time Warner Cable, like all cable companies, only operates in certain regions. Los Angeles and New York City are its largest markets. Under this thinking, Apple would then expand the service if it proves successful, one person said.”

This deal wouldn’t change things very much for consumers, as they’d still be paying Time Warner’s bill every month. It’s not known at this time, however, whether Apple would sell the device outright, or if customers would be able to lease it through their cable provider similar to other set-top boxes.

There’s actually a lot of unknowns at this point, and it’s believed that despite some small advances, Apple is still far from hashing a deal with anyone. TV content deals are hard enough to come by as it is, but after seeing the way Apple disrupted the wireless industry, cable companies are even more reluctant.

In the last 7 years, Apple’s only entry into the TV industry has been its $99 Apple TV puck. It continues to sell well compared to other products in its category, but Apple still refers to it as “a hobby.”