According to Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair, Apple’s next-gen iMacs could include television functionality, reports Forbes, and feature some aspects of Apple’s rumored iTV television sets in the first half of 2012.
Blair speculates that Apple could begin targeting the largest versions of the iMac at the TV market (in addition to releasing larger dedicated televisions), making the device similar to a home theater PC with built-in television capability:
We think this makes sense because while we typically think about the newest TV’s hanging on the wall in large form factors, Apple could effectively start with what they already have on the manufacturing line and slowly push their offering from 27 inches and scale up from there to 32 inches and then move on to the 42, 50 and 55 inch market. In short, we believe the initial Apple TV is their iMac computer that can function as a TV, over the iCloud platform.
The claim is considered purely speculative, and no evidence currently exists to support the claims. Apple has previously included Apple TV-like Front Row software in OS X Snow Leopard and earlier, but that has been removed in OS X Lion.
Judging by Apple’s removal of Front Row, and an utter lack of TV-like functionality included with OS X Lion, Blair’s claims seem more than a little unlikely. I’m filing this under “not gonna happen.”