Analyst: Apple-branded TV will be here this year

By the end of the year, consumers will be asking themselves if they want an HDTV, a 3D TV, or an Apple TV.

That’s how revolutionary Apple’s rumored step into the competitive TV market will be. It will be its own class of product, and Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes it will launch at the end of this year.

“We are confident that Apple will enter the connected TV market, but timing remains uncertain. More specifically, the hardware could be ready quickly, but the timing and scope of a revamped TV content solution is unclear,” Munster wrote in a research note.

In the best-selling Steve Jobs biography, the late Apple CEO was quoted as saying, “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”

This has sparked a myriad of speculation about an Apple-branded TV set and what the magic formula that Jobs “cracked” actually was.

There’s a lot of scuttlebutt that the iTV will be powered by Siri, the voice-activated platform that has captured the imaginations of iPhone 4S owners.

As Munster put it, “We believe that Apple only enters mature markets with the goal of revolutionizing them, as it did with the smartphone.”