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iPhone users keen on Apple’s iTV

Almost half of iPhone users would be ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ likely to buy an Apple connected TV should the technology giant launch one as has been widely rumored.

Research firm Strategy Analytics surveyed 6,000 iPhone users in the US, France, Germany, Italy and the UK this March and found a widespread willingness to invest in an Apple iTV if one becomes available although price is a key issue.

“Although the details of a possible Apple smart TV are still unknown, existing Apple customers clearly demonstrate strong interest,” says Jia Wu, Strategy Analytic’s director and report author. “Meanwhile, consumers are still sensitive to price, even if Apple does launch another groundbreaking product. The success of an Apple iTV hinges on Apple’s ability to match innovation with appropriate price points.”

The research found that 35% of surveyed US would pay $1000 or more for an Apple-branded TV, but only 14% would be willing to pay any more than $1600.

“Samsung, Sony, LG and other major TV manufacturers are most threatened by the prospect of an Apple iTV launch,” added Strategy Analytics analyst Kantideep Thota. “More than one-quarter of non-Apple TV owners could potentially migrate to an Apple-branded TV in a fairly short period of time.”

Separately, Disney-owned sports broadcaster ESPN is reportedly considering making its content available via the Apple TV service. The sports channel operator is considering allowing authenticated pay TV customers access to the WatchESPN app via Apple TV although is not, it said, yet involved in active discussion to that end. WatchESPN, which includes digital channel ESPN3, is already available via Microsoft’s Xbox console and via certain pay TV subscriptions. ESPN has also worked with Facebook to allow authenticated users to watch content online.