Niall Kennedy, Flickr
Apple currently sells TV set-top boxes that allow users to access limited Internet video content on their televisions. Rumors abound the technology will be used to create a standalone Apple television.

2012 has been a busy year for Apple, Inc. The tech titan introduced the iPhone 5, iPad Mini, new iPods and Macbook Pros as well as the iOS 6 mobile operating system. “A truly prolific year of innovation,” CEO Tim Cook called it.

What can the company possibly do for an encore? TV, apparently.

James Kisner, technology analyst for global investment banking firm Jefferies, said today in a note to investors that the launch of the Apple TV appears “imminent.” Kisner cited conversations with industry contacts to back his claims.

Technology media site quotes Kisner’s report as follows: “At least one major North American multiple system operator is working to estimate how much additional capacity may be needed for a new Apple device on their broadband data network.”

ZDNet, a business technology news website, is quick to point out that speculation about a standalone Apple TV has existed for years: “(Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster) has been talking about an Apple TV now for over four years, and he confidently predicted that a standalone Apple TV would be available in 2011. He also predicted that Apple would be selling 6.6 million Apple TV set-top boxes in 2009, when in truth by 2011, Apple was barely selling 3 million units.”

The currently available Apple TV set-top box sells for about $100 and acts as a digital multi-media receiver, allowing users to access “some Internet video on their television sets, but not live channels supplied by cable operators,” according to The Wall Street Journal, which adds that "the technology involved could ultimately be embedded in a television."

For all of its new products, Apple could use a boost, at least in its stock price. Less than two months ago, on September 21, the company’s shares sold for $700 and there was talk that the company would become the first in history to hit a market capitalization of $1 trillion.

Such a feat is still possible, of course, but since September 21 the stock price has fallen by 25 percent and the company’s value has dropped below the half-a-trillion-dollar mark. It has, however, retained its rank as the most highly valued company in the world, outdistancing Exxon Mobil by more than $100 billion and more than doubling third-place Walmart.

David Ward is a writer living in Salt Lake City. Contact him at